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Sunday, May 31, 2009

JINKS TRADING POST

TRADING POST WITH WOOD FOLK ART DEER ON PORCH ROOF AND OLD PEPSI TIN SIGN ON THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING

Travel the paved lanes of Red Lick Road in Estill County, Kentucky and you will experience absolutely beautiful woodland and farm countryside. Here many families have ancestors that go back several generations. Generations that have been, for the most part, tobacco growers on fertile bottomland along Red Lick Creek. Surrounding the bottom lands are the forested mountains of Appalachia. Here I found some interesting structures from the past. One being the Jinks Tradin' Post.

CONVERSATION BENCHES AWAIT VOICES ON THE FRONT PORCH WHILE THE CONCRETE BLOCKS ARE SEEN RUNNING THEIR DESIGN COURSE ON THE FACADE

Jinks sits alone as a commercial store at the corner of Red Lick Road and Jenkins Branch Road. Across the road is the Beech Grove Church and running along the road frontage are perhaps a cluster of ten older and not-so-old homes. Barns and outbuilding intermingle between the homes. For the most part it is an open area along the bottoms that not only hold these few homes but the long gouge of earth that is called Red Lick Creek.

LOOK CLOSELY AT THE ROOF OF THE PORCH -- THERE IS A LARGE WOODEN FOLK ART DEER PLAYING THE PART OF A RUNNING DEER

The trading post appears to be no longer in operation. I do not know who the owner was or is, when it was closed, or for that matter how long the trading post was in operation. I can tell you that the building was built in the early 1900s as the concrete block construction used was the type used during that time frame. The concrete block has a face design and this is the tell tale sign of its age. Concrete block with a face pattern was made of cement in a special machine that molded it into hollow blocks. Machines were brought to the building site and the blocks were made on the spot. Places like Sears and Roebuck sold the machines to the home or store builders. After the 1930s this method went out of fashion.

JINKS OUTHOUSE

The trading post appears to be in good repair. Its outhouse symbolizes no indoor plumbing to me. Tobacco farming on a large scale is no longer done in the area. Unfortunely, small country stores that served the locals have closed and some are even falling in on themselves. At one time they were a traditional part of the rural community.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

OUTHOUSE, WASH LINE, AND BARN

VIEWING SITES IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
ESTILL COUNTY, KENTUCKY

CRAWDAD "CHIMNEY"

CRAWDAD "CHIMNEY" HOLE
Walking across Barbara and Lester's lawn out in the Red Lick, Kentucky area, I noticed a cone shaped mud heap. It looked like a chimney being built by some child on a sandy beach. I asked Barbara about the "chimney" and she said that it was a crawdad hole. Crawdad hole, I thought, never heard of the critter. I took a photo of the foot high and 6 inches across "chimney". Hmm -- I thought -- I'm going to find out what the heck kind of animal builds these things.

So after seeing the "chimney" in the lawn I left Red Lick for home to gather info.

CRAYFISH/CRAWDAD
Soon I found out that a crawdad is the same as a crayfish. Now, I know what a crayfish is -- years ago my then eight year son introduced me to one when he stuck one in my face and said, "look what I found."

For the sake of simplicity as I express what info I found, I will be using crawdad to mean both crawdad and crayfish.

I believe that the kind of crawdad hole I saw in the Red Lick lawn would be classified as a grassland crawdad. In North America there are over 250 different species of crawdads that are important to our environment. Actually, as always with mother nature, everything has a design.

-- Crawdads live where the water is not polluted.
-- If you have crawdads in your immediate area you have clean water.
-- Crawdads are omnivorous scavengers.
-- They provide food for predators such as raccoons, turtles, frogs, snakes and fish. .
-- Crawdads have gills to breathe with.
--Grassland crawdads burrow down to the water table so they can breathe with their gills.
--Crawdads have symbiotic relationships with many animals, like snakes -- providing their burrows to them for safety or hibernation during the winter.

MASSASAUGA RATTLESNAKE FOUND IN SOUTHWEST U.S.
In Illinois the Kirkland snake is threatened and in the southwest the same for the Massasauga rattlesnake as habitat is developed or water area's drained. Crawdads become few in areas of development or from land drained of water -- thus loss of habitat for some animals as the burrows disappear.

As with all of nature one link leads to another and all is important to the health of the natural community.

