Monday, August 25, 2008

Bountiful Harvest in North Carolina

My parents house in NC (near Murphy) holds a lot of special memories for my family over the years. They live full-time in Atlanta, but have had this house for over 20 years now and spend most of the summer up there. Our family spent so much time in NC when we were growing up, that my parents decided to build themselves a mountain house all those years ago, a place to get away from the rat-race of Atlanta, traffic, pollution, and too many people. This is the perfect spot for that. I'm so blessed to still have my parents healthy and living life to the fullest. They are gardeners and have been my whole life. I can't remember a time when we didn't have fresh vegetables every summer, the fruit of their labor, not mine. In restrospect, I've done very little in that garden over the years, but I sure have enjoyed it. I appreciate it so much more now that I'm older and realize all the work that goes into it. My parents always share their harvest with me and my sister and anyone else that they come in contact with, when there is extra to share.
It's not a fancy house, but a cozy and warm house filled with love. Our family enjoys gathering here whenever we can, especially this time of year when the garden's bounty is coming in full force. Since I don't live close enough anymore to drop by and pick up vegetables whenever I want, we had a great time filling the car up with fresh veggies from their garden to bring home with us to enjoy.
These were already picked and waiting on the porch when we got there. Me and my hubby, Peter and my sister and her hubby came up for a few days and really had a great time. You might remember from my post last year about this mountain house....we eat a lot! And boy, did we!
My sweet dad's favorite place to sit on the porch is in his swing. That and his full length lounge chair. He has taken many naps on this porch over the years. The temperatures here are usually 10 degrees less than Atlanta during the summer.
This is the scenery surrounding their house, full of mountain laurel and rhododendrun. It's beautiful in the spring too, as well as fall.
Coming around to the porch from the driveway, these steps lead up to the porch. Outside, this little creek runs in their frontyard. They've had such a drought this year that the creek is running the lowest EVER since they've been going up there. Hopefully the rains will increase and this little creek will be gushing again.
My dad is really a farmer and loves to raise his vegetables every year. I think this is what has kept them so active, healthy, and in shape over the years. Not to mention, it's so healthy to raise and eat your own food. They are a testament to that. They have quite a spread and a wonderful garden spot. He had to put up a fence this year to keep out the deer. First time they've had such a problem with them, but he got really tired of them eating all his beans and corn, so up went the fence. I'll show you more of the garden later.
They also have huge blueberry bushes that he planted when the house was built and they produce a ton of blueberries. It's such a treat to go and pick them off the bushes. My hubby really enjoys picking berries.
They were afraid that the berries would be giving out by the time we got up there this year, but you can see that wasn't a problem. They are oh-so-sweet too! These will be great on my raisin bran every morning and freeze well too. We picked this whole pan full to bring home.

