Monday, October 10, 2016

An evening out at the old kitchen

It might have been the original house on this site. 
But we call it The Old Kitchen.
In some old houses, the kitchen was detached and sat out back to keep heat and the danger of fire away from the main house. If it was an old kitchen building, it would have served the little red house (now Martha and Mike's home) that used to sit where our home is now.

Whatever else it has been, The Old Kitchen has served as a dwelling and farm store in its day. 
One day this summer we decided it would be fun to have a family gathering inside--the occasion was a celebration of August birthdays of both Martha and Rachael. 
And so we did.


(Granny Cole joined a cardboard cutout from behind an old screen door.)

We love because He first loved us.
I John 4:19

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Wait for it.....Morning Glories at Last

I watch the progress of the vines all summer as they tangle with the undergrowth of less enchanting weeds in front of the barn. When it's hot, they grow. When it's too hot to live, they grow. In the dry, they grow, and when the rains keep coming, they thrive. It's clear that the vines will survive anything short of fire or the lines of a weed eater. 
I read that morning glories are sometimes considered "noxious weeds," but not so my morning glories. Most varieties are annual, but mine re-seed themselves and come back every year. I used try to assure their return by buying the seeds in colorful little seed packs. Not so any more. 
I just watch and wait. And wait. 
Even while I see evidence of other morning glories in bloom, not mine. Their cousins can bloom as early as May. Not so mine...I wait.
Just when I have decided that "This year may be the year they do not bloom," I step out to feed Tully the cat, and there they are! Not yet in abundance. Having to fight for space with the overgrowth. Still, they are there, their little blue and lavender heads finding the sun they so love.
Morning glories are my second-favorite flowers (right behind Queen Anne's Lace).  While another favorite, honeysuckle, Is Spring, Queen Anne's Lace Is Summer. Not so, my morning glories. They sneak in while summer is still officially here, but with no promise that it will last. In fact, they come so late, they may actually help usher in Fall. 

Patience is a virtue that, while important for a believer to have, is difficult to achieve. 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control;
against such things there is no law.
[Galatians 5:22-23]
Google defines the word as: "the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset."
Bible Gateway defines it as: "The quality of forbearance and self-control which shows itself particularly in a willingness to wait upon God and his will."  

Not easy to do when we want what we want when we want it. At least I don't find it so. 
But we are called to have it...patience.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord! [Psalm 27:14]
And the rewards are worth it!
                   The Lord is good to those who wait for him,                  to the soul who seeks him. [Lamentations 3:25]

Monday, August 8, 2016

Granny's Pantry # 35: Granny's Writing on Peacocks

I was poking around in some miscellaneous papers when I came across what is, to me, a treasure...a little manuscript written in Granny's handwriting on five small (3" by 5" in.) pieces of paper. Why these were where I found them, I can only speculate, but they are mine now.    
Just looking at her writing brought her back to me---her notes on cards sent over the years. When she was with us, it was just Granny's writing. I had her in the flesh. Now that she is gone, it is gold.

There was no title, but it wasn't hard to figure out the subject matter. And there was a picture with the little papers, taken at the farm.  
And I quote (with just a few edits):
       Come with me to our farm and let me tell you all about Peafowls. If you have never lived in the country or visited a farm, you are missing one of nature's most beautiful creations. The Peacocks are a large, strong bird weighing 12 lbs or more with the most regal, perfectly simulated (?)& colored feathers you can imagine. The Peahens are not as large and do not have the lovely markings, the plumage and ornamental markings of the cock bird. They are not fully developed until the age of  sexual maturity is reached, which is 2 years of age.

       It is not to be assumed that the bird is less beautiful as a polt and in the   first 2 years of their lives. They spread their tail feathers and strut and are very intelligent. 

      They are often referred to as watch dogs because of their shrill cry as a car, stray dog or anything unusual arrives on the estate.

While there are still a number of male birds still living at the farm, there are no females. I was afraid the reign of the peacocks at High Rock was coming to an end. Maybe I was wrong. I have just heard a rumor that females may be on order. I hope it's true.

Pic from unknown location.
The peafowl at High Rock roam free except when needing special protection.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?   [Matthew 6:25-27]

Monday, July 4, 2016

Free Indeed!

“May it be long before the people of the United States shall cease to take a deep and pervading interest in the Fourth of July, as the birthday of our national life, or the event which then occurred shall be subordinated to any other of our national history.” Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Freeman Miller

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”II Corinthians 3:17

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”John 8:36

Friday, June 24, 2016

Granny's Pantry # 34: Where the Worms Are

Sometimes it's the smallest details that come unexpectedly to mind that highlight just how significant certain people or places or things are...or have a life. The otherwise insignificant details can serve to anchor snatches of memories. Such it was on my recent visit to High Rock when I remembered where the worms came from.

