Friday, February 24, 2017

Visit to White Oak

my daddy and mother
 The quiet country lane where my some of my West Virginia kin live, used to be a tiny community called White Oak. When I strolled down the road, looking back I could see my parents' home at the top of the hill, around the curve ...
 ... and peering far across the fields I could see my brother's house and farm too. Can you see it on the hill through the trees?
 In between is White Oak Cemetery, a minuscule country burying ground with names like Burr and Spencer.
 My parents hope to be buried there.
 Walking the quarter mile to Max and Anne's house, this is my favorite view of their farm from across a little valley. The blueberry rows stretch in front of the house, and a red barn shed sits below. White Oak Berry Farm is a pick-your-own blueberry farm in just about the prettiest spot on the planet.
 I was so happy that Marshall came down to see me from his home an hour or so away. He's semi-retired now from many years of very hard work building a successful company. Isn't that amazing? I'm very proud of him, and he is a good and kind man. He and Max discussed all things farming. I didn't get a good photo of them together because I do get tired of bugging people for smiling photographs, and I bet they get tired of it too!
 Max and Anne have a lovely red barn.
 Max added on a open machinery shed on the side of his barn. He was finishing it that day. Marshall helped.
 I find inordinate delight in watching my brothers do anything. I love to watch them work. I love seeing their personalities, which I've studied so much over the decades, still come out as they relate to each other, as they converse and discuss, laugh and commiserate, work and relax. I absolutely love being with my family.
 There's the shed. Here are some sheep, but I think they are a neighbor's. Max has about six sheep this year, I think. He lost quite a few to coyotes a couple of years ago, and was down to only one ewe.
 This is his milk cow, and he has two others. All three should have calves this spring.
 I enjoyed lots of time chatting with my dear sister-in-law Anne, and she cooked a lovely meal for us Wednesday evening. She has such beautiful personal taste and always has.
 My brother Mark is working on his farmhouse, which is an on-going project. I love the blue paint he chose for the top under the eaves. There's still so much to do.

 One of the house's biggest problems is that it sits right on the ground. The dirt is literally about an inch below the kitchen floorboards, and because it's so old (120 years), there aren't all those sub-floors, etc. that are so handy in modern houses.
 It's a huge house, and Mark has wanted to raise the house from the dirt for the three years they've lived there. Finally now he is able to do it. It's a huge task, especially doing it alone. And as he raises it, because the sills and lower boards have been so close to the dirt for so long, there's much deterioration and repair work to be done.
 I wouldn't even want to begin to figure out how do to all that!
As he raises the house, Mark also needs to level it. Just as an indication ... he raised the middle of the floor 3" so far, but raised the perimeter of the house 8". The house was sagging that much, at the exterior walls! In addition, the utilities will have to be adjusted as the house goes up. Some of the repairs that have been done will have to be redone, I think. He wanted to raise the house first, and do those other things second, but at least it is being addressed now.
Mark drove me over to White Sulphur Springs to see the little Presbyterian church where he preaches every other week. We stopped in at the Episcopal church too, where they gave me a bowl of chili for lunch. They're still feeding dozens of people every day who are in White Sulphur to help rebuild the community after the devastating floods of last year.
 We took the most gorgeous "scenic route" from Frankford, winding through hills and across rivers and wiggling beside streams. It was breath-taking. This is one thing I've always loved about my brothers: they enjoy and value the outdoors, the rural, the landscape where others wouldn't bother to go. We are all non-urban folk in our family. My parents were too early to be hippies, and we children were all too late, but somehow we all got that rather rustic gene, and we just can't seem to get the dirt out of our blood.
I stopped on the drive home in the Shenandoah Valley for this shot near Waynesboro.
I'm back home now. It hardly feels like February -- it's about 80 degrees today! There's lots going on around the house and farm, but I'll post that over on the Red Robin Farm blog. You all have a lovely day, and be sure to get outside!


  1. So much fun to see your family's sweet little farms! It's nice to have such deep, stable roots. My family moved constantly and I would have enjoyed growing up in one spot close to extended family. I love the candid photos of your brothers working together. :)

  2. Beautiful country! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. What a great post about your hardworking family and the beautiful countryside that they live in.

    Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

  4. It sounds so complicated to do all that!! I'm glad you got to see Marshall!

  5. I enjoyed your family travelogue. That farmhouse project is huge! But I can just see it all fresh and new, and it's understandable that hardworking men with vision would find great satisfaction in tackling the job.


Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!