Sunday, October 27, 2013

Horne Creek Historical Farm, NC


Horne Creek Historical Farm

What I love about Horne Creek Historical Farm is that is makes you feel as if you have taken a step back in time. It takes you back to the 1900-era of rural North Carolina. Manual labor, raising animals, producing food, and creative crafts such as quilting were a normality during that time. This time period appeals to me because of the central importance of community and family. People relied on each other for giant harvests, bartering, and fellowship. The modern busyness we all face distracts from cultivating friendships and being with family. Yes, life was most certainly harder during this time period, but it must have been more fulfilling with a greater sense of purposefulness and closeness.


Making apple butter

We visited the farm during the 22nd Annual Cornshucking Frolic. Though it was cold and rainy, it was enjoyable to watch demonstrations of different tasks that would have been part of daily life on a North Carolina farm. This demonstration was of making apple butter.

 Apple chips 

The drying trays for making apple chips. A lot of time goes into preparing them.

Apple chips in bags

Finished product.


The main attraction of the festival was cornshucking! A lot of free labor and then they roast it up.


Beside roasting corn, they also made cornmeal. To the left are the bare corn remains and to the right is the ground up corn kernels.


My dad and brother hard at work with sawing. It is a lot harder than it looks. I didn’t attempt it, but I have sawed before and know how challenging it is.

13-IMG_1679 Mashed apples

An apple press for making apple cider.

Mule drawn carriages

Mule drawn carriages.

 John Deere powered corn meal maker

I thought this John Deere powered cornmeal maker was really nifty.


They had several booths with artisan’s displaying their work. The one I found most intriguing were these tools that created the sounds of different bird calls. The owl and crow calls were very interesting. When you rub the stick against the pad that is on the wood, it duplicates the call which is useful in hunting.


This was my favorite hand craft piece. It’s amazing how every unique work of art reflects the individual who makes it. In the same way, we reflect the God who created us. Beauty is all around us and if we take the time to look we will discover that everyday is full of small miracles.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

North Carolina State Fair 2013


Giant pumpkins

My family went to the North Carolina State Fair on the second day of it being held. It is October 17 – 27.  Going on a weekday was a good decision. Even then it got really busy as afternoon approached. We were able to look through all the exhibits. This blog entry contains the favorite of the pictures I took since I couldn’t show all 470 of them!

It is hard to pick a favorite part of the fair. The flowers and gardens were beautiful. I loved walking through and looking at all the award winning produce. As you can see behind me and my sister are the award winning pumpkins. The largest one weighed in at 900 pounds. That’s a lot of pumpkin pie! I also show the cakes with their elaborate designs in a photo album. A must see for all you Cake Boss fans. From cash registers to imitation pizza, they were dazzling and surprising. I included the different hand crafts and the vendors dressed in historic period clothing. Of course a fair wouldn’t be complete without animals. My brother, Joshua was thrilled to look through the hundred plus bunnies and I was thrilled to capture them through photography! For those who have been to the fair, please leave me a comment and share with all my readers your favorite part.

The Flower & Gardens

Flower and gardens


Garden display


The Food


Doesn’t these double doozie apples make your mouth water?


We were able to walk through the produce after judging took place.


My favorites were the potato pig and Despicable Me character made out of pumpkin and complete with a pair of jeans. Now all he needs is cow boy boots and a hat to fit in with the NC State Fair crowd!

The beautiful cakes. Please click to view them.


We walked through the Best in Show winners of arts and crafts. Below is another album with some of the pieces.

Historical Hand Crafts

Basket weaving

Basket weaving 

Basket weaving


Carving out the Lord’s Last Supper out of wood.

Making corn husk dolls    

Making corn husk dolls.


This lady did intricately detailed cards which she hand drew and painted.  

154-IMG_1460Grist mill

The grist mill came up with a wonderful strategy to draw crowds inside. They offered free hush puppies. You should have seen the line! Of course we couldn’t resist. Okay, who would refuse the offer of free hush puppies freshly fried right before your eyes?

The Animals

 Milking station

A clever set up involving a milking station for $2 a person geared towards us city folks who have never milked a cow.


Even cows need a bath and rinse down.


The grand finale of our trip was going through the exhibit by the Eastern Carolina Rabbit Breeders Association. We arrived at 9:00 just so we could this exhibit. When we got there, they said come back at 12:00 because of judging . When we got there again, they said, "Well, now the judging will be done by 2:00." Finally, we got to see them! It was a key attraction for us because my brother wants to raise rabbits when we finishing developing our SHAPE Eco Farm in Wake Forest, NC. We named it SHAPE Eco Farm after our non-profit SHAPE International.  SHAPE stands for “Sharing Hope and Peace on Earth.”

Our non-profit:

You can keep up with the adventures on our new farm by “liking” my “Elizabeth’s Secret Garden” page. All it takes is a simple click to show your support. 


Friday, October 11, 2013

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

Cliffs of The Neuse State Park

It is in the nature parks, state parks, and national parks that history and nature are preserved. We have a chance to enjoy nature in its natural form as surrounding areas become increasingly developed. These lands of preservation are important for wildlife and native flora. A place to thrive while in other areas it is a battle just to survive.

