The Blackburn Place

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My Great Grandparent’s Farm-

One of these days I’m gonna buy my great grandparent’s farm house & land and live the rest of my life there at…The Old Blackburn Place.

The front porch used to wind around the side to the back where there was an old well right on the back porch for water before they installed indoor plumbing. I can remember many a day running and playing on that old porch. I was always drawing water out of the well in an old wooden water bucket that i’m sure my great grandfather had fashioned out of a log. My cousins and I played there for hours. We never tired of pretending we were living there back in the old days.
I don’t remember my great grandparents Roscoe & Dashia Blackburn. They both passed away when I was just a year old. Papa passed first, leaving his wife and best friend of 50 some years. With his passing she didn’t last long. She was so distraught she passed away 3 weeks later from what most said was a broken heart. They were inseparable in life and then in death. They married young, never leaving each others side for all of their 50 some years together.
She was the first one up every morning before the chickens. She woke up the roosters to do their job of waking up the rest of the farm. She cooked from an old wood cook stove that was still in the house when I was little. Winter or summer, hot or cold she would fire up the wood cook stove to start Papa’s breakfast way before anyone or anything was up a stirring. Drawing water from the well on the back porch for the coffee, going out to the chicken house to gather eggs freshly laid to fix for breakfast, then stopping on her way back to the house to milk the cow for fresh cream for the coffee and a cake of bread. She did more before the sun came up than most do today all day long. That’s why women were strong back then. They knew what hard work was, not one bit afraid of it and took pride in being the best wife & mother.
Papa would be up by the time she made it back to the kitchen from her morning chores. Dressed in his faded worn overalls, he walks towards the kitchen being drawn to the smell of the fresh coffee boiling on the stove all the way from the bedroom. He grabs a tin coffee cup out of the cupboard on the right as he enters the kitchen. Looking over to the stove, he sees the iron skillet with eggs frying with a big juicy piece of fatback. He crosses the room to the stove that had the kitchen quite warm and smelling delicious with aromas from the top and the oven. He pours his coffee from the old coffee pitcher that had been handed down to them when they got married.

To Be Cont’d

Love Has No Borders


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Chapter 1


When Cameron started working at the store she wasn’t counting on anything or anyone coming into her life. “My life is ok exactly like it is,” she thinks to herself. Well, come to think of it there is one thing, a boyfriend who isn’t making her happy; this is affecting her life. That was about to change soon.

She had become good friends with her boss. Cameron did the usual things that women do in their late twenties. She has settled into the same old routine day in and day out but she is ok with her life in that aspect.

Then He walks into the store one morning. Cameron wonders if he had been in there before and she hadn’t noticed, but as good looking as he is he couldn’t have without her noticing. The first time she saw him it took her breath away. He is the most handsome man she had ever seen in her life.

He has the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes that seemed to look into hers seeing straight to her heart, piercing it with a look that would make any woman’s legs turn to Jell-O.

His body is like a fine tuned instrument. The curves in his bulging arms perfect, not too big and yet not to small, his work shirt boasting his shapely masculine chest. She notices this as he turns to the candy isle in front of the register to retrieve a pack of gum.

He has shiny black hair that reminds you of a shimmering lake at night in the moonlight. His skin is an olive complexion and you can tell that he is an outdoors kind of man. Either the type that’s always outside, worked outdoors or both. He looks of Hispanic decent. She imagines him as an Aztec warrior. She giggles to herself.

She assumes he is on his way to work.

He is health conscious she guesses from the fruit that he buys instead of the usual junk food like most guys on the run. He buys energy drinks instead of buying soft drinks. This leads her to believe he may work outside seeing that it is spring and getting kind of warm during the day now.

She smiles at him as he stands in line waiting for his turn to check out. Thinking to herself she wonders if he speaks English, regretting not paying more attention in her Spanish I class.

She remembers some basics asking if he likes bananas, since he has a couple in his hand.

Si,” he says smiling back with a Cheshire cat grin.

Gracias,” she tells him hoping to make a good impression on him.

Hasta luego,” he says as he’s going out the door. He nearly runs someone over almost knocking him down, that was coming in, not paying attention to where he is going since he’s still turned her way smiling at her.

Cameron works the graveyard shift, sometimes in the store till 8am.

Her boss Sara has to come in to do paper work and count the money so Cameron stays as long as Sara needs her.

Cameron and Sara have become inseparable, Sara being a single mom of three. Cameron is a single mom of two. There’s a lot of age difference between them but they get along so well that you would think they have known each other all their lives instead of just a couple of months. They confide in each other about almost everything. So of course Cameron couldn’t wait to tell Sara about her encounter with an Aztec warrior.

