Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A visit from Adrianne

Mom stops by.

My mother came for a visit for a few days. She arrived late Thursday night and stayed at a hotel near the airport. I borrowed Ginnie's car and met Mom at her hotel. We drove back to the airport and signed me onto her rental car. She followed me back to the farm and brought her things into the White House.

Mom's been struggling with health issues so she's not as energetic as she used to be. It's a shame because she couldn't explore the gardens or walk around easily. We took our time and walked up to the Barn in order to say hello to everyone. It was just about lunch time so most folks were lingering while Ginnie prepared pizzas. She makes her own dough and likes to load each pie with lots of toppings. One had goat cheese, sausage, homemade tomato sauce, olives and onions. Another had artichoke hearts, cheese, and salsa. The third was covered with lost of sausage, cheese, olives, tomatoes, onions, and sauce. It was quite a feast.

Gareth, Steve and Lee's younger son talked about traveling to the Galapagos. He's only home for a few days so it was nice to hear some of his stories about Ecuador. They've been working him hard while he's home. He had the pleasure of turning the compost pile after lunch.

Once the pizzas were ready, all conversation stopped and we dove into the hot, gooey, slices. Ginnie makes a nice pizza. Her secret: get the oven as hot as it can go and use pizza pans. They always turn out nicely.

After lunch, everyone drifted off to accomplish their afternoon work. It was raining. In spite of the foul weather, Mom and I decided to go to Seagrove and visit the potters. I retraced the drive that I had taken with Ginnie two months ago. We headed southwest to Asheboro and hopped on Business 220 and drove a few more miles to Seagrove. It is only about 25 miles from the farm. It is surprisingly close. We had many maps and drove around visiting potters that I had been to with Ginnie and others that were new to both of us. I am amazed at the number of pottery studios that are set up around a small town like Seagrove. There are over 100 active studios and galleries. Many have been there for several generations like the Owens family. The abundant clay in the area originally attracted the potters and some still used the local clay. We stopped by the North Carolina Pottery Center and looked at some beautiful examples of local pottery from the past and present.

My favorite potters are the couple Laura and Blaine Avery of Avery Pottery and Tileworks. Both Mom and I love the shapes and colors that of their work. They have both decorative as well as functional tiles, bowls, vases, jars, and mosaics. When you pick up a piece of their pottery, it feels good in your hands. Not too heavy, but not too fragile. Just right. Plus, they are really nice and love Goat Lady Dairy's cheese. They both remembered me from my previous visit with Ginnie. It is fun being recognized as "that girl from California who's making cheese at GLD." I experienced the same thing when I was making cheese at Ticklemore in Devon, England. Around Totnes I was know as "the American girl."

Owens red glaze. Beautiful and lethal. It is full of lead. The tall handled jug is a Rebecca Pitcher, a local design.

Mom and I called it quits around 5:00. The potters close their doors so we had to leave. I had made dinner reservations in Greensboro, so we took our time driving up Old Highway 220 as well as Hwy 220. I thought Mom might like some good seafood from the East Coast so we went to Bert's Seafood on West Market Street in Greensboro. It is a well established restaurant well known for their fish. I figured it is one of the few places that might serve seafood that wasn't deep fried. Most "family style" seafood places only serve seafood one way: breaded and fried. All seafood is also served with hushpuppies. Bert's had fine hushpuppies. It also had the best flounder I've ever tasted. It was really delicate, pan fried with a coating of sesame seeds and breadcrumbs. It just broke apart as soon as it touched my tongue. Mom had fresh shrimp with cheese grits (a.k.a. polenta with cheese.) Her dish was also well prepared. The portions were ample and we both wound up taking a lot home. We were very happy with supper.

Mom wasn't feeling so hot in the morning. The plan was to drive to Floyd, VA in order to visit Ellen Shankin and see her open studio. The weather was still wet and we felt that the four hours spent driving could be put to better use. We drove back to Seagrove. Avery was hosting their annual Kiln Opening on Saturday and Sunday. Since most of it was still cooling in the kiln on Friday, we were eager to see what else they were making. We were happy we did. Both Mom and I found some pottery we could not pass up. We both bought tiles/trivets. I bought a bowl and Mom bought some vases. We both liked their designs and art deco inspired forms. Thank goodness for UPS. Jim will be getting a box in a week or two.

We spent several hours touring around the Seagrove area. I drove home using the backroads. The rain had mostly stopped so we were able to enjoy the quiet country roads and lush rolling hills all the way back to Gray's Chapel. I had to drive home on Erect Road. I stopped in the tiny town of Erect at Teague's mini-mart and service station. It is the only thing in town. There was a hand-written sign on the glass door announcing "Bluegrass music, Mondays 6pm." I asked about it at the counter as I was paying for our Lance crackers. The sizable gentleman seated behind the counter asked if I played, and if so, bring my instrument. Everyone is welcome to come and play. I told him I don't play, but I am a very supportive listener. He encouraged me to come back on a Monday and check it out. I might have to leave Climax and find Erect next Monday.

I am very excited by the fact that old time and bluegrass music is so popular and thriving in these tiny hamlets. It makes me want to pick up a banjo or mandolin and learn how to play in order to join in these jam sessions. It is infectious. The musical traditions are alive and well. I have found several places that have these bluegrass gatherings on different nights of the week. Most of them are in old service stations or tiny stores. They are not traditional music venues. I've seen signs in front of the stores that read "hoop cheese – music Friday nite". I still don't know what hoop cheese is, but I'm curious enough to explore both possibilities.

1 comment:

Sairbair said...

BTW, the town is pronounced EE-rect. Stress the long ee sound. At least that's what the locals say. Not e-RECT.