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Archive for June, 2012

I have often wished I could go back in time to those shining Sunday mornings in the 50’s when Gene, Gary and I walked from our house on the Greenville Highway below Brevard to Carr’s Hill Baptist Church.

carrs hill other side

Old Carr’s Hill Baptist Church. Building extant but no longer in use. Present Carr’s Hill Baptist is south on Hwy. 276.

What golden memories we made along that road. It was only a mile more or less. We walked up the highway (the best I remember it was gravel then) to Mr. Allison’s and then we took a little road on his property. I seem to remember it went between his barn and his cornfield. We came out on Becky Mountain Road. At that point we were almost there. There were cows in the pasture on our right, and a big corn field on our left. In the pasture was the loveliest creek you ever saw, and it flowed right down and under the road where we walked. Blue flowers grew alongside the creek in the spring. The clear water sparkled in the sunshine. We had a small creek at our house, but this one was bigger and better, and so, so beautiful. We never got enough of looking at it. We dared not  climb down under the bridge and get into that clear cool water, but we sure wanted to!

We nearly always stopped at the creek, hoping to see a fish. Our daddy was the best fisherman in Transylvania County, and that’s a true fact. But that belongs in another story. We could see the church frorose children black borderm there as it was only a short distance away, up on the hill. They rang the bell a few minutes ahead of time to let you know to quit your lollygagging and come on in. Then at time for the service they rang it again, and you had better be inside by that time, or someone would hear about it. You could go all the way around the base of the hill and walk up the driveway, or if you wanted, you could take the trail up the hill for a short cut. My two oldest brothers and I went there for about three years. I will never forget the peal of the church bell, or the sound of the old fashioned piano. Most of the beautiful old songs I love to sing today I learned during those three years. And how stately were the processionals in Bible School with the big boys carrying the flags. I remember the pledges to the flags, the American flag, the Christian flag, and the pledge to the Bible, and the songs that went with each. We learned to sing “Lift Up Your Heads Oh Ye Gates” in Bible school.

That time was so dear to me that I decided to paint the memory. I went down below Brevard to the place where Hogsed Creek runs under Becky Mountain Road and snapped a picture. The pasture is still there but it is nowhere near as pretty as it was back in the 50’s when I was a girl. I didn’t go up to the church, because it is no longer in use, and there is a house very near it. I reckon I was afraid someone would run me off.

When I got into the painting, I had to skew things a bit to get everything I wanted into the scene, so it is not exactly a duplicate of the landscape, but very nearly. And, I couldn’t remember exactly what the church looked like. So I had to make that up. I found a photo of the old church on the internet tonight, and I was amazed at how similar the church in my painting is to the actual old building. Something in me remembered what my brain could not. That has happened to me before. I took another liberty with my painting by adding my youngest brother Vance on my right. He was too young to walk with us to church, but I didn’t have the heart to leave him out of the painting! Also, I did not recall there was a cemetery behind the old Carr’s Hill Baptist Church, but I put one in the painting anyway, just because old churches almost always have cemeteries. I read in the article I found this evening that there IS a cemetery behind the church. What about that!

Carrs Hill Baptist Church

Carrs Hill Baptist Church

Hardly anybody rings a church bell any more. Some of the old, old churches in cities ring bells, but I never hear a church bell in the country any more. How my heart longs to hear again that clear, sweet call to worship!

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Built 1939

I am going to share with you some pictures of my ancestral home, a place where as a child I was privileged to come many times. I loved it with a passion, as did my brothers and some of my cousins. It was home to us, fixed, unmovable, unlike the rental houses we hopped into and out of like little frogs.

Replacement porch posts of painted locust poles

I lived there most of the time from 1984 to 1999 whenI married Jack and moved to Toxaway. It was truly a lovely place, and a big place, as you will see.

After 1999 I was unable to maintain it. Soon the house  burned, and the fields grew up in weeds and saplings. For a long time a friend kept horses and a mule in the far field, but after that it became a very  expensive proposition to keep the mowing done, so every other year or so it was not done, unless someone wanted the hay, which by then was barely hay and mostly weeds. You get the picture.

Now we are working toward a division of the property. It is my hope that sooner or later my beautiful home will look better than it does today.

These pictures were taken from time to time during the years I lived there.

I will never forget the time I looked down to this field near the barn and there stood the grandest white stallion I ever saw. I said to myself, “I know my prince has come, for I see his horse.” I don’t have a picture of the white horse. He was a beauty, though.

The barn and a feed shed are the only structures remaining on the property now. The feed shed is recent, from the time of the horses. The barn was built when I was a child, and replaced an earlier barn.

There was a woodshed behind the house which grandpa built too close to the bank and which threatened to drop off into the spring branch for many years. You can see from the picture how it is leaning backwards. Finally I got my cousin to cut some stout poles and prop up the woodshed from behind. It worked.  The woodshed stayed until it was torn away after the house burned. The sweet dog in this picture was my daughter’s. I kept it for several months. At first I did not want it and tried to give it away (with her permission) but nobody wanted it. I was surprised that my heart broke when she finally took my dog back!