Life was largely self-sufficient on the farm at High Rock for Granny and Granddaddy Cole. While they didn't produce everything needed to subsist and enrich their lives, a great deal of it they did. Vegetables from the garden and the fields, pork, milk and butter, fruit for the pies, wine and grape juice, eggs, chickens, turkeys, fish...they all came from the farm. Grain went to the mill and came back flour or animal feed. While some clothes came from town, Granny fashioned some from feed sacks or knitted others. She made quilts and rugs from scraps of cloth. Granddaddy could make furniture. 
The chicken house was located in the yard behind the High Rock house. It was made of wood and wire and was a considerable sized building. The chicken feed spread into the feeders or on the floor sifted, over the years, through the cracks in the floor and walls of the chicken house onto the ground around it. There it mixed with red clay and other soil to nurture another type of crop around and under the chicken house.

When it was time to go fishing, there was never a need to "go buy bait." There was only a need to harvest the bait that was already there. All it took was a shovel or hoe, a can with dirt in it and some muscle to dig. The process was a lot like digging for treasure, but of the long, slim, wiggly kind...earthworms. 

A tin can, some worms from behind the chicken house and a cane pole was all it took. And a pond, like the one at the Cow Palace.

And he [Jesus] said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
(Matthew 4:19)


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Granny's Pantry # 33: Finding Newsom

on the road to Newsom

Have you ever heard of Newsom, NC? I'm guessing not. In all of my years going to High Rock, I only heard talk of Newsom as a place where folks could eat seafood, not that common in rural Piedmont NC back in the day. Who needed seafood restaurants anyway? Granny Cole’s cooking met my requirements--Granddaddy's catch from his own fish trap in a tributary of the Yadkin fried up with Granny's homemade French fries. 

As it turns out, I should have gone to Newsom back then. Most of it is no longer there.  


I love to learn about places that "used to be," but it’s difficult to find much information online about the little dot of a place in this southwestern corner of Davidson County.  According to one source, a Mr. Nixon Newsom was Newsom’s first settler in the 1770s.  In 1908, the coming of the Winston-Salem South Bound Railway brought growth to Newsom, and had you visited in 1910, you would have found “a post office, a railroad (passenger) depot, two general stores, a factory, a lumber mill, and a quarry” (
Newsom’s heyday, if this out of the way settlement had a heyday, lasted for fifty years. But change comes, and it came to Newsom in the form of the Tuckertown Dam located downriver on the Yadkin.  Most of Newsom sank beneath the river due to flooding of the area when the dam was finished in 1963.  According to the source above, “few remnants [of Newsom] remain—said to be only a few brick footings sometimes visible at the edge of the lake.”

To find what's left of Newsom, travel south down Highway 8 from Healing Springs and turn right onto Newsom Road (unless the sign is down and then you have a problem because there's really nobody around to ask). I'm guessing it's about 10 miles from High Rock. Don't hurry to get there because the view on the way in is worth the wait. 
on the road to Newsom

Don't expect to pass a lot of houses on Newsom Road. But there are a few, and this one is special. A sign says it's the Newsom Stokes House. It is the heart of a farm that looks like it could have been there for two hundred years. There's a family graveyard near by that would help tell the stories. Wish I knew more.
Newsom Stokes House
Newsom Road crosses Stokes Road, but just keep going. There's another house on the left that would make such a good writer's retreat---not sure if it's even occupied, but it should be. 
Don't miss the heart-shaped vent
A little further down the road and off to the left, there's a lovely old mountain rising up behind the Yadkin River--hard to see here but easy to enjoy in real life.    
HB Newsom Road turns off to the left, and a sign warns visitors that the area floods. But not this day.

Take the short road to it's end, and in front of you lies Newsom proper, resting in peace beneath the waters of the Yadkin River.
Here lies Newsom

Backtracking to Newsom Road (just past the trailer park where I think the old seafood restaurant still sits waiting for customers who are not coming), look to the right to find this beauty hidden beneath its lush covering...
Back at the corner of Newsom and HB Newsom, it's worth your while to turn left  and again go to the end of the road. Along the way there are more hidden stories...
so many stories...
The road ends at the Winston-Salem Southbound Railway and beyond that, the river. 
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
(Psalm 1: 1, 3)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Granny's Pantry # 32: Gone

Change is often difficult. Particularly hard is change that means "the old" is gone and will not be replaced by "the better," or maybe won't be replaced at all because the time of the old is gone.
Symbolic of the change that has slowly taken place at Granny's house at High Rock is the brooder house. 
It's here...
Brooder house on left under the tree

The old brooder house was the warm, artificial "nest" for baby chicks brought to the farm from the hatchery--like this one---that was once in Denton.

There was a chimney and stoves inside to warm the babies if the weather was cold. 
The brooder house was small and fell into disrepair as time passed with no more baby chicks to shelter.
And then one day/evening this spring, that limb from the big tree that sheltered the little building came crashing down and smashed into the structure. Unfortunately, the damage was too great and the structure too was not worth saving. 
Sadly, it sat in it's crushed state for several weeks. And then, on one of my last trips to High Rock, there was an empty space where the brooder house once stood. 
It's gone...

The change makes me sad. It was just a building...but it stood for more...a time when Granny and Granddaddy were here and things were busy and good at High Rock and would never change.
Things on this temporal planet do change. We can hold on as tightly as we can, but change still comes. And we change with it, gracefully or not. 
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
Hebrews 13:14