Sara is coming up front to take over and relieve Cameron for the day making her way through the customers saying hi to all the regulars or bidding a good day to the new ones.

Cameron is so flustered from the encounter with the man of her dreams she thought that Sara was never going to make it to the front. She feels like she is going to burst from the anticipation of wanting to tell Sara. After about twenty minutes of talking with customers and straightening things up that are out of place as she walks up the three isles, Sara makes it to the front. There, waiting like a kid at the door of a candy store waiting for it to open was Cameron.

“Oh my, did you see the guy that came through the line about six o’clock?” she asked Sara.

Sara looking at her as though she is crazy tells her laughing, ”there are so many coming in that time of morning how am I going to know which one he was?”

“Well if you saw what I did you wouldn’t have to ask which one. I think that he is the most handsome man I have ever seen in my life.” Cameron tells her in detail about how well built he is then concludes that she would marry him tomorrow if he asked. She also tells her how she’s sure he will remember her because she had gone out of her way to speak Spanish to him.

“Well be careful you know the problems and heartache I went through when I was married to Jose,” Sara tells her concerned for Cameron. “A lot of them are here to support their families back home. They’ll be married never telling you a thing. Leading you on to believe that they are so in love with you, making you think that you are the only one.” Sara told Cameron knowing this having been burnt from the experience of it.

Sara had once been married to a guy from El Salvador named Jose. They had been in what she thought was pure love, marital bliss. They had been together eight years, five of it married. But nothing anymore it seems is forever. He left as soon as he became legal, to go home to see his family. He hadn’t been home in over ten years. He was anxious to see his parents and siblings.

He called Sara almost every other day, telling her of things that had changed since he had been gone, how he didn’t recognize his youngest siblings when he arrived.

His little sisters and baby brother had all been barely out of diapers when he had left. Now his oldest of the younger sisters is having her Quincinera. That’s similar to what we do for a girls sixteenth birthday except they are fifteen and they go all out. It’s almost if the girl is getting married. She has a white flowing gown and she’s brought in on a platform carried by boys her age. She’s presented to the community like a coming out Fiesta. The fathers of these girls are known to spend a fortune on the festivities. Some of the fathers spent as much as they would have on a real wedding.

As time was winding down and it was about time for Jose to come back from El Salvador he calls Sara to tell her he’s not coming back as soon as expected.

Sara asks him why, is he so home sick that he needs to stay awhile longer. But he tells her it’s not that. He tells her that he has met someone there. He is going to marry her.

Sara asks him if all he married her for was to become legal. He tells her yes at first but in the end he did love her. But now that he has went back he realizes that he needs someone from his world, from his culture. She knows now that he had just used her that he will do the same to that poor woman also. She kind of feels sorry for her, because she didn’t know what she was getting into. This was a man who would manipulate anyone to get what he wanted and she knew she was better off without him.

Cameron had been through her share of heartaches too, but she wasn’t the type that was once bitten twice shy. She believed in true love that there is someone out there for everyone. She knew that she would find her soul-mate some day.

She couldn’t wait till he came back in. That morning when she went home she starts fixing everything for the evening for when the girls get home from school, she was in a daze. Things were done that she hadn’t realized that she had already did. He is all she could think about, he is her every thought. When she finally lay down to sleep she couldn’t. She’s dead tired but sleep would not come.

She could not get him out of her mind. She just had to see him again. Would he come back? Or even worse is he married? As fine as he is surely he at least had a girlfriend, if he did then what?

Cameron isn’t the type to go around stealing other women’s men. She just had to know.

     ***

     Cameron is about to go off the deep end. It had been nearly a week since her Aztec warrior had been in. If he didn’t show today she would surely die.

She had her mind made up that she is going to talk to him one way or another. A girl working in the deli section knew how to speak Spanish and if she had to Cameron would use her to translate.

It was about ten after six that morning and he hadn’t shown up yet. She had decided that he is a no show again.

She is devastated. She just knew that he would be in today. Things were quite busy as they usually are this time of morning. People bustling in to grab a bite to eat or grab a cup of Joe on their way to work. Cameron is swamped with customers and she hadn’t realized that He is in line till he is next. She fumbles with the change she has in her hand for the customer dropping it all over the counter. Laughing with embarrassment she picks up the money handing it to the customer thanking him then apologizing.

When he walks up to the counter his eyes are all over her. She feels like dying but instead asks him what the guys ahead of him said.

The guys in front of the line were Hispanic also and flirted with her regularly, so much so that she didn’t pay them any attention anymore. All he says is loco meaning that his friends were crazy.

