Fall Newsletter 2019

Hello Friends,

Well, another year has gone by, and pretty fast at that.  There’s lots to catch up on here at The Onley Place; which seems to have become quite a popular place to get married.  Who would have thought back when we were building the barn that so many weddings would happen here?  For all of you who helped make the barn possible……I’m sure all the newlyweds say “Thanks.”

Our old horse, “Lizzie” passed away this spring.  She was 32 or 33 years old, which is very old for a horse.  We had been expecting it for a couple of years, and even though she kept eating and grazing, she got poorer and poorer.  We had already gotten another horse “Jesse” to replace the mule “Candy” who passed away last year.  “Jesse” is a light gray mustang gelding.  He, too, is mostly a lawnmower for the pasture.  We are looking for another pony to be a pasture mate.

Our dog “Highball” is as loveable as ever.  He’s an outside dog, except when it’s very cold, then we let him in the back porch for the night.  He loves everybody and is a hit at all the weddings.  Thank goodness he’s past the “puppy stage”, very mellow now, and thinks he’s King of The Onley Place.  He is!

The bantam rooster “Bill Johnson” and his four hens raised about 25 little chicks this spring.  I gave most of them away, but still, have a couple of roosters and hens if anyone needs any.

We are trying to get back into beekeeping again, so Gene and I caught 3 swarms of bees this spring.  One of the swarms didn’t like the new home we put them in and left.  I watched them swarm up in the top of a pine tree behind the barn, then all took off into the woods, never to be seen again.  Of the two left, one is doing pretty good and one is not.  Next spring, I’m planning on putting new queens in both hives.  Maybe then we’ll have some honey.

We haven’t had anything going on at the barn all summer, which gave us plenty of time to do maintenance.  Our stage has been set up on temporary “blocks” since we began functions here.  That was because we thought we might want to move it.  But after all these years, it was time to put a permanent foundation under it.  We put a studded wall under it and secured it permanently to the floor.

I also added another receptacle in the stage floor for bands to use.  I repaired the footings of the old bench on the front porch and painted it.  That bench came out of the old Perquimans County Court House, and I believe it was made in the 1800s.  We built some new shelves on the front wall to show more old “antiques” folks have given us.  Even have some of Gene’s old toys from his childhood on it.

We also cut down a few gum trees in front of the barn this summer.  Those gumballs are a pain mowing when they begin to fall.  Mowing grass is like shooting a rapid-fire bazooka after they fall. (by the way, as a gun owner myself……can’t we please get some gun laws passed!!!)  We cut the trees into blocks and I bought a wood splitter to split them.  We do enjoy the wood stove when it’s very cold outside.  Have you ever tried to split gumwood with an ax?  It’s almost impossible, the grain twisting around so much.  I once heard a man say he bought some new gum boards and built a smokehouse.  He hung his hams and built a fire inside to smoke the meat.  The next morning, the boards had warped so bad, his hams were hanging on the outside of the smokehouse………lol.  So, my woodshed is full now.

This past weekend, we had our first wedding of the fall season.  My 2nd cousin, Christy, was married here and Gene was the Mister of Ceremonies.  It was a beautiful wedding.  We have 5 more weddings before the end of the year, including 2 just before Christmas.  And, we have 2 dinner theaters, along with a couple of private parties also.

Gene and I have taken a few short trips this summer.  We went to Sea World in Orlando for a few days, stopping in Savannah, GA. (our favorite place to visit).  We also went to Asheville, NC for a long weekend, and the OBX for a few days.  And of course…..we ate some great food….Aaah the Mellow Mushroom.

If you are wondering about my progress on the book I’m putting together, I’m almost done.  It’s now just over 300 pages; Wow!  I began researching the very first land grants in the neighborhood and traced them to the present day.  LOTS of land sales and purchases from 1700 to go through.  I’ve been going to the Register of Deeds office here in the county for several years now, and have probably 500 or more deed copies.  I bring them home, retype them so I can easily read them, and index them.   These deeds are a treasure trove of genealogy and local history.  (I have been deep into genealogy for about 40 years).  With the information I have compiled, I have put together a map, like a jigsaw puzzle, of the original land grants.  And mind you, the first hundred years or so, there were not plats drawn, only a rough description of the patent.  But if you keep following the progression through the deeds, you eventually are able to place it on the map.  I work on this almost every day and love it.  So, maybe another year and I’ll have it all done.  Then on to the next history project…….George Washington in Craney Island.

Our first dinner show this year is October 12th.  Our ol’ barn buddy Mike Hott, from Charlottesville, VA and some of his friends will be here, along with the regulars.  “Mike and The Hott Band” will include Mike Hott on bass, Ronnie Lambrich on guitar, keyboards, and vocals, Noah Smith on drums, and James Tamelcoff (with that deep Johnny Cash voice) on guitar and vocals.  Topside will be catering.

Our Christmas show this year will be Dec. 6 & 7 with “The Hallelujah Crew”.  They were here this past April and include Adam Nixon, Chuck Hodges, Chris Palastrant and Glenn Harris.  Connie Riddick, Jo White, and the regulars will be here also, and Topside is catering.  The barn will be decked out!!

Our Valentine’s show will be February 14th and 15th, with “Out-N-The Cold”!  Connie Riddick and the regulars will be here too.  And again, Topside will cater.

Our April show next year will be April 4th.  Our barn friend “Lacey Jean” Winslow & Friends will do the show.  If you were at the show last year with her, you know what a great job Lacey did.  We’re really looking forward to her and her friends here, again.

That’s about all for now.  Hang in there for the remaining dog days of summer, even if you have to mow the grass twice a week!  Enjoy those last juicy tomato sandwiches and squash fritters…….vegetable beef soup time is coming fast.


Steve Casper

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