The vast, special relationships between humans and animals is explored in a new mobile exhibition from the Smithsonian that will be making a stop in Nashville at the Music City Center on March 20-22, 2014.
“Animal Connections: Our Journey Together” is a custom-built exhibition housed on an 18-wheel truck. The exhibit is designed to inspire the next generation of veterinarians and educate the current generation of consumers about the connections we share with animals on the farm, in the home, at the zoo, in the wild and at the veterinary clinic. It was created to mark the 150th anniversary of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2013.
Visitors can stop at the five sections of the exhibit and learn through informative displays, dynamic videos, interactive experiences and more. Topics covered include how to select the right pet and possible home dangers for pets, large farm animal veterinarian tools, a virtual veterinarian clinic and more. The free exhibition explores the shared responsibility for animals’ health and well-being.
To learn more about the exhibition, visit animalconnections.com.
Do you live in the Tennessee towns of Milan or Santa Fe? If so, you can probably recognize a visitor just by the way they (incorrectly) say the name of your hometown. And you’re not alone – there are many places in our great state that only true Tennesseans know how to pronounce. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Milan (pronounced MY-lin)
- Santa Fe (Santa Fee)
- Maury County and Maury City (Murry)
- Poga (Pogee)
- Lebanon (Leb-nun)
- Finger (Fanger)
- Ooltewah (Oo-da-wah)
- Lafayette (Luh-fayette)
- Shelbyville, Fayetteville, Nashville and other “villes” (-vul)
Do you live in a town that most people mispronounce? Leave a comment with others we may have missed.
You know the feeling: You’re late for work (hair appointment, golf date, piano lessons), and you’re sitting behind a monster tractor, whose driver clearly has nothing more to do than creep down a country road at 15 miles per hour.
You tap the horn. Nothing. You nudge up a little closer behind him. Nothing. You tap your fingers on the wheel and mutter underneath your breath. Nothing. Finally, frustrated and annoyed, you drop back, gun it and start to pass – just as another car races toward you at 80 mph from the opposite direction.
A familiar scenario? Of course. More and more of us are driving on Tennessee’s rural roads, as more and larger farm equipment needs to use those same roads.
The result is an increasingly dangerous situation for farmers and drivers alike, and the solution may be something as simple as a little patience and consideration. “I experienced angry drivers more times last year than ever before,” says Rickey Black, who farms 3,200 acres in four West Tennessee counties and knows all about the perils of moving large farm equipment from one farm to another. “I think we’ve become such a fast-paced society that we’ve become a little selfish – we only think about what’s important to us.”
Black’s situation represents a trend seen around the country, says John Woolfolk, associate director of commodities for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
“If you go back to the early 1900s farmers rarely left their farms,” says Woolfolk, who farms 800 acres in Madison County. “Now farmers may farm in several locations.
The narrow profit margin per acre these days and the higher cost of production mean that to support your family, you have to have numerous acres, often not adjacent, for which you have to buy bigger equipment. Today’s farming requires much more time on the road than in years past.”
Larger farms and bigger equipment are half the equation. The other is increasing traffic on rural roads. A study by The Road Information Program (TRIP) found that travel on the nation’s rural roads increased by 27 percent between 1990 and 2002. The number of people living in rural communities increased 11 percent during those same years.
At the same time, 94 percent of rural roads are two lanes and far more likely to “have poor roadway design, including narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, exposed hazards, pavement drop-offs, steep slopes and limited clear zones along roadsides,” according to TRIP.
The problem of more and bigger farm vehicles versus more traffic on roads not designed for it becomes clear. In Tennessee, the state Department of Safety reports 405 crashes involving farm equipment in 2003-2005. Six of those crashes resulted in fatalities and 125 in injuries.
No wonder country singer Craig Morgan’s tune “International Harvester” sings of “Three miles of cars layin’ on their horns, fallin’ on deaf ears of corn, lined up behind me like a big parade.”
Black says he fears little notice will be paid to rural road safety until a major tragedy occurs. He pleads for a little understanding from the non-farming public.
“I know people get frustrated,” he says. “They’re headed to a big office somewhere, a big desk, a lot of paperwork, but they don’t realize that I’m already in my office. I have to be on the road to get to where my job takes me too. We have to educate people to respect this equipment and understand why it’s on the road.”
For his part, Black suggests drivers stay at least two car lengths behind him so that he can see them. Tennessee state law dictates that equipment drivers must pull over if five or more vehicles are behind them. And farmers will do just that, as soon as they safely can – which may take a few minutes. Don’t drive him into a ditch, he asks, and don’t expect him to wave you around.