Information on crawdads was found at:
http://www.chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/summer2000/crayfish.html

Monday, May 25, 2009

KENTUCKY SLAVE QUARTERS

J. M. WATKINS AT HIS HOME BUSINESS WORKSHOP NEAR PAINT LICK

Not everyone gets to live in a slave quarters when they are young and impressionable. But J. M. Watkins did and he has always wondered about the old stone place ever since. J.M. is 73, and of course did not live during this blight on our country's history. So that is why he wonders about the place -- who did it belong to and when and why near Paint Lick, Kentucky?

CURRENT MODEL A GETTING NEW UPHOLSTERING

J.M. still tends to his business of 50 years -- upholstering collectible and vintage cars. I talked to him at his home workshop as he filled me in on the local history of Gerrard County and the slave house as he called it.

SLAVE QUARTERS -- COURSED RUBBLE MASONRY, CIRCA EARLY 1800s
GABLE END ELEVATION -- #1

As J.M. tells the story, his family moved into the place when he was a young boy and lived there with a large pack of siblings for about ten years. He told how there were always rumors about the place -- that it was a slave house. He and his siblings found leg shackles fastened to the floor in the basement. Although it was a rumor -- that his home was slave quarters at one time -- the large iron shackles in the basement cemented the notion with him that it was indeed true.

ALTHOUGH PHOTO IS FAR FROM PERFECT ONE CAN STILL MANAGE SOME DETAIL.
GABLE END ELEVATION -- #2 --EACH GARBLE END HAD INTERIOR FIREPLACE CONSTRUCTION.

Researching Murray-Wooley and Lancaster two experts on historic architecture, I found that slave quarters similar in construction and building design existed in early Kentucky about the late 1700s and early 1800s. The early stone construction of J.M.'s slave house would place it in the same time period.

I agree with Mr. Watkins that the house was probably a slave quarters at one time and my research would date it to around the early 1800s, but now I am asking myself why was it located near Paint Lick??? I plan on following this story up with more information gathering. The place was demolished in 1993. An original limestone quarry stone was taken from the slave quarters "house" demolition and given to Mr. Watkins for memory sake by a family member.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

COUNTRY FRIENDSHIP

J. M. Watkins and Ike Burnnet at Rick's restaurant

Two older men sit over coffee at Rick's restaurant. They meet there almost every morning to talk about any subject that comes into their minds. They banter easily and J. M. declares that Ike is his best buddy after his wife Dottie. Both met later in life in the village of Paint Lick. Their talk with each other seems to have a sense of dimension that is known only to them. Smiles and soft laughs are part of the friendship.

Old sitting bench with rusty metal advertising back; ad is for Rainbo bread. It is in front of Rick's restaurant for "easy" conversation.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship. ~~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

ALL I WANT ARE MY TOMATOES



When I was in my teens I grew flowers. When I was a young adult I grew everything I thought I needed to survive and to view. Now, as an older adult (polite way of saying an old lady) I just want to grow my organic Brandywine tomatoes.

So this Thursday, Mike the tiller will open up a patch 18X10 feet or more and I will jam in all eight tomato plants that I bought at the Berea College's Farm's Organic Vegetable sale. I always have started my own tomato plants in the past but now wanted to support the Berea Ag students that run the sale.

The eight plants will only take up about half of this very small garden. So what do I plant in the remainder? I bring out all my saved seeds and put them on the table to contemplate who will be chosen to reside in the remaining space of my small patch.

Geez, I realize I have enough seeds to plant an acre (or more!).

After much deliberation I finally select the winners. And the winners -- all flowers. Do you think its just an unconscious desire to be a teen again-- wanting to just grow flowers? Teen-hood is not a bad idea physically -- but surely not mentally! But I do have my tomatoes so it's not all flowers. I guess I'm safe mentally.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

SPRING GARDENS

Beautiful gardens are popping up all over the landscape in central Kentucky. Above the tomatoes are set out and staked and the beans, cold crops and other vegetables have pushed up out of the soil. There has been lots of rain so the gardens are off to a good start!

RURAL KENTUCKY FOLK OIL PAINTING

OVERALL VIEW OF FOLK ART OIL

SECTION OF THE FOLK ART OIL -- BARN AREA

SECTION OF THE FOLK ART OIL -- LOG HOUSE AREA

Contemporary folk art oil of early rural farm in Kentucky. Dimensions are 3 feet by 2 feet. Title wrote on bottom of canvas "Living on the Farm." Also signed with artist's signature -- Edna Simpson. Canvas on frame. Found in central Kentucky at a second hand shop, 2009.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

FORGOTTEN PEOPLE -- HARRY SAIER, SEEDSMAN

TULIPS IN BLOOM AT THE SAIER FARM SOMETIME IN THE 1950s

seedsman: one who deals in seeds

One of the several places that I have lived is in the state of Michigan. Stories can be found no matter where you live -- about folks and the environment. This story is about a man and his apparent love of seeds. It is a story about the loss of a fascinating thread that was once woven into a local culture.