More pretty scenery around their house, these native ferns are always so gorgeous and grow on the back hillside behind the house.
Another shot of the creek.
I think I mentioned that my family really, really likes to eat those fresh veggies. This is our meals while we were there. All of this is out of their garden. It just doesn't get any better than this, people!
Man o man, was it delicious! We all ate like pigs. My mama is the BEST Southern cook and could seriously open her own restaurant. Of course, she has taken care of all of us forever and wouldn't have time for that. You can see here from left, the black-eyed peas, pole beans, and zipper peas. Zipper peas are my absolute fave!
I got out one morning to a little area near them that has some antique stores and browsed around.
This little house is right down the road from them and we call it the rock house. Always have loved it.
A mama cat and kittens from next door have taken up with my parents. My mama is a soft touch and will feed them. They have another cat at home who adopted them too. He comes around for a good meal and can count on my mom to feed him.
Saturday's breakfast was a hash brown quiche with blueberry pancakes and bacon.
Oh, and fresh fruit too. Can you say yum?! I know you are jealous about now. I don't blame you, I would be too. Here's my plate...go ahead and hate me now!
After breakfast, me and my sister and BIL took off across the road where they are building new mountain homes right on top of the mountain. Nice walk uphill to see this view.
And these mountain houses.
This one was situated very nicely with a gorgeous view.
My sister's dog, Holly, was along for the walk and had a ball.
More pretty mountain scenes.
Nothing prettier than the mountains of NC.
Another huge house was going in. We got to walk in this one & it had a really nice view too.
This one was $300K. Not too shabby.
While we were walking, mom and dad and Peter picked in the garden.
We brought home one of these home grown watermelons, which were delish. My dad cut one open one day we were there.
If you've never had home grown tomatoes, I just can't tell you what you are missing! Store bought doesn't even taste like a real tomato. These are the absolute BEST tomatoes you will ever put in your mouth. Hello Better Boy!
Holly had a ball running through the rows.
Fresh Okra ready to come home and hop in the frying pan.
Dad picking
Hubby picking peas, he loves all this garden stuff too.
Mom picking zipper peas. My sister and I were talking about how our mama works circles around us and she's 80. We can't hold a candle to that woman!
Back inside their house, this is the greatroom. Dad builds a big fire in that stove in the winter to really heat the place up. And of course, he has to have his large TV up there for entertainment.
Many a family gathering has been had here in this greatroom. It's nothing fancy either, but it's home to us.
My mom doesn't mind recycling at all. I had these lamps in my first apartment in 1978 (can that really be 30 years ago?!). Earth tones were all the rage then. Did I tell you she's not into decorating? They work fine and look good in this mountain house, so she'll probably get another 30 years out of them.
You may remember I helped my mom pick out some new things for one of the bathrooms up there and here is the finished project. New paint, shower curtain, and a mountain scene border. It turned out very nice & looks so much better than the old peach and blue that was in here.
This kitchen has cooked many meals! We went in together one year and got her the dishwasher for the mountain house. She still doesn't use the dishwasher all the time, just can't get the hang of putting the dishes in there, filling it up and then washing them all later. She's afraid she'll need something that's dirty. When we're all up here though, she uses it.
This porch has held many visitors and family over the years and is a cool spot to relax on. Lots of conversations and laughter are heard on this porch. I perched on that lounger.
This is my family heritage....a profound faith in God. We weren't rich, but we sure are rich in blessings with our parents. I couldn't ask for better.
The vegetables are kept on the back porch for easy pickings.
This is the harvest that was picked just that one morning. We brought home some of all of this and I'll be busy cooking up some fresh veggies this week. Hope you all enjoyed going along with us to the mountains of NC. It's a pretty place and a slower pace of life, one that is needed often these days.

I'll get back to answering more of your questions later on. Some of them were more detailed and I may need some pics to illustrate, so stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for more design dilemmas. We can all get in on the action. And I've got a whole post on decorating mantels that will be up soon.

Excuse me while I go have another 'mater sandwich!

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77 friends stopped by:

Brown-Eyes said...

Hi Ms. Rhoda...Your wonderful post today just oozes love, peace, joy and contentment. That groaning board of fabulous food makes me hanker for an invite to your mom & dad's home...LOL ;-) Bo

Anonymous said...

Ooooh what a bounty! I couldn't do without my fresh veggies. My parents always had a garden when we kids were at home too. Hubby and I have SMALL ones. Just tomatoes, cukes and peppers this year. Next year we plan to add beans and corn. You and Peter should do that - at least tomato plants! We have many, many veggie meals - along with a bit of cornbread! LOL


paintergal said...

OK, now I'm hungry!
What a great place. Your parents are so fortunate to live there.
I know what you mean about your workhorse of a mom. Mine is the same way!

Jen said...

I loved this. True Southern Hospitality....I loved looking at all the fresh veggies. I started my first garden this year and love it..almost addicting. I love this mountain home. So great. You should post the quiche recipe sometime for the inquiring minds....enjoy your day!

Marie said...

WOW! I can't get over that garden! Everything looks so yummy. I'll admit I hovered over those pancakes and quiche photos a lot longer than I should have! I love NC... how wonderful your parents have a home there!

Mom on the Run said...

It's official--those are the best looking tomatoes I've seen in years. And I'm so jealous of the zipper peas--we've been buying them every week at the farmer's market and there weren't any this week!

My grandparents were big gardeners--I always say that my grandma didn't do needlework or anything like that, so we don't have any "stuff" from her, but the memory her love of the first tomato and her beautiful flowers is better than any "thing". You are blessed.

