Listening and Stories: Sharing our World

A Day at the Farm: Stories On Saturday, October 19th, folks gathered at the Matthews Living Historic Farm Museum for its annual Apple Harvest Day. Though slightly on the chilly side, with a bit of sprinkles thrown in, we hosted a steady stream of people of all ages from infants to geezers coming and going throughout the day. Musicians positioned themselves on the porch of the log cabin, and played traditional mountain tunes while people visited and caught up on neighborly news and gossip.

Among the attractions, stirring the apple butter kettle and cranking the cider press was an all-day affair, with people taking turns at each station. Several tents were set up, representing fiber art, folk painting, cheese-making demonstrations, Independence Farmers Market, and Blue Ridge Discovery Center.

The Farm Museum’s tent offered some home-made chili and sweets along with shirts and caps for sale.

 For me (as one of the founders of BRDC and a huge fan of the Matthews State Forest and its cousin, the Farm Museum) I relish the opportunity to share in community events, making connections, joining in the fun, and meeting new people.

BRDC's displays always include critters and/or critter parts, found objects such as nests, bones, feathers, Native American artifacts, interesting rocks; and a plethora of field guides for the inquisitive.

We attempt to answer questions, but of equal value, we enjoy the stories people bring with them.

On Saturday I listened to one tale about coyotes’ behavioral attitudes toward the domestic dog...and the other way around…and the resultant, and not always pleasant conflicts.

A young man stopped by to talk about his hunting issues with chattering squirrels alerting the entire forest of his coordinates.

I responded by telling him about my recent studies of the skill of becoming familiar with or faithful to a place in the woods, (such as a hunter would in his blind or tree stand), to the degree that the squirrels and birds would also become familiar with the hunter.

Patience of this order produces results for both the hunter and the nature observer.

Most importantly, we all have stories.

Through membership within the community, be it our church, school, benevolence club, the local grange, hunting club, farmers market; as well as these great seasonal events such as this harvest day, we have multiple opportunities to get together, share our time, resources and stories.

We find common ground, create and extend our neighborhood, become closer and more familiar…familiar in the sense of belonging to one another in lasting, significant ways.

Listening to one another is the key to nurturing our bit of heaven here in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Scott Jackson-Ricketts

President, BRDC