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park through donations and purchases has reached 890 acres in size. As you gaze over the cliffs it becomes easier to imagine what life would have been like in the earlier days of expeditions and settlement in the United States. The area at one time was home to the Tuscarora and Saponi Indian tribes. Their settlement spread across the land between the Neuse and Pamlico rivers. Rivers during that time period were a key source of transportation. The Neuse river was this and much more as it played a role in history. It was the river that provided transportation to the Pamlico Sound and Atlantic Ocean during the Civil War. Another interesting thing to take note of was its use as mineral water cures in the early 20th century.


As I gazed into the water, a bluish reflection captured my attention. Amidst the murky water this blue color made the river beautiful. Nature has a way of teaching us lessons in life. When the waters of life get murky, a ray of blue is just around the corner.

The Neuse River has freshwater fish including striped bass, shad, catfish, blue gill, redear sunfish, and largemouth bass that visitors may fish for. 

10-IMG_1069 11-IMG_1075

I wasn’t expecting to see sand, but at the shore footprints marked the sand and raised roots reminded me of fossils. In areas where the rivers ran through, there were mounds rising from the ground that reminded me of stalagmites


Beauty Berry  

Beauty Berry – desert for birds!


After contacting the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park office, I learned that the 11-acre swim lake is devoid of fish because the iron content in the lake is so high that fish cannot reproduce.  The good news is that they are adding a canoe/kayak put-in above the park this year to help paddlers.

For those that prefer hiking, they will also have 2.25 miles of new hiking trail coming in this year!


Rose petals scattered across the sand. There must have been a wedding.

Just for laughs…


Bible verse to ponder

Job 12: 7 – 10 (ESV) “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”

Extra “Making a Difference”

Conserving nature is important to me, but even more important is helping people. After the market burned down in Bujumbura, Africa many vendors lost there livelihood which deeply effected the families throwing them deeper into poverty. My dad and I worked together to make the video above which shows the fire and talks about the Life Excellence Training Center we want to build. It will help train these individuals in skills that will help them with starting businesses and getting jobs. To learn about this project and donate visit Pure Charity. Together we can make a difference!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Homestead Harvest Farm in Wake Forest, NC

Homestead Harvest Farm

My family went on the annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour  which is part of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. You can see their website to learn more.  Our first farm tour was Homestead Harvest Farm. The field is 6 1/2 acres, but the entire property is 20 acres. Jan Campbell did cancer research before she started working full time on the farm. She participated in internships and classes to gain knowledge. Her love for the farm and pride in her animals was evident as she discussed the farm’s history and facts about animal raising.

The chickens are raised free range and feed on the pesticide- free lawn. They are treated with the upmost of care without the use of antibiotics. Chicken tractors on wheels are scattered about the field. They are moved around as the animals are ready for fresh grass. The farm also has ducks, turkeys, and pigs.

Chicken tractor

As you can see, the chicken tractors can be moved manually by pushing back against the wall. Wheels make for easy transport. Canvas is put along the bottom of the frame to help keep out smaller predators like weasels.

Turkey watching chickens

The turkey seemed to be guardian of the chickens. He kept a watchful eye on us as he pranced about the chicken tractor. His feathers were spread out and his overall stature was conducted for the purpose of showing off. His face was blue from holding his breathe and a flap of skin known as the snood was elongated as he held his breathe.


Mr. Turkey’s family were a moody bunch. They were making all sorts of noises. We learned that cloudy weather makes turkeys a bit scatter brained. You learn something new every day!


Pig chasing ducks 

Time for a game of tag! I love to capture funny moments and this was one of them. Who knew that pigs and geese make good companions for playing tag?


Pigs are social animals and like to be around other pigs and apparently they like having geese around too. When feeding time came it was a battle to see who could get to the food first. All manners and proper etiquette are tossed aside when food is brought into the scene. The smallest piglets struggled to get their share. There were a couple of pigs who were only a week old and hadn’t learned yet that there was a low wire that was electrified. Suddenly, we heard a loud squeal as one of the piglet’s tail brushed up against the thin wire. I’m sure the young ones will learn quickly.

Pig's expression

The expression of a hungry pig!

solar panel 

The electric fence is solar powered.


The not so bright side of chicken raising, but essential for producing meat. I will keep this brief for the sake of those who are sensitive to this topic. The picture to the left is where the quick process of slaughtering takes place. The picture to the right is where the de-feathering is done. It is a Whizbang Chicken Plucker. At 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it only takes a few minutes for the feathers to come off. Two chickens can be put in at a time.


Pork and chickens being stored in the freezer until they are sold.


I thought this was a nifty gadget. It is a washing hands station.


Well, that concludes this blog entry on Homestead Harvest Farm. I’ve taken you from chicken to the final harvest process. You can contact Jan Campell at

United States book cover

Homestead Harvest Farm is included in my third book! This book contains 38 tours of state parks, national parks, gardens, butterfly conservatories, and farms. Each tour page contains photos, facts , and a personal review of the attraction. My photography helps make the pages come alive. Pictures from places such as Sarah P. Duke, the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Conservatory at Callaway Gardens, and even the Butterfly Rainforest at Florida University all contribute to making this book exciting and one of a kind. My book is available on Create Space. Please click the Facebook “Like” button to show your support of my writings.

You can also find me on Facebook.