Saturday, January 11, 2014

Olden Ways

Today, as Karen and I crossed the road that divides our farm into two sections, a fellow in a van rolled down his window, unsmiling. I was afraid he was going to complain about our chickens wandering in the road, so awkwardness hid behind my smile. When he said, "I'd like to talk to you about your goats and chickens," I thought "Uh-oh" until a memory nudged me.

"Do you mean you're thinking about getting chickens?"

He nodded. "I just came from time in the woods. I built myself a little shelter from the rain, gathered some wood, chiseled it down to dry kindling, and used a bow-starter to smoke up a fire."

"Good for you," I said. "I've thought of doing that, but never have."

"About 25 times," he said. "Each time I've felt as though I've done something very special, proud of myself."

"Understood," I said. "Reminds me of what we try to do here." I pointed around the farm. "Like make ice cream with our own milk and cream. Each time is special."

We spoke a while longer, then he began to drive away as Karen and I resumed our walk around the field. "He wants you," Karen said, pointing.

I headed back to the gate. He handed me a DVD, "The Last One." "You might like this," he said. "About Popcorn Sutton. I thought it was pretty funny."

"Thanks," I said. "I'll return it sometime when I run by your house."

Virginia says, "What on earth is 'The Last One?'"

Popcorn Sutton caps off a lifetime in the moonshine trade with a final trip into the wilds of Southern Appalachia to make one last batch of illegal liquor. As he shows how it's done, he reminisces about moonshine glory days.

So I've been thinking. Maybe it'd be fun to gather a bunch of these folks we've met who are trying to resurrect some of the "olden ways" -- folks we don't know well, whose everyday paths don't cross often, but may have some common objectives and some stories to share.


  1. could start your own 'still and swap these stories over some "proud 'n special" clear. That should attract the old-timers!

  2. If you find any that want to share their yarns and stories in another arena they can come to our "Spinning Yarns and Spinning Yarns" event, March 29th. under announcement