Cameron knew then that he didn’t speak any English. So she asked him to give her a minute in what little bit of Spanish that she knows. He seems to understand.

He waits by the door as she gets Sara to take over. Then she motions for her friend in the deli to come over to where they are standing.

When her friend gets over to them he instantly asks her,” When can I see you?”

She tells her friend to tell him tomorrow morning that she has to work but they can meet here an hour before she starts to work, and one more thing, what was his name?

“Mateo,” he replies, “Which means Mathew in English.

So now she knows his name and that he has some interest in her.

Then he asks her, “what time do you get off from work today and can you come see me on my break when you do?”

“Of course, what time do you take your break?” All this was being translated by the girl from the deli.

Cameron knew that it was only a couple of hours till she would see Mateo but it feels like a lifetime. She finishes her shift staying around because Mateo works about a half a mile from the store at a local sawmill. The clock isn’t moving. It is as if time is standing still.

Finally it is time to go meet her Aztec warrior.

She knows she is going to have to quit thinking of him like this. A smile comes across her face. She giggles as she thinks of him standing on a mountaintop holding a spear in one hand and a shield in the other with just a loincloth wrapped around his waist showing his perfect body.

Driving up to the sawmill she sees the other guys first that are asking her out all the time. They look at her with much surprise trying to figure out what she was doing there, that made her laugh. Eat your heart out she thinks to herself. I’m here for Mateo not for a bunch of jokers full of themselves. Cameron sees Mateo walking from the shed type extension of the building where he works. She pulls up to where he’s standing. He jumps in her truck.

After a minute of confusion she figures out that he’s telling her to drive around back to a spot in the shade.

Pulling up under a giant oak tree he motions for them to get out. They get out, opening the back dropping the tailgate. They sit beside each other hanging their legs off the edge Cameron swinging hers back and forth, both hesitant to say the first word her not knowing what to say and he not knowing if he does say something if she’ll understand or not.

She turns to look at him and at that same moment he turns to look at her, reaches over brushing the side of her face pulling her to him to kiss her. She has never been kissed like that before.

Mateo then started biting on her lips like he was starving for this all his life. The kiss went on; it seemed like an eternity then again it was like it was only a second lost in time. Like that first time you kissed a boy when you thought you were madly in love. There was nothing you two wouldn’t do for each other, and everything around you just seems to vanish like you and he are the only ones in a whole new universe.

The kiss takes her breath away. Cameron composes herself from being slightly dizzy from the surprising experience.

They manage to talk some even though she only knows a little Spanish. It is clear he doesn’t know any English at all so they are going to have to try to talk in Spanish for the time being.

Before she knew where the time had went it was time to go, his break was over and she needed to go on home. As bad as she hated to admit it she knew there was someone she needed to break things off with. She couldn’t go on like this with Mateo till she broke it off with her boyfriend. She had found out while they talked that Mateo did not have a girlfriend or wife, at least not here in this country she thought.


To Be Cont’d……

The Miracle

The gorge that ran the length of the road was as beautiful as it was dangerous. The rocks were carved out from the millions of gallons of water running over them for thousands of years. Looking over the edge was about all you could do. The embankment was very steep and treacherous. Only a skilled climber would be able to scale it.

There had been accidents in the past from locals that lived in the town below to skilled hikers that tried going down. Only the wild inhabitants were able to go up or down these embankments as they pleased.

Josiah always drove right on the edge to look at the gorge. On one occasion Ellie had road into town with him. He was driving close to the edge as usual frightening her. She told him to move over to the middle of the road or pull over to let her drive. He just laughed at her doing as she said moving over to the middle telling her she was a scardy cat. She might be she told him but she’d live to see another day.

Josiah makes it safely down the mountain into town.

“I’ve got my cell if anything was to happen. I have a window of signal through part of the way up the mountain to the middle, but after that nothing,” Josiah tells Earl the owner of the local supply store.

He had come into town to get things needed in the chance of getting snowed in.

“All I have is a flashlight. I’m not even sure if it has any batteries.”

“Alright then we need to load you up with a couple of things. These storms sometimes can last a long time being very unforgiving.”

Heading back up the mountain Josiah looks over in the seat at his emergency supplies that Earl had insisting on giving him. There was a flashlight that was four times the size of the one he had an extra battery for it, two gallons of water, a radio with batteries in it with an extra pack. Then he had two thick horse blankets, some beef jerky and a couple of other things for just in case.

The heater in the old truck wasn’t putting anything out now. The windshield was fogging up from his body heat on the inside. On the outside he could tell it was already trying to freeze up.

He was getting worried because he wasn’t but just a little over half way up the mountain. He stops the truck.

