This Thanksgiving we are thankful for our family, for the land, rain, sun, Caree, Joe and Meagan who helped in growing the food that has sustained us for the past season. We are also thankful for so many wonderful folks in our community who work so hard at the food pantry that is currently assisting 60 families a couple times each month! We are thankful for the shorter days and cool weather that gives our soil and us a rest renewing our energy for another year of production.As is tradition on our farm, our thanksgiving meal is at least 80% local (and most all of it from the farm), complete with a spinach salad, stuffing, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed swiss chard and pumpkin pie! The things we purchased that were not local include: olive oil, butter, flour, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, yeast.Another Thanksgiving tradition the last several years has been spent with my parents and each year we certainly look forward to and enjoy their visit. We try to do something “touristy” and so this year we spent the day at the gorgeous Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Martha Kirkpatrick’s family was settled in Cataloochee when the government purchased the land so her family ended up being forced out then settling here in our Spring Creek community. The Caldwell house in Cataloochee was built by her grandfather. Martha has since passed on, but to this day her family does not trust the government, which I can’t blame them after what happend!One day the government (a representative from the NC Division of Soil and Water Conservation) came to Spring Creek to take soil samples so their soil maps could be updated. Alvin, Martha’s husband, would not allow the fellow on his property to soil sample his farm fields. Alvin’s distrust lead him to believe that the government wanted his land because he had good soil. I don’t blame him after Martha’s family was evicted from Cataloochee. If you need interesting internet cruising, check out the amazing soil maps of North Carolina. We happened to have found the map from 1936 in the old farmhouse and it is very interesting because the soils back in 1936, on this farm, are the same type as they are today. Much of the land in NC has been developed since 1936 so today a large proportion of the soil types on NC Soil maps would be blocked out since areas have been developed!I am certainly THANKFUL that the government (we the people) owns places like the Great Smoky Mountain National Park because developers don’t know when to stop buying and building, and so much of the land here in the mountains has turned into gated communities, so we need places protected. We hope that someday this farm is preserved – so a developer can’t build a gated community on it – we hope the tillable land here continues to feed our local population for centuries to come!