“If you pull up behind me, I will do everything I can to let you pass me, but I am not going to get off the road on a double yellow line and motion for you to come around beside me,” says Black. “
Problem is, I have a 25-foot-wide vehicle, so where am I going to pull off the road? The first safe place I see, I will do it. But be patient with me – I don’t want to have you back there any more than you want to be there.”
Safety Tips While on the Road
- At 55 miles per hour, it will take only five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between you and a tractor going five miles per hour.
- Watch for hand signals that a tractor driver may use to signal he is turning or stopping.
- Do not pull out in front of farm equipment. It cannot stop or slow down as easily as a car, especially if pulling other equipment.
- If an oversized farm vehicle is coming your way from the opposite direction, make sure you can pass it safely. If not, pull over and wait for it to pass.
- Remember that if you must slow down to 20 mph behind a tractor for two miles, you will only lose six minutes.
52nd Annual Dogwood Arts Festival – April 1-30, Knoxville
Since 1961, Dogwood Arts has celebrated the natural and cultural beauty of East Tennessee by producing a dynamic festival featuring blooming gardens and trails, visual arts, music, crafts, theater, culinary arts, dance, film, and literary arts. Enjoy upcoming events, exhibits, and performances during the entire month of April. CONTACT: (865) 637-4561
Awesome April – April 1-30, Nashville
Enjoy this monthlong event, which pays musical tribute to the city and promises a major event each weekend. CONTACT: (800) 657-6910
Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration – April 4, Memphis
The National Civil Rights Museum offers this special program in Memphis to commemorate the late Civil Rights leader. CONTACT: (901) 521-9699
Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival – April 4-6, Knoxville
The annual Rhythm N’ Blooms celebrates the crossroads of Knoxville’s varied musical history. This American Roots music festival spotlights storied songwriters and rich performances from jazz to world-class bluegrass to indie – and everything in between. CONTACT: rhythmnbloomsfest.com
Granville Genealogy Festival – April 5, Granville
Genealogy Festival featuring great genealogy speakers, seminars, genealogy family booths, craftsmen, historical town tours, music, cemetery tours, museums and great food. Celebrating the history of Sutton General Store and the sixth anniversary of Sutton Ole Time Music Hour. CONTACT: (931) 653-4151
Lawn & Garden EXPO – April 5, Brighton
Hosted by Tipton County Master Gardener, this FREE event takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Brighton High School. The agenda features dynamic speakers, and attendees will have the opportunity to visit many vendors and garden displays. In addition, there will be demonstrations on composting, plant propagation, making rain barrels, herb and vegetable gardening as well as a children’s workshop. CONTACT: (901) 476-0231
2014 Perennial Plant Sale – April 5, Nashville
Doors open at 9 a.m. at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. This event features more than 450 varieties of plants for gardens big and small, plus expert advice on choosing and growing the perfect plant from PPS gardeners. CONTACT: (615) 804-9050
4 Bridges Art Festival – April 11-14, Chattanooga
Approximately 150 artists will be selected from across the country to sell paintings, glasswork, jewelry, textiles, furniture, sculpture and more. Artists also compete for $10,000 in merit awards through onsite jurying April 12 In addition, the festival features live entertainment from talented local and regional performers; artisan foods from local restaurants, and a special art creation area for kids. CONTACT: 4bridgesartsfestival.org
Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree – April 12, Gallatin
Visit Volunteer State Community College for their annual bluegrass festival. The event features fun competitions in bluegrass instruments including mandolin, guitar, fiddle and bluegrass dancing, as well as exciting concerts. It’s fun for the whole family! CONTACT: (615) 452-8600 ext. 2936
Nashville Film Festival – April 17-26, Nashville
With genres from drama to comedy to foreign documentaries, this exciting festival has something for all film lovers. CONTACT: (615) 742-2500, nashvillefilmfestival.org
Rock Island Easter Egg Hunt – April 19, Rock Island
A day of family and fun celebrating spring and Easter at Rock Island State Park. Activities include themed games for all ages, tie dye in spring colors and an Easter egg hung including a visit from the Easter Bunny. CONTACT: (931) 686-2471
World’s Biggest Fish Fry – April 23-27, Paris
Don’t miss this delicious event, as more than five tons of catfish are served to thousands of visitors. There’s also a rodeo, parade and catfish races. CONTACT: (731) 644-1143 **This event was listed incorrectly in the print magazine. April 23-27 is the correct date.