Looking in the dash box feeling with his hand then actually looking in he can’t find a windshield scraper. “I just wonder if Earl thought about me needing a scraper.” Shutting the dash box he looks in the seat searching through the tote bag of supplies.

Low and behold there was one, a brand new windshield scraper, the kind that has a fuzzy mitt on the end of the handle so your hand won’t get wet or cold.

Getting out he shuts the door not getting it shut. “Dang old truck,” he mutters opening it again then slamming it making sure it was.

Working his way from side to side he scrapes the icy snow off the windshield.

Getting back in the truck it was a lot warmer it seemed than before.

“Good thing I put thermal underwear on under these bib coveralls,” he mutters to himself seeing his breath swirling around in the cab of the truck.

He wasn’t cold at the moment but if he was to get stuck out in this weather he would need to be bundled up.

Putting the truck into gear he starts up the dirt road again. The wind was getting worse. The truck was getting harder to handle. The wind whipping around it from both sides made it rock side to side. Slowing down to almost a crawl it was a little easier to manage but not completely.

The snow was getting thicker and harder to see through by the minute. His headlights were so dim even on bright he couldn’t see more than ten to fifteen feet in front of him. It was completely dark outside with no lights but his.

Josiah stopped for a minute putting on his seat belt. Back when this old truck had been new there were no seat belt laws like they are today. The truck had only lap belts.

Taking off once again he slid a little on what he figured was a patch of ice.

Guessing he was about three quarters of the way home he breathes a small sigh of relief.

“Better not get to anxious though I’m not there yet,” saying it out loud as if it sunk in better if he heard it.

Josiah knew he needed to pay close attention to the ice that was accumulating on the road. But he couldn’t help but think about how nice it would be if he was in Mexico laying on a beach in Los Cabos where it would be a nice toasty 80 some degrees. Instead he was driving up this treacherous mountain in sub-zero degree weather.

About that time he feels the truck sliding, He realizes as he’s going towards the edge of the road he isn’t gaining control of the truck. He knows there’s nothing he can do at this point but let off the brake some letting it go where it was going to on its own.

Seeing the edge getting closer Josiah braces his self, preparing to go over the edge. He says a prayer thanking God for all he had gave him and done for him in his life. When his prayer was finished he could see over the steep embankment.

There was nothing between his truck and the deep ravine below, nothing that might catch a wheel or axle to keep him from careening to the bottom.

He realizes that this was it. He was about to go over the edge. The truck tilted as one of the tires had already slid off the road past the edge into the air.

Then the truck stops. It stops as if it had hit something and that something wasn’t letting it go any further.

Josiah was flooded with a feeling of relief. He didn’t know whether to move or not. Thinking that if he tried to get out of the truck the movement might cause whatever was holding the truck to become lose.

He sits there for what seems an eternity but actually was only a few minutes. After Josiah finally thinks the truck isn’t going anywhere he slides to the right towards the passenger door. Doing this very slowly he doesn’t even want to breathe in fear of making the truck move. As he gets close to the door he’s pushing his emergency supplies with him. He reaches for the door handle and the truck tilts back towards the road sitting back down on three wheels.

He gets a hold of the door handle opening the door slowly pushing the supplies out on the ground as he slides out the door.

Josiah sits down just a few feet from the truck letting his nerves calm.

He has his supplies at least he thinks to himself as he picks up the tote.

Josiah knows that he doesn’t have that far to walk to get back home and has a good flashlight to see with through the blinding snow.

Grabbing the flashlight out of the tote he turns it on trying to see what caused the truck to stop.

With the snow blowing around whipping through the wind so thick he can’t see a thing.

“Oh well,” he thinks, “I can see later when I come back for the truck.”

Making it back home Josiah walks in the door going straight to the woodstove. He was bundled up but no amount of clothes would have been enough for the cold he had just come out of.

Ellie hears him come in and within seconds is asking what had happened.

He tells her everything.

The next morning they go out on the tractor to pull his truck home. When they get to the truck they can’t believe their eyes.

It seemed that a deer had jumped off the embankment on the other side of the road and had slid on the ice up under his truck right at the moment he was fixing to go over the edge.

There it was lodged up under the back tire holding the truck in place.

They stood there just looking at the miracle that had saved Josiah’s life.

He tells Ellie about the small quick prayer he had said right before the truck stopped sliding. He tells her that he thanked God for his life instead of asking for Him to spare it.

They both realize that Josiah had his guardian angel with him that night.

