Red clay, gravel roads, and an occasional mean ol' dog - a collection of personal musings and from-the-hip trip reports from the back roads of the rural American South.
When you're finished here, make sure to visit my website at www.thebackroadsstudio.com. . .
For those readers who don't know: mid December we moved from a rural horse property near Burlington to a much more urban setting fifty miles to the west.
Our new neighborhood, although still somewhat rural in nature, is smack in the middle of three moderately dense cities (Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point).
Hiding in the Thicket
As typical of urban areas, there aren't many large, rolling stretches of farm land. Most of the farms are small operations nestled between other non-farm properties - both residential and commercial. We understand that progress marches forward, but admit I've had a culture shock exploring the surrounding back roads. There's rural and then there's "sort of" rural. The Idol house, shown above, is a good example of "sort of".
The Idol house appears to have begun as a two-over-two farmhouse. If the current siding was removed, one would expect to find a log structure. Over the decades, small side wings were added to both sides, and a longer annex was added to the rear. The tie to today's world is the detached three-car garage. My informal research indicates the house sits on part of an original 18th century, 2800+ acre land grant.
Rusty, Yet Proud
The Idol property was most likely a tobacco farm of modest size - the current outbuildings include several barns, a large chicken house, a storage shed, and a wood-fired curing barn. A beautiful 3 or 4 acre pond graces the rear of the tract.
Nothin' especially unusual up to this point, you might suggest, and I'd agree. Except. . .
Let's take a look at the image on the left. It's one of the great little barns - proudly standing on a little rise, with a wonderful fluffy-cloud sky in the distance. I was pleased with the outcome.
Now let's talk about Adobe Photoshop's capability of replacing backgrounds - something I've never done to a published image - until now! Yep, I confess - I broke my long-standing rule about adding thing to images. But I just hadda' hide IT. Check out the finished picture overlaying the original image:
Just to give you a visual reference, the farmhouse sits immediately beyond the tree on the left side of the image.
You can rightly assume the modern-looking, architecturally unappealing building in the background isn't some newfangled tobacco barn. And the large yellow pipes running rampant aren't for irrigating the pastures.
Only half of one side of the white building is showing. However if you step around to the back of the barn, here's the full view of. . .
the soon to be completed 600,000+ square foot distribution center for Ralph Lauren, and. . .
the soon to be completed first business in a much larger planned industrial park.
New place. New rules. New goals.
First, I need to get over the Photoshop thing - and just consider it artistic license. Next, capture more of these historic urban farms while they're still standing. And as always, remember "when served lemons, make lemonade". Here's another gallery-ready glass from the Idol farm. . .
The Barn at Ralph Lauren, (c) 2015
I've set a goal of posting to this site with greater frequency.
Next episode: another farm house - this one with what appears to be original slave quarters, located across the road from the equally large, ultra-modern Herbalife (once was Dell Computers) manufacturing facility.