Bonita said...

After viewing this post I feel like I've just been on a family vacation myself! What a lovely family and such a beautiful place in the mountains to enjoy them. That garden is something else. Wow! Somebody works hard! I couldn't help but notice that the green peppers are sitting in the same blue pans we used to use when I was a labor and delivery nurse. We put water and soap in them to wash women's bottoms just prior to the baby being born. I had to chuckle when I saw their new use. Where did they get them?

duchess said...

What a wonderful trip and being from NC I must second your comments - the NC mountains are the best place for beautiful views and personal recharging.
The fresh veggies look delish too.

Twice as Nice said...

All the food and veggies looked yummy. Nothing better than getting together with family and I'll bet that mountain air was fresh. The views were breath taking. So relaxing too. That's what I call a weekend get away. Twin2

a day in the life of bella said...

I enjoyed the trip, that is a beautiful spot there, isn't it? I love your parents' dinner plates, the brown and gold ones :)

When my parents left the big city for country life, I was surprised to see what great gardeners that they have become. And my stepdad makes it even prettier with these branch 'cages' he builds for the tomatoes. It's really gorgeous, I need to take pics.

I wish I had all of that bounty on my table, you really have some yummy stuff there :)


At Home Redesigns said...

Wow! What a bounty in many ways. So nice to read this...

Steph said...

Oh I just love the mountans of NC! We have some land in Sylva and one day plan to build something up there!
That food is making me hungry! Nothing like a homegrown tomato!

CraftyT said...

Oh my. What a wonderful retreat. I am envious of your parents garden. What a wonderful treat to be able to step out your back down and supply yourself with wonderful food.

I hope to have a garden started next year,though not one as beautiful as thiers ;)

Your parents looks awsome and I agree that hard work helps you stay young
Take Care

Jen r. said...

Wow, that is a dream place! Organic blueberries, watermelons and all of that yummy food! I'd be in heaven! Jen R

Cyndy said...

Oh my, what a wonderful garden!!!!! I would love to take a walk down those rows with a great big basket! I had never even heard of zipper peas until yesterday at church a sweet little lady was telling me about them. And now I read about them in your post. I may have to check those out!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

All of those photos are so beautiful and restful...but my favorite one is of your dad on the porch swing. :)

Krista ~ Bits and pieces said...

OH MY GOODNESS~ that is some bounty. I must get me some tomatoes today~ becuase I know that I will be craving a tomatoe sandwich for the rest of the day. YUMMY

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Rhoda~ this is wonderful. It brings back so many memories!

Southern Hospitality at it's best!

Gollum said...

A 'mater sandwich is ambrosial, one step up from a Southerner's beloved mayonnaise sandwich. lol Loved this tour of your family's NC cabin, with the pictures of your sweet Mom and Dad. Thank you for the advice about my table. I will try the marine varnish and see how that works before the (inevitable) move. You'd asked about the zebra stool. I saw it at Big Lots a month ago. They had several. Also, they had some really gorgeous furniture, including a long, chocolate leather bench for $299--the bench looked like something out of Veranda, something that would cost twice that. I couldn't get over the leather. I didn't have a place for it anywhere, so I tried to get my brother to buy it, but he couldn't wrap his head around the $299. Big Lots also had all of their garden stuff on sale, including a handsome black iron trellis and a wooden arbor. And outdoor rugs! They were on sale, too! Happy shopping, gollum

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Oh, how lovely...and yummy! I adored the tour of your parents' mountain home. The creek, the garden, ferns and stones, berry bushes, scenes from meals...can I come next time?! :) Faith & family--that's where true value lies. So glad you enjoyed a wonderful visit!


Donna said...

Hi Rhoda,
What a bountiful harvest! And a beautiful place where your parents live. I can tell you had a wonderful time.

The food looks so YUMMY, especially your breakfast!

I love tomato sandwiches, in fact, hubby and I just had one on the weekend.


Reynie said...

I love Murphy! I have a family member who has a cabin up there and we go once a year. The air seems so much fresher up there! There is a flea market near by that we always venture out to. I got a few good deals there last year.

And I LOVE the veggies! So yummy!

SASSY said...