Windrock Park Spring Jamboree – April 24, Oliver Springs
Guided ATV rides, mud bog, drag races, poker run, kids scavenger hunt, pole bending and barrel racing are just a few activities for ATVers and this fun event. You don’t have to be a rider to enjoy. Spectators can watch the competitions then jump in the Dash for Cash. Windrock Park is also the perfect place to see the Tennessee Valley Authority’s windmill farm, which consist of eighteen 392 foot windmills on 210 acres. CONTACT: windrockpark.com
Rivers & Spires Festival – April 24-26, Clarksville (pictured)
This famous annual festival features more than 100 entertainers, a kids area, car shows, delicious food, jazz and more. Don’t miss it! CONTACT: (931) 245-4344
Sheep Shearing Day – April 25, Norris
The Museum of Appalachia will renew the annual ritual of sheep shearing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The wooly animals will be trimmed by Kentucky native John Cooper, who will explain the process to onlookers while using vintage hand-cranked shears. Spinning, weaving and quilting demonstrators will show how wool was used to make yarn and quilt batting. CONTACT: (865) 494-7680
Dixie Line Days – April 26, Wartrace
An all-day train show featuring operating model railroads, swap tables, how-to clinics, contests, food and live music in downtown Wartrace located on the CSX Railroad mainline with 25 trains per day. CONTACT: dixieflyertrains.com
Squarefest – April 26, Gallatin
Gallatin’s Annual Squarefest draws more than 12,000 visitors each year. The event includes arts and crafts, live entertainment, a kids area and food vendors from throughout the mid-south. Held on the historic downtown square, this event has become a signature event in the spring for Gallatin. CONTACT: (615) 452-5692
National Cornbread Festival – April 26-27, South Pittsburg
Enjoy this Southern staple at the annual South Pittsburg festival. Visitors can enjoy the National Cornbread Cook-Off, art, a beauty contest, a carnival, pancakes breakfast and more! CONTACT: (423) 837-0022
Looking for antique farm equipment? Head to the Sardis Antique Farm & Home show in rural West Tennessee this spring.
The free event features antique tractors, farm machinery, cars and a variety of home items, including a quilt show. There will also be children’s games as well as a parade.
The event takes place May 17, 2014, at Sardis City Park (the Old Sardis School), located in Henderson County about 20 miles south of Lexington on Hwy. 104.
To learn more, call (731) 206-0858.
Editor’s note: The date for this event has changed since our magazine published. The date above is correct.
Deep Swamp Canoe Floats – March 1, Hornbeak
A wetland trip through unique areas of Reelfoot Lake’s cypress swamp. Reservations required. Floats are scheduled every weekend in March and April, at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday. Donations are accepted. CONTACT: (731) 253-9652
Knoxville Restaurant Week – March 2-7, Knoxville
For one special week, select Knoxville restaurants will offer great meals for a great cause. Enjoy a special three-course dinner at an extraordinary fixed price of either $25 or $35 (excluding tip, taxes and gratuity), and $5 of every special Knoxville Restaurant Week meal purchased will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank. CONTACT: (865) 243-8200
2nd Annual Dickson Farm Home & Garden Show – March 7-9, Dickson
Gain valuable information and make great memories at the Dickson Fairgrounds as we celebrate “Everything Outdoors!” Learn from experts in landscaping, construction, agriculture, pest control, water sports and more. CONTACT: (615) 446-2349
Head to Toe Show – March 8-9, Lawrenceburg
Come enjoy the dazzling display of jewelry, beads, purses, hats, skin and body care items, cosmetics, accessories and everything in between – for cosmetic enthusiasts and jewelry lovers alike. Event takes place at the Lawrenceburg Rotary Park. CONTACT: (931) 762-4911
Irish Day Celebration – March 15, Erin
Enjoy a parade, food, entertainment and crafts at the largest Irish Day celebration in the area. CONTACT: (931) 289-5100
12th Annual Waterfall Tour – March 15, Silver Point
Join the friends of Edgar Evins State Park to experience the beauty of selected area waterfalls, then enjoy a delicious lunch nearby. Reservations required. CONTACT: (800) 250-8619
20th Annual A Mountain Quiltfest – March 19-22, Pigeon Forge
Large quilt show, vendor marketplace and classes with instruction by some of the nation’s top quilters highlight this popular event. CONTACT: amountainquiltfest.com
Mule Day – March 21 – April 6, Columbia (pictured)
Bring the whole family to one of the world’s biggest mule celebrations. Events include a mule sale, mule pulling, mule shows, a pancake breakfast, the flea market, a parade and more. CONTACT: (931) 381-9557
