Monday, May 11, 2009

Rendezvous Mountain

What a wonderful Mother's Day! I went home to Cary with my son. We took my Mom to the Fairview Garden Center and picked out two truck loads of plants from the greenhouse. PJ, I will call him that, lifted everything into the van and hauled them up the elevator and positioned them on the porch just so. 

Mom drives a very cool GM Buick Terrazo van which allows her motorized wheelchair to hook in. A ramp lets her in and out. We have come a long, long way since horseback transportation. She can do most of what she needs to do these days, but lifting planters is not one of them.

PJ made me a wonderful ceramic Wolf pot in art class. It has lots of manga personality and he filled it with a spiky, yellow flowering plant from the nursery.  I LOVE it!!!! It has been on display at High School and now its home in time for Mother's Day.

RG visited his Mom and said he and his sister played music until 1 pm Saturday night. Sunday after church they ate KFC to avoid the crowds and of course, MOM cooks. It is a fight to keep her from cooking, but on Mother's Day they wanted to see if they could avoid that. That didn't work on Sunday entirely, so there was of course an array of garden vegetables in addition to KFC. Saturday they managed to take her out to Harry Gant's in Taylorsville, NC and managed to pay for it too.  Later Sunday afternoon, they picked strawberries already ripe from the garden, so late last night we made strawberry shortcake when we all got home.

Strawberry picking is a fun, educational thing to do with children. I remember going to fields at my great-aunt's house many times as a kid. There were always things to do at Gramma's house and of course her sister's, when there were farms, fields of plants, ponds, creeks and forests.
Today on the edge of Wake county, Shearon-Harris Nuclear Power Plant sits on my pond and the family moved from that area.  But there are strawberry fields all over NC.  Or, in my fortunate case, in my mother-in-laws back yard.

So this post must be about plants.  I have to start with a clarification from my clarity post.

The bluegrass festival in Wilkes county was sponsored by the Friends of Rendezvous Mountain, not the Friends of the ( W. Kerr Scott) Lake.  The mountain is named Rendezvous because of the story that when the call came to join the Overmountain Men, Col. Benjamin Cleveland stood on top of the mountain and blew his great steer horn to call the men on their way home from fighting Tories to come back up the mountain and assemble, or rendezvous for those of us who are Francophiles,  again "to hear the news".  

We think it must have really been Robert Cleveland, his brother, who called his men back up, because Robert lived on this mountain. His log home has been dismantled and reassembled behind the Wilkes Heritage Museum in Wilkesboro. Inside you will find a large French mirror said to have been collected from the possessions of Patrick Ferguson.  There is a tremendous fireplace as well. Mary Bohlen (open hearth cooking class)  704-500-0171, gives colonial cooking classes there frequently.  That is a treat and inspires me. Who even needs electricity? Well, it takes a while to cook, but open a glass of wine and visit instead.

If you do not live a life of the country gentleman farmer, you can find most anything you need early in the mornings from now 'til late fall at the farmer's markets around the area. Elkin even has one on Saturdays. I love the State Farmer's Market in Raleigh.  We bought a couple of monster-sized pumpkins there one year.  I just used them to decorate the front door. They were big enough to see from the road and I thought it made my entrance look like Southern Living.  Mom-in-Law cautioned us to take them in before the first frost and by Jove, I didn't. Like the night after that, we had a freeze and they turned into mummies. RG went to pick them up and they disintegrated right in this hand sending pumpkin seeds everywhere! Ugh.

But the rest of the story... The next year pumpkin vines volunteered and grew all over my boxwoods and they made tremendous pumpkins!!! I let PJ observe these plants, flowers, special bugs and all. We got several great pumpkins for the porch that year so my thirty dollar purchase yielded two years of pumpkins.  PJ picked the biggest one and took it to the weigh-in for the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival. It weighed in at about 25 pounds and he got a fifty dollar prize for the smallest (!!!?!!!) entry. So, my farmer's market pumpkins didn't cost us anything, I decorated my door, had an agricultural experience, pumpkin for pies, and carved up several for Halloween.  I saved seeds of course, but I might as well scatter them because for all this land, I do not yet have a significant garden.

Check out my friend's blog homesteading in a condo.  She lives in Detroit. She makes her own compost in her own kitchen with thousands of her own WORMS and a few pet rabbits, and she grows her organic garden in containers on her deck. She observed once that she was landless. This still scares me, but she gardens and I do not (yet) There is hope for us all. 

Lastly, if you really get into it and have room for landscape fun as well as food, visit the Arboretum in Raleigh or the NC Arboretum in Asheville.

Lastly and finally, I cannot end a comment about plants without noting a place in NC where you can find your inner overmountain man with "the last American Man", Eustace Conway, at Turtle Island Preserve.  I met him once at Merlefest where he made fire with sticks and pine needles in a turtle shell.  I have it on my Bucket list to spend time at Turtle Island.  I just need to find another brave soul to go with me.

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