The food, the food...oh, the fresh garden food. There really is nothing like it. Hubby and I are hoping to start a garden next year. I enjoyed the tour - lovely. That is definitely a place I would yearn to visit all the time!

nikkicrumpet said...

Your parents are just too dang adorable. I love how much energy they still have. And they have created such a warm and welcoming home. How lucky you and your family are to have such a loving bond....and GREAT FOOD TOO!

carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

I really enjoyed that! And the food pics made my mouth water! What great family time together!
reminded me so much of my own family and home.

Ms. Tee said...

What a great post - isn't it so great to spend time with the ones you love like that? And I just love that all the food was lovingly grown and prepared by your parents. :)

Liz said...

How wonderful! Have you seen Dan in Real Life? Your post totally reminds me of his family... So Sweet!

The Berry's Patch said...

Wow Rhoda,

The views were just breath taking. It's so nice to meet your parents. What a wonderful garden they have. The meals look like they're for kings and queens.

Brandee :-)

PamperingBeki said...

I like you too much to hate you, but good lawdy mercy that food looks amazing!! I am so jealous and hungry now. :)

Anonymous said...

WOW! Rhoda this was a beautiful trip. I am so glad that you shared all of this today. How fabulous it is that your family has such a wonderful heritage that has left lasting impressions upon you and kept you all so close. The fresh veggies and the homecooked meals were just too much! I am starving now. Thrilled that you had a beautiful and safe trip.
Have a great week!~Jen

AJ said...

What a great photo tour. I felt like I was there. And who knew food could be so beautiful:)

KARIN said...

Wow. I have no idea where to even start. Rhoda, I guess yu know how fortunate you are to be a part of all that. what a wonderful family you have, with all the fun history and spending time together on your mountain. That garden is amazing, as is the energy your parents put forth in planting. I have 12 tomato plants and I thought I was doing great. Your parents remind me of my in-laws who are 78 and 83 and just like your parents. They can grow anythign adn cook it better than anyone. I loved your post. Truly enjoyed it.

countrygirl3031 said...

Oh my Ms. Rhoda...I am so jealous. That food is to die for..absolutely delish looking! I would have gained 20 pounds. And mater sandwich...I eat them all the time!!!


Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Hi again Rhoda! Just wanted to say thank you for adding me to your blog list! :) I am so excited that anyone but me wants to read what I have to say!

joan said...

Hi Rhoda,

I loved this post. All that food looks so wonderful but your love for your family really shines through. That is so great that you all have a place to go and relax and just enjoy being with each other.

Twice as Nice said...

Oh, how funny! YES, we are twins. We are planning on introducing ourselves Sat. with a party and a give away. Before we had a blog we were twin6045 and twintoo10292. Hope you can join us and get to know us a little better :o) Twin 1

Paula said...

Hi Miss Rhoda~
I adore your blog and read it like it's my job! We, too, have a mountain house (in the mountains of Pennsylvania) but keep the gardening at our "real" home, only on a much smaller scale.

There really is nothing else like escaping to the mountains and forgetting real life for a while, is there?

Thanks for sharing your life with us. :)

justabeachkat said...

Okay, I hate you! Not really, but I do envy you. What a wonderful treat to have parents who garden and share with you. I'd love some of ALL of it. I love zipper peas too and tomatoes and corn and blueberries. Etc., etc., etc. What time is dinner? I'll make the cornbread and sweet tea.


Amanda said...

WOW! excuse me while I wipe the drool off the keyboard- those veggies look amazing! what a blessing to be able to go into your own backyard and pick dinner. There is nothing better than that. AND her food looks AMAZING! How wonderful to be able to have such a great family-and all those special memories! Thanks for sharing!

Sue said...

You are absolutely correct....there's NOTHING as good as fresh vegetables. I enjoyed seeing all your pictures and I know that your parents are so happy to have these for you to enjoy. You said your mom can outwork you at 80..that's a blessing!!

Mrs. Jones said...

What a beautiful home! It is very similar to the home my husband grew up in, on a lake in Indiana. His father even built it himself.


Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Oh Rhoda, that is exactly how I and my famiy feel about our upnorth cottage get-a-way place. If hubby and I even mention selling the place our girls go nuts!! Memories, Love, Warmth, Family, Christ. What else is there in life? *Sigh* nothing else that I can think of!



dec0r8or said...

