Oh, life on the farm. It’s what we’re striving for. It’s what we’re working towards. It’s a huge part of what our big picture looks like and yet we both grew up in an urban setting. Time for another dose of farm life reconnaissance!
Since we both run our own businesses and are planning for our next, a weekend away is essential! This year we’ve decided to plan an extended weekend “somewhere” at the end of every quarter. At the end of 4th quarter 2012 we headed to the beach. This time around, we were due for a trip to the mountains and went to the northwestern-most part of the state: Lansing, North Carolina (cue banjo music).
Our drive to Lansing was pleasant. We beat Friday traffic out of the city and got a little work done in the car before fully submitting to the weekend. There’s nothing like an old country drive through time. Farmhouses and unused, dilapidated barns. Rocks and woodpiles, trucks and rusty metal. Christmas tree farms and old tobacco plots. Herds of cattle glancing up from grazing as the car passes by.
Three and a half hours after saying goodbye to Raleigh, we chugged up the big mountain and made our way to Old Orchard Creek, a blueberry farm tucked in a valley near the convergence of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia in the Appalachian mountains.
As soon as we arrived we were greeted by Mrs. Paws (who we later found out is named ‘Ol Mae). We continued to call her “Mrs. Paws” for the rest of the visit. We stretched our legs and toured the land owned by our friends, Walter and Johnny.
Walter and Johnny weren’t planning to get into the blueberry business but picked it up as a hobby when they fell in love with the property and bought it years ago. There are 3,600 blueberry bushes on 4 acres!! That’s a lot of pruning and a lot of picking to do each year. But they get help from community members who pick blueberries by the bucketful every summer. They also have apple trees, chestnut trees and grapes.
For city dwellers farm life is charming, and weathered tools and ornaments are eye candy. Here are some of the rustic objects we were drawn to:
After our tour with Mrs. Paws, we made ourselves at home in one of the log cabins that is usually rented out to vacationers and wedding parties. We started a fire in the fireplace and got dinner a-goin’ for a warm and cozy evening nestled in the valley.
Saturday was relaxing and filled with visits to animals that come in pairs. First we said hello to the two cats that live on the porch of the cabin.
Then we visited the two miniature donkeys named Gus and Coco. They ate sweet feed (oats) out of our hands and gave us an “Eeyore-thank-you-so-much” in return.
After a few hours of dedicated work, we went hiking with Walter and Johnny’s two long-ear Vizsla dogs, Foster and Lilly. They know the trails well and led us up to the most magnificent view of the Appalachians.
Old Orchard Creek farm is beautiful—we look forward to going back when the fruit trees and blueberry bushes are in bloom. Although it was a short trip, our vacation on the farm added some shape and practicality to our vision. Sometimes even a two-day vacation is enough to feel refueled and inspired.
On Sunday as we were preparing morning tea, gigantic snowflakes began to fall over the hills and into the valley. Within an hour the land was blanketed with snow as far as the eye could see. Snow in March in the Carolinas made for a pretty drive down the mountain.
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