Salt Rock, WV - 10/02/2011

Published at 7:52 PM in ,

Today we started out with a fantastic breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Beckley, WV, with my Aunt Phyllis.  Aunt Phyllis comes down to Georgia to visit regularly, but I've never been up here to West Virginia to visit her, so this was a special treat.  Apparently there was some confusion between me and my mom as to who was going to call Aunt Phyllis and let her know we were on our way to Beckley, so when we called to plan breakfast Friday night, she was pretty surprised.  But it all worked out just fine.  We enjoyed our time visiting with her.  Rachael and Chrissy would have liked to stay a lot longer, but we had plans that afternoon with some of Jim's family, so we had to get on the road.  However, we will be back Monday for more time visiting with Aunt Phyllis and exploring Beckley on Monday.  I forgot to take pictures, so I will make up for that, too.

The West Virgina state capitol

The drive to Salt Rock took a little over two hours.  There are a lot of hills and mountains to drive around, through, and over.  Even though we have a huge diesel engine, it still took a little longer than it might have otherwise.  The drive itself was beautiful, even on a rainy, dreary day.  On the way to Salt Rock, we drove through the West Virginia capital of Charleston.  The capitol building is easily seen from the interstate.

Once we got to Salt Rock, which I am quite sure I could never find without the assistance of a GPS, we stopped by the restaurant and garage that Jim's aunt and uncle (on his mom's side of the family) owned before they passed away.  Both of those and the family farm are now run by three of the children.  We visited for a while with Jim's cousins Brenda, Steve, and Tim there before we headed over to the family farm.  That's where the real learning for the day began!

Jim, the kids, and Winston

Fox Hollow Farms sits on the side of mountain (hill?) and down into the little valley.  Back when it was a full working farm, they grew tobacco.  Jim said every inch you see in the pictures was covered with tobacco.  Now, in addition to working full time, Jim's cousin Tim raises cattle on the farm instead of growing tobacco.  I'm not sure when that man ever gets a chance to rest.  Definitely a hard worker!

The pond

Jim, the kids, and I explored the property that Jim always visited every year with his family when he was growing up.  Cousin Steve's son, Winston, was thrilled to show the farm off.  We went back through a wooded trail to the pond.  Jim has great memories of swimming and fishing here.

Tim feeding Jethro

Once we headed back to the front of the land, Tim had a bottle of formula ready for us to bottle-feed a calf he had.  Apparently the momma cow had twins, which is unusual.  When that happens, they will only choose one calf to nurture, and the other one is ignored.  This is what happened to Tim's calf, Jethro.  So the owners of Jethro gave Tim the calf, and he bottle feeds it several times a day. At first the kids weren't too excited about feeding Jethro, but they did.  This is true homeschooling!  This definitely isn't the same as reading about it in a book!

Michael went first, and then when it was time to refill the bottle, Jim took a turn.  Rachael went after that, but Chrissy was happy to just pet Jethro.

Jim's turn

Rachael's turn

Once Jethro was happy and full, we went to the farm house to visit for a while.  By the time we headed back to the RV, it was dark.  But thanks to our trusty GPS, which didn't lead us into a field like they are prone to do, we found our way out.  On the way, we passed the Hatfield Cemetery.  This is cemetery for THE Hatfield family, of the famous Hatfield-McCoy family feud.  Jim's family is related to the Hatfields - more on that later!

Tomorrow, we are going to visit the capitol and state museum in Charleston, and then we'll head back to Salt Rock to spend a little more time with the family before we head out.

More pictures in the Photo Gallery!

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