There is a lovely creek running through my old home place, the North Fork of Flat Creek. Flat Creek runs through some flat places, but there are at least three waterfalls on it. When we were little, Grandpa had a bridge over it. High water washed it away and it never was replaced. Today there are several trees along the creek, but back when we were growing up Grandpa kept the edges clear.

Back in those days a haircut was meant to last a long time, as you can see. My younger brothers are on the bridge fishing. The milk cow is beyond them, cooling her heels in the water.

The charming interior of the house was never modernized; this photo shows the little wood cookstove Grandma ordered from Sears and Roebuck. There was, however, an electric stove not showing in the photo. There had been an oil heater in the living room, but I thought it was unsafe and replaced it with a wood stove, which was more like I remembered, and a lot warmer than the oil heater. Nothing can beat a wood stove for coziness!

How dear to my heart was this place, in the Quebec community, a few miles from Lake Toxaway. It is on the North Carolina registry of Century Farms, under the name: The Henry McCall Family Farm.

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Black bears at Little Panthertail Mountain

We’ve had bears at Lake Toxaway from the beginning of time I guess, but I never saw one here. I saw them at Cades Cove a few times so I know their coloring, and roughly how they look. In our area as well as Cades Cove there are only black bears.

Early this morning I was out on a golf cart, traveling an old road in the woods. It is my custom to take our sooner chocolate lab Bruno for a run every morning. Sometimes Charlie Fisher, our neighbor’s black lab,  goes with us. Occasionally he meets us somewhere along the way. Bruno and I go up the hill to the campground usually, and from there sometimes I take the Lake Toxaway view trail. Today I took that trail.

Bruno (right) and Charlie Fisher

Bruno ran ahead. He was about 50 yards out front when he stopped and began barking. Suddenly a black shape emerged from the bushes to Bruno’s left. I have somewhat less than perfect vision, and right away I thought, “Charlie Fisher!”

But Charlie didn’t come bounding toward me as he usually does, nor did he begin to play with Bruno, who was barking furiously. Instead he swiftly climbed the embankment on the right, and as he did I noticed he didn’t have a tail. Uh oh! The Charlie Fisher I know has a handsome tail, with long fur on it.

Of course, it was a young bear. Last winter Tony regularly got photos of bears on his game camera. But bears travel far and wide. I thought they were gone from Little Panthertail this spring. I even said that in my last post on this site. I was wrong!

I called Bruno, who finally came to me, not because he wanted to, but because he loves me. I turned my golf cart around and soon I had emerged from the woods, very pleased to have finally seen a bear, right here at home!

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We haven’t talked about Panther Ridge Campground much, if any. Jack and Tony built the campground before Jack and I ever got married, quite a few years ago. It’s hard to believe how time flies.  Three years ago Jack and I took over the management of Panther Ridge. We have pretty much caught up on most of the things we wanted to do to for it. There still remain a few items, but we are very pleased with how it looks now, and with the improvements we have been able to make.

In May Tony and I were up there about to burn a brush pile. I drove my truck around and up to the pavilion and bath house where I was going to park. To make a long story short I hit the gas instead of the brake, twice, and ended up crashing into a corner post of the pavilion. If I had been two inches further to the left I would have taken down the roof. As it was I only took down a post. Thank the Lord!  Tony and Jack’s brother Jimmy took out the damaged post, dug a hole and put in cement for the new one. Jimmy cut the post to fit in its slot under the roof and the next day I helped Tony put up the new post. What an adventure! Jimmy said he thought only old women did things like that. Of course I am not an old woman.

Panther Ridge is almost to the top of Little Panthertail Mountain. You can see bits of the far blue mountains of the Blue Ridge Parkway peeping through the trees  (but not in this photo looking toward the top of Panthertail.) Our elevation is about 3500 ft. It stays nice and cool most of the time. We take campers up to 40 ft. The driveway is about a half mile and gravel. Larger towed campers need to be pulled up by a four wheel drive vehicle usually. We have some wooded sites down low that tent campers enjoy. The higher sites are better for vehicles requiring more level ground. All have water, sewer, electric, and a telephone line available. If cable ever comes up Slick Fisher Road we will have cable as the wiring is installed.

There is a small stream in deep woods behind the campsites. We have just this year opened up a trail through the woods to a little waterfall. Then we have our other trails, including the Lake Toxaway view trail. But now we are getting so many leaves we don’t see much of the lake any more.

Deer Tongue Laurel
(small rhododendron)

The spring flowers have been gorgeous. I have posted some photos of the beautiful flowers. The small rhododendrons are finishing now and the big ones we call laurels are beginning to open. The lightning bugs arrived in May.  By the way you need to read my article about my unforgettable experience last year with these wonderful little creatures. I am a contributor to Yahoo Voices. Here is the link.

The little wood thrush is singing his melodious song every morning. Squirrels are everywhere. I counted thirteen in the campground as I drove up there one morning. We continue to see deer and turkeys. No bears this summer that I am aware of. However, there is one a few miles down the road.

If you are up here, come by and visit Panther Ridge.

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