Holy Moly! Look at all those veggies! And the goodness! What a wonderfully bountiful harvest. The food pictures were killing me earlier today. I would have posted here around lunch time, but after reading your blog, I had to go eat! I wish my pizza had been quiche instead! LOL!

Mrs. B said...

Hi Rhoda! Home grown tomatoes are one of my favorite treats of summer! I just love them. Your family mountain home looks very cozy and relaxing. It reminds me a little of our family vacation home at Lake Tahoe, very homey and so relaxing!

Happy @ Home said...

Hi Rhoda,

You lucky lady. I am green with envy. I would love to have my own gardens like that, but since I don't I would be thrilled to be the recipient of such luscious goodness.

Oh, and that breakfast - to die for.

Looks just perfect.


Jillian, Inc. said...

I can tell how much love and fun has been shared in that house. I loved seeing all of those VEGGIES, Rhoda. My favorite thing to eat. I could go without meat forever, but can't live without my veggies. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

Hello Rhoda, Looks like a wonderful trip. Glad you had a great time. Your parents are so blessed to still have each other and they seem to be in good health. Blessings, Nancy

sarah @ a beach cottage said...

oh my goodness Rhoda, such wonderful pictures, love the bounty of nature, that makes me sure glad I started a little veggie garden, I just went out there to see how mine were getting on...woo hoo for garden produce!

how wonderful for your parents to live in such a fabulous area surrounded by heaven like that and the mountain air must do so much to refresh, oh and good for the soul

so glad you posted those...


Debbie @ said...

Hi Miss Rhoda, love your post about your sweet parents. Love those tomatoes, I can almost taste them! What a wonderful family, and their home. I loved all of it!
Blessings, Debbie

Nancy Hood said...

Oh wow, what a beautiful trip you took us on~how I wish I had a place just like that :)

Alyce said...

Rhoda..I loved this I am a country girl from VA. We adore having a garden. My daddy is a farmer and all I've ever known my summers to be is gardening...canning...freezing (putting up). I've got maters now that need to be canned. But..I've never heard of zipper that really just a corn field pea/crowder pea? Aren't pole butter beans the best?? I need to check mine this morning. We had an abundance of much, that I actually had to throw away two buckets of them! Iknow..crushing..but we didn't want to do any more pickle and we just couldn't eat them fast enough. Your peppers were so pretty too. And apples I noticed. We have been picking Red Delicious here for a week. Can't wait for the later ones.
Where exactly is Murphy NC? whats it near..I am not familiar w/ that?

Susie Harris said...

What a wonderful home they have and that food.... I can feel myself wanting to pack my bags and head for home....

Layla said...

Thanks for the 5 star rating on my Design Star audition video over at HGTV Rhoda! I appreciate your support SO much. I'd LOVE to get together sometime and learn about some of the flea market "Hot Spots" in Birmingham!

The Lettered Cottage

pammiejo said...

I'm thinking that this is the life style all of us need to get "back" to. We are all too focused on unnecessary, trivial things in life. To enjoy nature; to reap the bounty of our work; to enjoy family; and to live in harmony with nature - that should be important. Your folks have the right idea!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Rhoda,

So glad you had such a nice time with your family.

You aren't kidding about home grown tomatoes there is such a difference, I'm not certain if my grandparents grew better boys, but I know big boys and early girls. They too ate right from their garden and lived well into their 90's

For the past few years we have been growing tomatoes only but I want to add something else.... maybe cucumbers, I may try garlic which we use tons of.

Nice post,
Kathy :)

Sandi McBride said...

What a wonderful post, Rhoda and a tribute to your folks. I don't think I could live in a city again, really. The country is quiet, wide open spaces are what we crave...your folks place is wonderful! The little Calico Mama Cat is lovely. Holly is a charmer, too! I don't know how you manage to stay away from the Mountains of NC! Your parents have found the fountain of youth there...they don't look or act in their 80's!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. I love all things southern, too! (I'm a Mississippi girl.) I'll be back to explore your blog!-Lorie

Anonymous said...

