The Journey Home

The season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time for home, whether that be physically, mentally or just in spirit. At no other time of year do we feel as connected to our families, friends and past as in late November and December. I think we all have a longing to go back to our childhood, to  previous places where we felt loved and comfortable, and hopefully for most – we are creating that each year where we are on the road of life currently.  We remember loved ones now gone and rejoice in the future.

For me, moving to Virginia felt like I finally came home. I’ve always been a wanderer. I was truly born with a gypsy spirit and the minute I obtained wheels at 16 I was on the journey of life.  I have always done some type of show across the country, selling some type of wares. And Todd and I were in the race horse business and that by definition is the epitome of a gypsy lifestyle. Every three months we would move to where the next race meet was. We also moved our homeplace at least every eight months too. We like it that way. After leaving the racetrack and working the horse business from a farm, we have moved many, many times. We like to experience new things and different regions and cultures. But when we came to Virginia I knew that this is where all the roads in my life were leading me. It’s very hard to explain but I have been called to Appalachia for a very long time. It is in me, it is in my spirit and soul. Once I finally got aligned with God’s plan for my life everything came together so easily. KC, Cheryl’s husband says, “It’s like dominoes falling – once you are in God’s perfect plan everything just starts to fall together.”

Yesterday, for a few short minutes I visited with our neighbor whose house is across the road from our farm. They don’t live there, but come to take care of their homeplace a few times a year and hope to return there after retirement. But our farm is her grandparents homeplace and where her mother grew up, so she has very strong roots to our soil. Yesterday she gave me the beautiful gift of telling me how happy she is that Todd and I have her family farm and how happy her grandparents, parents and uncles would be that we are raising horses and cattle here and taking good care of the soil.  She will never know how much that means to me, and it is yet more proof that we are where we are supposed to be.

I apologize for this very long and wordy post this morning, but it is the right season to tell you the story of Aunt Cory’s Log House.  I will try to be somewhat brief because it is a long story but you already know I can get pretty wordy!  But I want to do justice to a beautiful thing. I met Cheryl Jones about 20 some odd years ago, maybe more now, doing an antique show in Colorado. My lifetime mentor in the antique business, Charlotte, introduced us. Probably within just knowing Cheryl less than a day she told me her family roots were in Virginia and that she spent all her growing up summers at her grandmother’s farm there. Her grandmother’s best friend lived across the road in a log house – and they called her Aunt Cory.

Cory and Harrison Cox raised their family on Moore Creek Road (Cheryl’s maiden name) down in the holler in Meadowview, Virginia in that wonderful log house and lived a very simple life there, tending cattle, gardens, farming. I will share all the wonderful details of the old house when the time is right.

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So when Todd and I finally got out of God’s way and came to Virginia I told Cheryl that we had looked at a couple of farms around Abingdon. She nearly flipped and said that is right near her grandmother’s old farm. Now is where I could get bogged down in details but let me suffice it to say that literally by the end of that week Cheryl had found Cory’s daughter who still lived in the area and found out Cory’s farm was for sale. A few weeks later we all met up in Virginia and went to the old mountain farm that had gotten really grown up over the years and the grand log house was showing her age too. Aunt Cory had left the farm in the 1970’s and no one had been there since.  Long story short, the farm was just not the farm for us. But the next day we found “our” farm. On the drive to see “our” farm for the first time, Cheryl planted the seed that even though we weren’t going to buy Cory’s farm, maybe we could buy the cabin.  The dream was born and God birthed it.

So here we are putting up Aunt Cory’s Log Cabin (and barn) here on Walkers Knob Road, with Cory’s beautiful families blessing – the same log house I heard Cheryl talk about and reminisce about all these years. I know it is a bittersweet thing for Cory’s family – we have become very close to them through this process. They have seen their homeplace taken from the land it sat on for almost two hundred years. But thankfully for us, they see that Todd and I are saving the grand old girl and that we will build it back with respect, grace and so much love.

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So with the blessing from the past – both land owners and log house owners, we will carry on here and I pray that Aunt Cory’s Log House and the little farm on Walkers Knob Road will bring our family and friends countless blessings during the holidays that will be spent here in the future. And I hope that one day when the Lord calls us home, we will pass the torch to the next set of caregivers with the same grace that has been given to us.

 

Autumn on Walkers Knob

November is my favorite month – I like the last hurrah of fall color along with the beginning of bare branches on the trees, the crispness in the air, a hint of possible snow but not quite full winter yet. There is a true peace in this season for me.

Last year was our first autumn in Virginia and while coming from Texas, the fall color was a nice change. But this year Mother Nature exploded with a vibrant yield!  About two weeks ago I thought the color was awesome …

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But in the waning days of the season, today’s color literally takes your breath away …

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I don’t like to rush autumn by thinking of Christmas. Lots of folks put away their pumpkins the day after Halloween, but I like to leave them out as long as possible. And after they begin to get soft they make a wonderful treat for our cattle and deer. Apparently raccoons like them too because I found one of the big ones near our front door all hallowed out this morning! I could just see them using their little hand like paws to scoop out all of the orange meat!  There is plenty for everyone at our farm!

Lots of folks have been asking about our building progress here on Walkers Knob. Todd and I are trying hard to enjoy the process and not stress out in a fury of “getting it done!” We have a wonderful, cozy little cabin to live in for the time being so it will all happen in God’s perfect timing! But Todd’s barn is all finished –

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The logs on the right side came from the same farm our log house did. Cheryl’s grandfather helped fell the logs for it many moons ago. The left side of the barn came from Michigan and is built of huge hand-hewn timbers.

We have been doing  a lot of fencing and have miles and miles to go. Todd has many small pastures and pens for cattle and horses.

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The logs are stacked on the house and we are preparing to put the roof on …

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I have to tell you a story though.  The day the last row of logs went up I left for Alabama. A few hours after I was gone it started raining. That was during the recent hurricane and it rained for nearly 50 hours straight, but a nice slow rain that we really needed. The next morning when Todd went out to do barn chores, this is what he found:

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Yes, that huge tree fell and landed less than two feet from our freshly stacked logs! God was awake that night while Todd and Ezra slept through it all.

Soon the winter winds will howl and snow will fall and Aunt Cory’s log house will patiently wait for our return in the spring! But until then Todd and his helpers will continue to labor in love.

As for me, I’m headed to O-HI-O in the morning for the 10th annual Simple Goods show! How in the world it got to be 10 years I can’t imagine. I will be with my friend Ginny Curry at her open house on Friday morning too, so I hope those of you headed there will stop and say hi!

I’ll be listening to the Be Good Tanyas along the journey!

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