Category Archives: Poplar Springs

Fall is in full bloom

Fall is in full bloom at Crout Farm, and we are so excited about the coming year. We have a number of exciting announcements coming up. We have been heads down for the last few weeks preparing for winter.

The leaves made a great frame for the old Baptist Church and cemetery.

Down a long dusty driveway at dusk.

Pushing Tulip, Daffodil, and Ranunculus in the ground. Sure beats pushing up Daisies!

We missed the boat in our first freeze preparation, and lost our tomatoes. Live and learn. A new cold snap is heading in this week, and we are ready. We’ve been knitting little scarves and hats for all of the tender plants.

Winter is coming, but for a few weeks Fall is in Bloom and we love every minute of it.

The Valley

Our little farm is nestled in a larger valley, ridged by Dug Ridge, Pine Ridge and Chestnut Ridge.

The Poplar Springs Valley was home to many families over the last 250 years.  Those families were drawn to the cool, deep spring, the fertile land, and the rich forested woods.

Across the country, small communities, like Poplar Springs were common.   Names like White Oak, Bradbury, Cedar Grove, and Cedar Valley dot the map.  While the size and proximity to larger areas would cause them to be forgotten, there is no disputing that these communities hold incredible stories of a determined people.

Our home is held together by logs that were milled 70 years ago.   Indeed those timber still hold steady.  Strong Poplar, and Oak, they can be seen around the buildings on the homestead.  And with every timber, you see a wizened face – drawn from years of sun exposure.  What a tale those timbers could tell.

Stories say that the spring has not gone dry as far back as anyone can remember.  Our little farm is fed by a deep water well, which filters ice cold water from near 220 feet down, passing through ages of limestone.

In the heart of this valley is Poplar Springs Primitive Baptist Church, which was founded in 1826.  The cemetery behind the church shows family names going back three generations.

It’s hard to think of a better center for a community, than the church.  The people, the buildings, the land – they all are placed by God, and in harmony they provide more than wood, water and food.

The land produces community.



The star of the homestead

I have talked about the homestead buildings as being the star of our homestead show, and some folks give me a strange look.

There are incredible gifts everywhere around, and all are magical.  When I look around in the early morning and the rolling hills are covered in fog, the reds, oranges and browns of fall peaking through completing a vista that pictures cannot capture, it’s hard not to think of the land as being the star of the show.

Often I will stop my work, wiping sweat from my brow, as a gentle breeze cools me.  The feeling of freedom, the feeling of independence overwhelms and it certainly is arguable that this freedom is the true heart of this lifestyle.

My heart keeps reaching out though to the community, and to these old buildings which reflect the struggles, successes and life of a people that came together to forge a life.

A trip to the mailbox, reminds me of the community in this valley.  Our neighbor to the southwest is a beautiful white church.  The families that have lived in this valley have worshiped, been married, and deaths mourned in that church.

It underscores for me the connection between the buildings and the people.