Dollywood’s Festival of the Nations – March 21 – Apr. 21, Pigeon Forge
More than 200 performers from around the world celebrate music, dance and art at this fun festival. CONTACT: 800-DOLLYWOOD
Blooming Arts Festival – March 21-22, Linden
Approximately 100+ exhibiting artists will present items such as wood carved bowls, totem poles, hiking sticks, pottery, clay figures, stained glass, weavings and more. CONTACT: (931) 994-7844
Memphis Area Master Gardeners Spring Fling – March 21-22, Memphis
Now in its tenth year, the theme of this year’s Spring Fling is “Get Out and Grow!” The two-day event offers seminars from national, regional and local experts and enthusiasts; hands-on instruction; farm-to-table cooking demonstrations and fun children’s activities. Spring Fling will take place on from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Big Red Barn at AgriCenter International. All events are free. CONTACT: (901) 270-6606
Pollyanna – March 21-22, Cookeville
Putnam and Jackson County Homeschoolers Inc. presents “Pollyanna” at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center on March 21 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and March 22 at 6 p.m. Tickets go on sale March 10. CONTACT: (931) 528-1313
Lookout Wild Film Festival – March 21-23, Chattanooga
The Lookout Wild Film Festival shows outdoor adventure and conservation films from around the Southeast and across the world. CONTACT: lookoutfilmfestival.org
2nd Annual Titanic Author’s Week – March 29 – Apr. 1, Pigeon Forge
Back by popular demand, celebrated authors of Titanic historical books will make public appearances at the Titanic Museum. All Titanic fans will have the chance to meet and interact with authors of many remarkable books written about the event. CONTACT: (800) 381-7670
Tennessee is blooming with cheese. Cow milk and goat milk, aged and fresh, soft and hard cheeses abound. Check out your local farmers market, gourmet or country grocer. Nashville even has its own cheese curator, The Bloomy Rind, which offers cut-to-order artisan cheeses from farms all over the country.
Some of our local favorites include Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, known for the Tennessee cheddar made on its East Tennessee farm, and Noble Springs Dairy in Franklin, where Dustin and Justyne Noble raise dairy goats and make chevre, or goat cheese. Those with lactose intolerance can sometimes tolerate goat cheese, which is how Dustin Noble got his start in the goat world – his brother was allergic to dairy. This soft cheese is versatile – spread it on crackers, sprinkle it on salads or serve it for breakfast, as seen in our recipe for Goat Cheese Frittata With Fresh Greens.
SEE ALSO: Noble Springs Dairy: Goat Cheese Farm
Of course, you don’t have to go to a farmers market to find local cheese. Grocery stores offer broad selections and high-quality cheeses that often use milk from Tennessee dairies.
And you, too, can be a Tennessee cheese-maker. Requiring just three ingredients and a little time, Homemade Ricotta Cheese is so fresh and creamy that you might never want store-bought ricotta again.
Come summer, combine it with heirloom tomatoes and basil to make a flavorful Fresh Ricotta Tomato Salad.
Traditional pimento (or pimiento) cheese typically has three ingredients: grated orange cheddar or American cheese, pimentos and mayonnaise. It was once considered a delicacy because the only pimento peppers on the market were imported from Spain. When they were cultivated in the American South, the most expensive and “fancy” ingredient became very affordable, which turned pimento cheese into an everyday sandwich spread.
While some recipes are so far from the original that they should not claim the name, others are reverent and inventive at the same time. White Cheddar & Olive Pimento Cheese Spread is a winner, but we would never attempt to overshadow its bright orange cousin, so we’ve included a recipe for Classic Pimento Cheese as well.
Finally, our super easy recipe for Berry Cheesecake Freezer Tart brimming with fresh spring strawberries offers the bonus of not having to turn on the oven for a decadent dessert.
Garden-fresh foods are great for our health, but the average American eats only one to two servings of fruits and vegetables per day – instead of the recommended seven to nine daily servings.
Research shows many essential nutrients in fresh produce protect against cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, as well as helping to curb weight gain. Fresh produce also contains phytochemicals, which are powerful food factors that have a positive impact on health. Brightly colored produce contains the most phytochemicals, so look for yellow, orange, red, green and purple produce.
This time of year, we recommend carrots, snow peas, collard greens and all of the other seasonal produce.
