Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Goats and Going Local

I can watch the goats play for hours. They like to play follow the leader, king of the mountain, and what's over here. They're really curious creatures and will get into anyting and everything. The kids also like to butt heads with each other. Dominance displays? Competing for alpha female? When they get excited, anxious, or riled up they puff up and the hair along their backs stands up. They also show mounting behavior, too. Lee says bucks start to show it at 24 hours old. I'm really learning all kinds of things about goats. I'm even getting better at hand milking. I don't think I want to do it all the time, but I like the results. The does like it, too. I've made friends with Shalom, the prima donna doe. She likes to come over and be petted. I talk to her and tell her how beautiful she it. She likes to be praised. Don't we all?

Kid sisters.

Going Local:

Where do the locals go on a Saturday night? They go to a little hall off of Old Liberty Road on Williamson Dairy Road. A low slung building huddles on the right side of the road surrounded by pickup trucks, buicks, oldsmobiles, and other large American cars. It is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and when you walk in the door all heads turn and look at you. At least that's what happened when Nathan and I walked through the door at Bluegrass Ridge. We quickly found a pair of seats and took in the scene in front of us. Eight people were on a low stage playing bluegrass music. Facing them were rows of chairs filled with men and women enjoying the music. It was a very social gathering. People would get up and visit with each other. Several women were knitting, crocheting, and doing needlepoint. Some couples were dancing. The ladies had their hair done and the men were wearing clean and pressed bib overalls. This was their night to let loose and have some fun. We were looked on with curiosity. One gentleman asked me to dance as soon as I sat down. I shyly declined. I wanted to understand what was going on all around us.

The band was a group of local musicians. From what I could understand, musicians come and go all evening, relieving each other. They play non-stop from 7:00-11:00. The music only pauses for discussion about upcoming tunes. Most of the time there was someone playing fiddle, bass fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, and dobro. I was in awe. The audience sang along to many of the tunes. I felt like we discovered a hidden gem buried in the woods of Randolph County. There was no cover charge, they passed the hat and you made a donation.

I think I just about lost it when a threesome got up to dance and began to clog. They were not just sort of skipping along to the music, they were dancing up a storm. This is a particular dance that looks a bit like an Irish jig/tap dance/morris dance. It is a very traditional Southern dance form, although I remember seeing cloggers in Missouri.

I was amazed to see these folks just dancing away with big smiles on their faces. When the song ended, they drifted back to their seats, only to get up again a few minutes later and clogged some more.

Since Nathan and I were the obvious tourists, several folks came up to say hello and made us feel welcome. One of the musicians said that everyone is welcome to come and play or sing. They get together every Saturday. The gentleman said that tonight was an "off" night because a lot of the regulars weren't there. They're off at some festivals. We were pleased with what we saw, so I can't imagine what an "on" night is like. A few people asked Nathan if he was a musician. He's got the neatly styled messy hair look, a little facial hair, and he was wearing a western shirt with pearl snaps, a brown jacket, and cowboy boots. He looked the part. He does play guitar a little, so the locals kept encouraging him to get up there. They want to see some new blood on the stage. Nathan doesn't really know any bluegrass, but he was willing to tell them that he'd give it a try next time.

I couldn't keep from staring at the audience. It was such a beautiful scene. I couldn't have said what I had hoped to find, but this surpassed all expectations. The room was lit from the stage lights and the blinding florescent light above the snack bar in the rear. There were a couple of folding tables with plastic table clothes that comprised the snack bar. A teenager was selling homemade cakes and brownies, hot dogs, soda, and fresh popcorn. The popcorn was the hot seller for the night. No alcohol.

Probably the most unusual part of the evening wasn't the fact that I felt like I had just stumbled into a movie set. The most unusual thing was the audience. The average age of the audience was at least 70. This is their senior center/recreation hall/social hour/and community performance space. If I were a documentary filmmaker, I would want to film this place. You can't find anything like it outside of a rural area, nor could you recreate it outside of the south.

Avian sightings: Saw a bald eagle being attacked by small birds yesterday over the intersection of highway 49 and Old Greensboro-Chapel Hill Road. Saw an owl sitting in the willow tree above the pond by the barn. No, I was unable to take a picture.

More culinary adventures: Went to a Waffle House yesterday for lunch. I had to get my hash browns. I like mine scattered and smothered (grilled with onions.) Yum. Another Southern favorite to cross of the list of "things to do while in North Carolina."

No comments: