As I’ve gotten older (thank God!), my to-do list and my ability to complete that list seem to be in direct conflict. It just takes so much longer and so much more energy to accomplish what needs to be done, leaving what I want to do, still on the list. Ah well. I’m glad I’ve got that problem instead of “absent in the body, present with the Lord”. Don’t get me wrong…I’m ready to go but I’m not homesick and, as energy depleted as I generally am, this life suits me fine and dandy.
You may know, I live in Appalachia and Thistle Cove Farm is the result of a prayer made when I was six years old. Daddy and Mom are both from Appalachian mountain stock and farming families, and the prayer of the girl I once was, asked God to, “please let me live on a farm and have animals.” His timing isn’t
my our timing and it took more than three decades for that prayer to come to fruition. Along the way, I’ve collected photographs of all things mountain beautiful and hope you enjoy as much as do I.
My small flock of Shetlands, Romney’s, and Merino’s were, generally, easy to deal with. Sometimes, the horns on a Shetland would grow curling into the side of their face. When that happened, Daniel would take a fine wire and saw off the horn tip. Someone had to hold the sheep’s head (I wasn’t never strong enough) in order to keep things safe for human and animal. I like this photo…the intensity of Daniel as he saws off the horn, the muscle strength of Clinton’s arms while holding the sheep.
Old Mother Hubbard goes to festivals and tells stories both American Native and Aesop. She’s local color in southwest VA, probably throughout the eastern TN/KY region as well and is a delight. I don’t know her Christian name but, if you’re interested, you could do a search and find out. She’s been written up in several newspapers and been interviewed on various television programs.
The definition of tolerance is ” the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” In other words, please don’t send snarky notes about bear hunting or hunters. This gentleman killed this bear for both food and pelt while it was legal to do so…bear hunting season.
In 2013 Dalton, and his sister, Kim, helped demonstrate butter making at the county fair. He took his job seriously yet managed to enjoy the process.
Leslie Shelor, Greenberry House, demonstrates big wheel spinning around the region.
The Shockley Old Timey Days festival is in Hillsville, VA. It’s one of the best little festivals around, imho, and characters abound…like this gentleman and his vintage antique truck. They aren’t the best at updating their information so if you want to go, best call first for correct dates.
This old feller demonstrates shocking hay…putting it into huge shocks, or stacks, so weather will run off of and not into the hay. I’ve traveled in Eastern Europe and this is is the way farmers still store their hay and even leave the edges of the field for others (widows) to glean. It’s very Old Testament and Biblical; click here for more information and another way of seeing.
This kindly woman demonstrated churning and had the churn her grandmother used. I love it when generations pass on the tools and the knowledge of how to do things.
Emily, helping John, her son, put up my hay. Emily is also an Episcopalian minister, serving at Christ Episcopal Church in Marion, VA and serves on a number of boards, all relating to agriculture.
Clinton Bell, a neighbor, still moves his cattle and sheep the way he was taught…while on horseback.
Someone told me this woman is 94 years old and she’s still lifting a leg to clog at the Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival in Grayson County. The Ramp Festival benefits the Mount Rogers Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad. Ramps are a delicacy in the Appalachians with those of us who love them LOVE THEM and those of us who don’t…are Philistines. (joke!) Ramps are classified as wild onions and taste like a blend of onion and garlic, are fairly strong and best when fried up with potatoes and sausage.
Bud Thompson, smithy, demonstrates in the area and used to demonstrate on Thistle Cove Farm. This is one of my favorite photographs…looks rather Old World, don’t you think?
Charlie Butcher, dulcimer maker who also makes other instruments. I’ve got one of the first dulcimers he ever made and it sounds just as sweet now as it did almost twenty years ago.
Robert Woods and Daddy, checking on the bee hives. Neither of them have ever worn bee gear; they believe if you handle the bees gently and calmly, they won’t become agitated and sting. Robert added, “And never after having an argument with your wife!”
There are four distinct seasons in Appalachian…at least the Appalachia where I live. Each one is special and loved for its own reasons. My Grandfather died in November 1959, when I was five years old, and it was a cold, wintery, blustery day. It was, in one word: Appalachia. Even though Appalachian winters are harsh, I love them just the same and they call to mind my kith and kin of past days. My people have always been intimately connected with “heat and eat” and it’s no different for me now. As long as I have oil in the furnace, wood for the wood stove and propane in the tank and cook stove Appalachian winters can be enjoyed and not just tolerated. Now that my sheep and alpacas are gone, my work load has been cut by twenty-six animals; I expect I’ll do just fine this winter. Just like all those winters gone before.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed these photos; it’s difficult putting “some” on the blog when I’ve more than 20,000 from which to choose. These aren’t all my favorites but are only some of my favorites either because I dearly love the people or the places they call to mind. In a day and age when folks aren’t, seemingly, interested in being solely an “American”, I am. In fact, I’m proud of the fact I’m a “double” American…an Appalachian American.
My heart wouldn’t have it any other way.
Blessings ~ people ~ land ~ animals ~