Carolina on Our Minds

This was probably the *most* Carolinian weekend we’ve had since we moved to Charlotte.  A family in the congregation generously invited us out to their farm about an hour away from us to show us what Union Grove was all about.  And let me tell you, if it weren’t for Justin’s commute, we’d have packed our bags right then and there.

Justin referred to it (and I agree) as a place that time forgot.  It was breathtaking and everywhere we looked were old school things you don’t (but should) see anymore: blacksmiths, traditional stained glass makers, cobblers, woodworkers.

The first part of the day was to be a brunch at a place that does Bluegrass music on Saturday mornings at a place called Cook Shack.

Unfortunately, due to bad timing and an unexpected vacation by the owners, we’d have to miss the wonder this trip, but we vowed to return another day.  Onward to Linney’s Mill – a traditional stone mill run by a waterwheel!

Because we were with a local, we got the tour, which was exciting because the mill was actually running.  Caleb got to see the machinery grinding the corn and see them change out the bags of cornmeal by hand as they filled, which was so exciting for a little boy.  Andy much preferred the river behind – he ran HEAD FIRST into it such that I had to catch him by his overall straps – but not before he soaked himself to his waist.  From now on, that child wears nothing but overalls as those straps saved the day.

A short drive up a dirt road led us to the farm – a breathtaking and peaceful place.  The family is retired and three of their grandchildren were visiting.  Caleb immediately glommed onto the boys, feeling incredibly cool for joining the big guys doing work on the farm.  Andy was joyfully taken immediately upon arrival to learn the joys of a porch swing.  So Justin and I got to work picking blueberries!

This was such a lovely experience because it just felt like time slowed down.  I could stop and visit and swing on the porch, or enjoy the sun and eat sun-warmed blueberries, or walk behind the boys with a wagging dog as they helped mulch new blueberry plants or play in the grass.  It brought such peace of mind to know that Caleb could be anywhere and was safe, and that everything he was doing was good for him, mind, body, and spirit.  And it showed through his joy.

By the end of the afternoon, Andy was a master of both the porch swing and the blueberry harvest.  Let me tell you, that boy LOVES a blueberry.  He had completely figured out which ones to pick and which ones to leave (or throw violently) and probably ate his weight by the end of the day.

Around 1:30, we knew it was about past nap time so we reluctantly stopped at a heaping gallon of blueberries and packed up shop, but our wonderful hosts had one last surprise for us.

Welcome to Love Valley, a real live cowboy town.  It was just a few minutes down the road.  Andy immediately fell asleep, but more generosity came forth and the Mrs. in our host duo sat with sleeping Andy in the (running) car as we took a quick tour and probably blew Caleb’s mind for the rest of the year.  There’s an old-time saloon that we’ll definitely be back to for a meal!

It was one of the best weekends we’ve had here, and so nice to share in fellowship with our hosts and share in their gifts outside of Sunday service.  Tomorrow will bring blueberry cobbler with Sunday supper!

That is, if the boys don’t eat them all first (what dinner?).

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