Freedom – Explore – Unexpected Blessings

Freedom Beings out the Explorer in Me

April 7, 2012 Saturday

Today I explored rural middle Georgia. I planned to go to Calloway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA. I decided to stop in Warm Springs. Iit is known as FDR’s ‘other’ white house. It was formally named Bullockville but was changed due to the belief that the continually flowing warm waters would heal things like polio. FDR renamed the town. But…. I did not have a specific place to go in Warm Springs and do not like to use the feature on the GPS that send you to the center of town, so……. I looked for points of interest. Well, I found The Old South Farm Museums and chose that. Turns out it is NOT in Warm Springs but in Woodland, Georgia on Pleasant Valley Road! How funny is that!

I was so shocked. I stopped at a local restaurant on the corner of Pleasant Valley Road. I met Daisy!  She and her husband Charlie own the restaurant and do all the cooking. They serve a variety of meats, vegetables and desserts. One item on the menu each day is collard greens. The other is corn bread. I assured them I was not hungry but would be back on Wednesday as they serve pinto beans on that day. She said I would like her collard greens and I said “no thank you”. Her husband said, “I will give you just a little taste and we will see”. I assured him I was not hungry but did not want to be rude so I said “ok, One bite”!  He brought a small plate of collard greens! Daisy said, ‘bring her a piece of cornbread too to go with the greens.” I cautiously took a fork full of greens. I was wondering how I was going to tell them how awful they were and not be rude. They were wonderful. They are not bitter at all and Daisy explained to me how to clean them and strip out the veins. They cook for about 45 minutes but not too long. She cooks them with fat back and adds a little sugar at the end. The cornbread was awesome too. I ate all they gave me and was not even hungry. LOL

So… while I was right there I went to the museum. The owner, developer, manager Paul Bulloch gave me a personal tour. He knew every area of the museum; he had purchased or received each item personally. He has each area of the museum dedicated to specialties of the area such as hog killing, making sausage, food processing (canning), sugar cane processing making syrup, trackers and implements, etc. It was overwhelming. He has the largest collection of barb wire in the world!  I did not even know all barb wire was not the same. Let alone that there are over 300 varieties. The most impressive attribute is his commitment to teach children. He used to have all the schools in the area come for an outing but the cutbacks cut field trips. He offers hog killing in the winter and a camp in the spring. During this year’s camp scheduled for April 18 – 20 they will milk cows, visit a unique chicken farm and numerous other activities. He has cabins for them to stay and a large classroom for projects and instruction. He recently finished a book titled “Peaches of Georgia”. I purchased a copy for interest, sharing and to donate to the work to provide a place to learn of times past in a special way.

Armed with registrations from the farm and a menu from Daisy tucked safely away to give to the parents at church, I headed out to find Warm Springs. Charlie had given me careful directions and there are signs along the way. Arriving in Warm Springs I stopped rather early in my journey. There were many people milling around the buildings and on the sidewalks.  I asked what was going on and they assured me it was the southern fried chicken available at the Bulloch house restaurant. Most had already eaten and were ‘walking it off’. I asked about the frequent bikes I observed turning down an alley. They said there was a Harley store there. So, I walked down. While it is not a Harley Davidson store, it is a leather store that has beautiful leather and other paraphernalia at reasonable pricing. The other attraction in the area was motorcycle museum. But, the owner was like a carnival ‘hawker’ so I declined.  J. In the parking lot there were at least 50 bikes of which most were Harley. I did see a CanAm trike. Then, as I walked around the rest of the alley which turned and joined the main street of town around the corner I was passed by numerous bikes. The most memorable was two ladies each riding a non-Harley smaller bike without skill. And, to top it off there was a car going out the alley the opposite way. He had moved way to the left to not crowd me. It totally confused the ladies, so I stopped, stepped out of the way; they came around on the wrong side of the road very cautiously and NOT smiling. It was an opportunity to pray for them!

Once on the main street I saw a vegetable/fruit street vendor so I ventured that way. I took pictures of a very old house with the southern style porch and rocking chairs. The young man overseeing the cart was about 22 years old and very knowledgeable of where his items came from. I bought local oninons and the rest was from Florida. He was so delightful to offer to keep my items until I drove back that way on the road to Pine Mountain to finally locate Calloway Gardens.  He ran them across the street for me and placed each bag (4) carefully in the RV. I thanked him and noticed the cross he was wearing. We spoke for a moment about the Christian Motorcycle club that was visiting in town and then back to work for him.

I finally arrived in Pine Mountain though for a while I thought the GPS system was hopelessly lost.  J. The address I had did not reveal Calloway Gardens. I stopped at a grocery store and while buying Georgia raw peanuts, I spoke with a young man working in the produce section. He laughed and said, “ya, tht is likely one of the grandkids homes.” He then directed me the remaining 2 miles and the garden property is huge! I first came to a part that sits on the lake, then a golf course, cabins, tennis courts, a lodge and miles of bike trails.  By this time, it was after 1500 and I decided it was too late to ride. I headed home and stopped at the good sized Ingles market in Woodbury, which is just 7 miles or so from my Inn. It would have been about 7 miles anyway if I had gone to the Inn and then went downtown to Ingles, WalMart or Piggly Wiggly in downtown Thomaston. And this store was nice with a lot of variety.

This was truly a great day just being in God’s creation. Thank you Father.

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