Farms

Tulips in the Fall

It is fall here in East Tennessee, a rather lovely time of year. We are known for our leaves and the color of the mountains. How they turn from green to shades of red, yellow, and orange. The breeze is sweeter, maybe it is the smell of pumpkins and hot cocoa in the air, or the bonfires. Nights get cooler and then days start to get cooler and the scarves bust from the winter closet. Kids go to fall festivals and corn mazes. Weekends are spent picking apples and making apple butter; or better yet cheering on your favorite SEC football team.

Amongst all this fall foliage and fall festivities there are tulips blooming. Tulips blooming in fall? Why yes darlin’! We have a set of tulips blooming in Blaine, TN. See below for yourself….

***to get a better view of the tulips, click the picture to enlarge***

 

Stop 15: Tennessee Tulips at Lakin Quilt Barn

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Happy fall ya’ll!

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The Farm by Joyce Sutphen

Stop 14: Mountain Variation @ Renfro Quilt Barn

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The Farm by Joyce Sutphen

My father’s farm is an apple blossomer.
He keeps his hills in dandelion carpet
and weaves a lane of lilacs between the rose
and the jack-in-the-pulpits.
His sleek cows ripple in the pastures.
The dog and purple iris
keep watch at the garden’s end.
His farm is rolling thunder,
a lightning bolt on the horizon.
His crops suck rain from the sky
and swallow the smoldering sun.
His fields are oceans of heat,
where waves of gold
beat the burning shore.
A red fox
pauses under the birch trees,
a shadow is in the river’s bend.
When the hawk circles the land,
my father’s grainfields whirl beneath it.
Owls gather together to sing in his woods,
and the deer run his golden meadow.
My father’s farm is an icicle,
a hillside of white powder.
He parts the snowy sea,
and smooths away the valleys.
He cultivates his rows of starlight
and drags the crescent moon
through dark unfurrowed fields.

nothin’ like trippin’ down a backroad

What is it about backroads that are so special? Is it because of the way they wind and curve and wind and curve and wind and curve? Or is it the peaceful silence of being surrounded by nature and mountains? Or is it because the speed limit is a little higher than it should be so it calls for fast pace driving with the windows down and wind in your hair? Maybe it is all of that. It is the experience. You experience an adventure. You never know what is around that bend. Is there a farm? A mansion? A turtle crossing the road? A baby deer? Lord forbid a stop sign. Sometimes those roads go on and on and on and on and on and you think they will never end. You want it to end, but at the same time you don’t because once you hit the main drag you know the adventure is over.

That is the great thing about the Appalachian Quilt Trail. So many stops are on these backroads! A visitor, especially maybe someone who is new to country backroads, will have an adventure. Even for us locals, the backroads and AQT will always have an adventure in store. Every time I have cruise the quilt trail in search of my next stop, I always end up on a backroad in a beautiful, unfamiliar, yet homey place. Picturesque mountains and fields surround my car and I feel the wind passing through the car as I drive and drive and drive and drive till I find my waypoint or trail stop.

This is exactly what happened the other day. My adventure was to find Canaanland Park in Washburn, TN to get a picture for the AQT website. Lets just say my GPS definitely took me on a super huge rabbit trail. While on this rabbit trail I got on a “main” back road (a lovely thing in the rural South, a back road that is actually a main road, no stoplights), and found a variety of quilt squares that I didn’t plan on seeing. What lovely surprises! Around each bend was a new adventure on the AQT. There were moments I was so wrapped up in the scenery that a few quilt barns popped up and I missed them and couldn’t take a picture. I guess that gives new meaning to pay attention to your surroundings!

I did happen to stumble across a barn mural, Not Barn Yesterday. This is a very special stop on the AQT. While not exactly a quilt square, it does depict the heritage of this area and everything the trail stands for. It was painted by local high school kids from the Washburn area. It is definitely something to see!

Then right down the road, about 5 minutes, BAM! There on the left was Canaanland. Again, it was one of those I wasn’t expecting so soon so I had to turn around and get to it. Their quilt square is called Windmills All Around. It is a stunning piece, large enough, and purple enough to see from the road. A beautiful long driveway with trees is a grand entrance. Canaanland is available for community events and parties. It seems like a great venue to do a country wedding or outdoorsy/southern inspired birthday party. You will even get greeted by a sheep that is at the road.

After a few pictures there I continued my backroad journey all the way back to the Bryan House. Following those twists and turns all the way to my next adventure…

 

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Stop 12: Not Barn Yesterday, Washburn, TN

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Stop 13: Caananland Land Park, Washburn, TN

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Stop 8: Echo Acres Farms: stop and smell the apples!

Meghan Palmer, an Appalachia CARES/AmeriCorps member who also serves as Community Outreach Liaison with myself wrote a very special entry for today!

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We’re really doing some fun things with the Appalachian Quilt Trail lately; in addition to our new AQT blog we are working on a narrative project that will plug directly in to the website. Little by little we are hoping to visit quilt square sites to interview people and find out a little bit more about the history of these unique places. We then post the narratives in small time increments (about a couple of minutes long) and let you listen to the stories in the voice of those who tell them.

River Place on the Clinch (Market) has the privilege of our first narrative post; Lindy Turner speaks about the transformation of the old, dilapidated Elmer Wallen Grocery into the vibrant place that River Place is today. Check it out; you can even hear the floors creaking and the ceiling fans quietly “whooshing” in the background as she speaks.

Last week I took a scenic drive into Claiborne County to visit Mr. Joe McNew of Echo Acres Farms. The quilt square mounted across from his house on the big, red barn is titled “Garnieta’s Star,” in honor of Mrs. McNew. The McNews’ home is truly a remarkable place. Echo Acres, so named because when Joe and Garnieta first acquired the farm they could converse on the porch and have their words echo back from the timber across the road, has been worked by the same family for five generations.

Mr. McNew’s endeavors with old apple species are renowned; he has been known to track down old apple varieties that pilgrims brought with them from Europe and bring them to life in his own orchard, where he maintains hundreds of varieties of apple trees. Each early spring, the first Saturday of March to be specific, Mr. McNew partners with the University of Tennessee to host an apple grafting workshop at his historic farm. Hundreds of people attend to learn about heritage apples and grafting. Attendees even take home a little grafted sapling of their own. Through this activity, Mr. McNew is able to bring his love of home, land and an all-but-forgotten way of life to new generations.

Keep checking the AQT website,http://vacationaqt.com/, for Mr. McNew’s narrative at the Echo Acres Farms quilt pattern.

 

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Stop 6: The Red Barn in Russell Co, VA

Sometimes my travels for work take me outside Tennessee. The other day I was going to a Clinch River Valley Initiative meeting up in Cleveland, Virginia. Yes, there is a Cleveland in Virginia. This Cleveland only has ~200 people and is out in God’s country (another term for out in the boonies, out yonder, middle of nowhere). It was a lovely drive, very scenic and peaceful. I had found the poem below right before my trip and wanted to find a red barn to go with it. I am driving down this curvy back road on my to Cleveland I stumble across this bard. It was perfect for the poem! The farm is called Bluegrass Farm and they had cows in the pasture. I believe the pattern is called Rising Sun. 

The Red Barn Remembers by Barbara Gorelick

The red barn stands, silhouetted against the sky.

An oak tree wraps its tired limbs around her

As if to protect her from time and age.

Her roof, sagging, color faded,

An errant plume of red along her frame.

Yet, proudly she stands, remembrance of a happy time.

Shelter from the rain, children

Playing in her hair, lovers hiding in her shadows.

Beauty I see now, not bright, not boastful.

With dignity and respect she bows to age.

 

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