The End

Thanks Y’all,

Leslie

A Country Morning in the Hollar

My Every Morning Ritual

Most mornings I sit on my back porch with my much needed large cup of coffee watching the landscape wake up from it’s dark state of nocturnal activities. I can hear the bell ringing on a lead goat down the hollar a ways, as he leads his herd of followers out into the new morning light to graze on the new fresh spring sprouts shooting up through the just recently thawed ground.. The birds are chirping as a new day begins reminding other fowl that is their territory, to stay out.

I light up my first cigarette savoring that first relief of nicotine, and no matter how many more you smoke that day you will not get that same feeling again until you wake up the next morning and do it all over again.

I live up at the farther end of the hollar on a slope. Behind my place on the other side of the hollar is a neighbor with a beautiful pond that has an Artesian well just above it, supplying it with fresh cold spring water continuously. It is so soothing and relaxing hearing the flow splashing into the pond in the morning. There is no better way to start the day, I’ll not do it any other way again after given this chance to enjoy the tranquility.



 

Just last week the trees were blooming their majestic beauty with all their different colored blooms and fragrances. Decorating the pond like a parade of Mother Nature, but now the flowers have faded fast thanks to Jack Frost who still comes to these parts even in May sometimes. The leaves are filling out and it’s getting harder to see the pond from the porch more and more everyday. The weeping willow tree has filled out so much since we moved here 4 years ago, it’s branches cascading down to the ground as if in morning. Even though we cleared off most off our property to see the pond, I enjoy more listening to the waterfall coming from the Artesian well.

I can sit here endlessly. But eventually I have to get up, go back into the house and do something productive. Thinking about getting up makes me light just one more stogy. What the heck, we only live once might as well enjoy it while I can.

Leslie Zpt.

NC Smokey Mts, Pisgah National Forest, Brown Mountain

 

Here’s some local Festivals coming up:

May 7, 2016 – NC Butterfly Festival –  https://www.facebook.com/events/597144963773781/

May 13-15, 2016 – Daniel Boone Festival – https://www.facebook.com/events/1554819938145385/

July 8, 2016 – NC Blackberry Festival – https://www.facebook.com/events/949449965162149/

Our Newest Addition to the Family

Our Newest Baby


Meet Montana Cowgirl, our newest member to the family as of yesterday. She’s an 8 week old Blue Heeler. She is already showing the signs of a great dog as most Blue Heelers are. We had a storm last night with lightning & not too loud of thunder & she faired pretty well. Yes, she whined somewhat as to be expected, but not from the noise of the thunder.

She knew what her bed was only after showing her 2 times. This morning she whined to go off the porch to use the potty. This dog has never been potty trained.

When we went to see the puppies yesterday, she was the first to come up to us. I had seen pictures of her and her siblings. I actually had come with intentions of getting another girl that had a lot of the spots resembling a Blue Heeler. But needless to say she won us over. She was the friendliest, happiest, playful, and answered when we called to them. She knew she wanted us I believe as soon as she seen us.

This is something I truly believe in. Them picking us.We often think that they need us, but more than often in the end it was us needing them.

Leslie Zpt.


The Working Australian Cattle Dog

These dogs were developed by crossing smooth-coated blue merle Scottish highland collies to selected dingoes in the 1840’s; a drover named Thomas Hall developed a cattle dog that combined the hardiness of the dingo type, and the herding abilities of the highland collie. This cross reinforced the heeling instinct of the collie and eliminated their tendency to bark at the head.

The Australian Cattle Dog is an independent thinker and once trained, is capable of carrying out routine tasks without supervision. They are highly intelligent, making them self directed workers capable of complex problem solving. They are adept at picking out and punishing trouble makers, while at the same time they can be gentle with calves, lambs or ducks. It is this rating ability that makes the Australian cattle dog versatile enough for different classes of cattle as well as trial or farm work with sheep, hogs and fowl.


herding dog


The Australian Cattle Dog can be trained to perform various functions on the farm or ranch. They possess high trainability coupled with a strong desire to please. Most Cattle Dogs can perform routine jobs after just a few exposures. A well trained Cattle Dog can replace two to three good men on horseback.

Heelers are just so smart and eager to have a job to do. No matter whether you desire to train them to round up cattle, to retrieve frisbees or to sit patiently waiting for you, you will find training a Heeler to be pure delight.

 

Horkan, Annie. “Train A Blue Heeler To Herd Cattle.” Blue Heeler Dog. N.p., 1 July 2014. Web. 03 May 2016.

 

Welcome

Here I will be posting images of ideas I might try and beautiful landscape pics I see, I love sharing God’s beauty. So be sure and come back often or follow my blog to check out some of our beautiful landscape here in North Carolina!

Y’all come back now!

Leslie