WOW Rhoda.. that is a wonderful place. I think the best place of all is HOME!!
Thanks for the shot of the blueberry bushes.. I think there are some wild blueberries near my home, and now I know what they are supposed to look like~!

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Hi Rhoda!
How wonderful to visit your family and spend time in my NC mountains....don't you just love it in NC?

The food, the harvest, the cozy mountain home...I really enjoyed my visit with you today!

A Hint of Home said...

What a wonderful place to go and get away from it all.
We go up to Boone, NC just to enjoy 15 degrees of cooler weather in the summer. The mtns. are breathtaking.

Rue said...

Hi Rhoda :)

What a wonderful place to gather... home grown food, comfy home, beauty all around you and the love of your family and that roaring fire to keep you warm. There is nothing in the world better than that :)


Nikki said...

Wow, what a place, and the food looks great!

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Rhoda,
I enjoyed this post. Your love for your family and the simple things in life is so evident in the photos and your writing. You all are so blessed to be able to spend time together in this beautiful setting.

The food looks so good! Has my mouth watering!

Tomorrow I'm going to post my first piece that I painted. If you have a chance, stop by and take a peek. I put a link to your directions in the post.
Have a great day,

Deserae said...

Wow,what a great vacation home your parents have....everyhing is so beautiful! I can't beleive all the wonderful veggies!

Karen Junking in Georgia said...

we have a new house in the NC Mtns. my wish is that it will in time come to mean as much to my family as your Mom and Dad's means to yours.. you are so lucky to have such a great family.. it is clear that you love them a lot.. I have just discovered Southern Hospitality I will return

Mrs. Trixi said...

Oh,Rhoda, what a wonderful story. These are the kinds of memories I am wanting for my children. It's the main reason we got out of the rat race and sold our nice new custom home to move to the country. My husband loves the gardening too.
Thank you for sharing your memories. I have been blessed.

Anonymous said...

I'm suddenly hungry for produce! Neat post.

Becky K. said...

That was awesome. Such a retreat!

I am so thankful for you that your parents are well and thriving.


Becky K.

Ally0005 said...

My mother found your blog and passed it on to me. She loves your ideas and now I do too.
Just wanted you to know that I have now painted my Laundry room or I should say DH did because of your blog and I hung things up that you wouldn't think would go in a laundry room. I also put a chandelier in there. Thanks for the inspiration.

Vanessa said...

Ahhhhhhhhh, what a wonderful post! Reminds me of my parents home here in East Tennessee. All the best.


Leigh said...

Oh, have mercy! I gained 10 pounds just reading. YUMMY! Your fmaily and mine sound much alike. Love your home. You can tell through the pics and your words there is much love and good times in that home. I love stories like that!
A piece of Heaven is what that is.

and the pic of your dad on the swing, priceless.

Cote de Texas said...

Gosh I'm starving now, thanks! haha!! looks like a wonderful place - you're so lucky.


Daisy Cottage said...

A delicious post in EVERY WAY. From the glorious food to your beautiful parents to their perfect home - You ARE so blessed and I am so happy that you are. I loved the photo of your sweet dad on the swing!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Wow...what an abundant crop! just beautiful! Your parents are a marvel. How lucky you are. And boy oh boy would I love a tomato sandwich...right off the vine...on toasted wheat, a tad of butter and mayo and lots of fresh pepper. Oh!

I will live vicariously through you!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Well if this isn't one of the lovliest tours I've seen. Those fesh veggies! That food!! Abodanza!

I've never even heard of zipper peas. Is it because I'm a Yankee? ;-)

And...Your mom is 80?! I hope I look half as good.

GREAT post! Thanks for taking us all home with you!

"Maggie" said...

Oh! I am all about blueberry pancakes and hash brown quiche, I will be right over! The mountain homes are beautiful. My husband and I are trying to decide where to retire and it is a toss up, in the mountains or down south near the ocean. At the moment, the mountains are winning (hurrican Gustav). Only 8 more years to go!

Betsy said...

How do you stay so slim eating that beautiful food. Reminds me of Mom and daddys garden growing up.
How I miss those days. I saw those tomatoes and now I cannot wait until they are in season here, I will fry up a large batch first thing.