Outside of Lansing, Michigan is an old farmstead that once belonged to a dynamic seedsman by the name of Harry Saier. His home and the outbuildings still exist on the property however Harry doesn't and neither does his seed company. Unfortunately, I do not know when Mr. Saier died but I do know that he began his seed business on that farmstead in 1911.

About thirty years ago, I became aware that there had been a seed business at a Dimondale country place outside of Lansing when a friend of mine bought the property and contents of Saier's estate. His beautiful, two-story, brick Victorian home was brimming with antiques that were quickly sold to an antique dealer.

My friend invited me out to her newly acquired place where I marveled at the serene beauty of the farm. She commented that the former owner had been a seedsman and that the estate had been tied up in court for quite awhile.

What I found most interesting was the barn. Especially the second floor of the early, Pennsylvania-type forebay, barn. On the second floor were stacks of wooden folding seed cases that were used to display seed packets in stores. There were hundreds of them! All were in excellent shape, had great patina, Saier's logo imprinted, and were about four feet by three feet in size with flat backs that folded out. I instantly could visualize one on my kitchen wall filled with a collection of old seed packs. My friend had an offer on the table from someone who would buy all the cases for $15.00 each. I offered her $60.00 for two and she quickly took me up on it.


HIS CATALOG LIST OF RARE SEEDS FOR MAIL ORDER SALES

HIS CATALOG LIST FOR THE OVER 5000 TYPES OF SEEDS HE OFFERED

Today, as I sit in my home in Kentucky, I look at his brown seed packs on my Saier seed shelf and wonder about the man's life. Intrigued from the aspect of how could a man so prolific in his seed offerings become a ghost of a figure today? Very little is known about Harry and his seed business. Below I have gathered what few characteristics I could find about the man and his commerce:
-- that he began his seed business in 1911.
-- that he used two different names for his seed company, Saier Seeds and Pioneer Seeds.
-- that he was still in business about the 1950s.
-- when he aged he sold all his plant inventory to two young men from California.
-- that the young men who bought the inventory became the J.L. Hudson seed company.
-- that he printed his own newsprint-type of catalog.
-- that he imported seeds from all over the world.
-- that he carried over 5000 different kinds of seeds.
-- that he sold bulbs.
-- that his seeds were sold both in local stores and by mail order,
-- that he specialized in rare seeds.
--that he also sold plants and trees.
-- that he lived alone later in life.

OLD TIN SIGN OF THE SAIER SEED BUSINESS -- LANSING POST OFFICE MAILING ADDRESS, BUT CONDUCTED BUSINESS IN DIMONDALE, MICHIGAN

My daughter found this sign in a Lansing antique shop many years ago. I always thought it was wonderful. Lucky for me that she decided to give up the sign this year. I became the happy recipient of it!

ORIGINAL SEED MATERIAL FROM THE SAIER FARM GIVEN TO ME BY WORKERS

In the early 2000s I heard the farm, house and all, was sold to a company that turned the property into a cemetery. When hearing about the sale I was once again living in Michigan. I decided to stop in to see if there were any remnants of Saier's business about the property. I ran into two young, wonderful workers that told the sad story of how one outbuilding was full of Mr. Saier's old records which had been sent off to a landfill. They also told me of an old printing machine that Mr Saier used to roll off his self-designed catalogs. The printer also ended up in a landfill.

Luckily, one of the young men saved some of the seed packs along with duplicate copies of one of Saier's catalogs. Not a scrap was left in any of the building to indicate that there was once a thriving seed business located there. Then, he told me to wait a minute. He ducked into one of the buildings and walked out with some things in his hands which he gave to me. A newsprint catalog, some small cloth sacks, and some brown seed packs. "No one has shown any interest in this man except you so you should have these," he said.

As I read through his catalog offerings I realized that Harry Saier was an early heirloom seed saver and could easily be at the forefront of the movement if he were alive today.


SAIER'S SMALL ARTICLE HE WROTE IN HIS CATALOG.

Yet, today he has joined the ranks of the man he wrote about in the only catalog that I have of his (see article above). Harry Saier wrote -- "the writer did not sign his name, otherwise I would have recorded it, 55 years after! What changes occur in 55 years! How easily we are forgotten in the course of 55 years!"