It’s that time of year again! Grab your cameras and start snapping, and send in your photos to the 19th Annual Tennessee Farm Bureau Photo Contest.
You can print out the entry form in the spring issue of Tennessee Home & Farm magazine, or by clicking on the image below. You can also enter your digital photos online at tnhomeandfarm.com/photocontest.
When O.H. “Pete” and Averil Peters get to talking about their Woodsgift Farm jams and jellies, baking mixes and handcrafted items, their passion and joy are evident. A lot of hard work goes into making, showing and selling their wares, which include a long list of food products, in addition to hats, walking sticks, knives, jewelry boxes and more. But hard work apparently agrees with the couple, whose faith and positivity keep them going strong at 83 and 79 years old, respectively.
“With the Lord’s leading, you can do a lot of different things, and it behooves you to get with it and do it – and to have a lot of fun at it! And we do,” Averil says.
She and Pete were led into jam and jelly making when they branched out from their hog farming operation in West Tennessee into you-pick blueberries.
Jams, Jellies and Memories
“In 1991, the crop was over 5,000 pounds, and we didn’t know how to market all those blueberries,” Averil recalls. “We were getting more berries than we could handle. So we decided to go into commercial sales of just blueberry jam and jelly. But while we were doing this, people asked for other flavors. So we said, ‘Oh yeah, we can do that.’ Our first brochure offered 26 flavors, and we thought, ‘Wow, we are really here.’ Today, we have about 130 items that we sell.”
“Not all jams and jellies, though,” interjects Pete. “We have pancake mixes and cookie mixes, too.”
They also sell biscuit and scone mixes, a variety of fruit butters and curds, ice cream and pancake toppings, and sugar-free versions of many of their products. They call their homemade goodies “memory foods” – reminiscent of a time when made-from-scratch condiments and treats were the norm in many a kitchen.
In 1994, they sold their farm in West Tennessee and bought the place they now call home – a 3.25-acre parcel between Greeneville and Kingsport – in order to be close to their children and grandchildren.
“We’ve been here 20 years now, and we love it,” Averil says.
The couple, who are members of the Greene County Farm Bureau, grow gooseberries, currants, elderberries, apples and pawpaws (their seasonal pawpaw butter is a top seller) on their home place.
“We also try to buy local products as best we can at the time they’re in season,” Pete says. “We buy a surplus and store it in the deep freeze until we need it.”
They have 11 freezers, as well as a walk-in cooler and two refrigerators, in the “jam house” they had custom built for the production of their Woodsgift Farm jams and jellies.
Working Together Works
As to the division of labor in the jam house kitchen, Averil is in charge of recipe development and cooking; Pete puts the lids and labels on the jars and handles the shipping and other heavy work.
“She’s the cook, and I’m the bottle capper,” he says with a laugh.
The system functions quite well. In fact, the couple has worked together at one thing or another throughout their enduring marriage.
“For 56 years, we’ve been working together, and it just gets better all the time,” Averil says. “He’s my hero, and I’m his lady – isn’t that wonderful?”
Indeed it is, as are the beautiful handcrafted items the two make. Averil designs and sews hats and bonnets, both plain and fancy, in sizes from infant to adult. “I’m working on my 19th design now,” she says. “Sewing is a passion for me. And the hats sell very well.”
Pete makes hand-carved crosses, musical jewelry boxes, hardwood canes and walking sticks – also from plain to fancy – and fixed-blade hunting knives with carved wooden handles and handmade leather sheaths.
“I make the blades out of roto-tiller tines,” he says. “They’re real tough, high-carbon steel. I have no formal training; I just picked it up on my own. It’s just something I saw and thought I could do. I’ll try about anything.”
They market their Woodsgift Farm products at about 20 craft shows and festivals each year, mainly in East Tennessee, western North Carolina and southern Virginia. Products are also available at select retailers, on-site at Woodsgift Farm and via mail order.
Get the Gifts
13705 Horton Highway
Greeneville, TN 37745
Woodsgift Farm’s mailing address is Greeneville; however, its physical location is actually closer to Kingsport – three miles north of Interstate 81 at Exit 44. Part of the Appalachian Quilt Trail, its quilt square – hanging on the jam house and bearing the pattern “Bay Leaf” – can be seen from the road.
Call ahead or email if you plan to visit or to order by mail. Woodsgift Farm can ship gift items directly to recipients and include a personalized gift message. No sales are conducted on Sundays, either on site or at shows.