Fall Newsletter 2020

Hello Friends,

Hope you are all staying safe in this new Covid-19 world we are now living in.  We’ve had several friends who have tested positive, but came through it ok.  We did, however, lose one of our close friends to COVID.  Lennie Walker, at age 52, was being treated for cancer when he tested positive, and two days later, he passed.  Please, wear a mask when out in public, it’s not that hard to do.

The animals here at The Onley Place are doing just fine.  Last fall we bought a new red mule, named “Jack” of course.  He is broke to ride, although I haven’t tried him yet.  As I get older, I realize it won’t take much to break a hip.  He is a gelding, as is the Mustang white horse “Jesse”.  They get along “OK”, at least they have each other for company.

We have a new yellow cat but haven’t named him yet.  He’s still getting used to living in a hay barn.  We did see him a few days ago with a mouse………….” good cat”.  The bantam rooster, “Bill Johnson” and his two hens hatched and raised about a dozen chicks this spring……Anyone need chickens?

And “Highball”, the beagle, is doing great. He’s such a loving little outside dog.  If he’s barking a lot, I know to go and check out the situation.  We only let him inside the sunroom on winter nights, when it’s too cold outside.  I’m sure he’s looking forward to winter again.

Gene and I have been trying to get back in the honey bee business again, but not much luck.  We caught three swarms last spring.  One swarm left just two days after we caught them, and another died out.  The third swarm was doing great, until a few weeks ago, when a bear tore the hive apart.  We’ll probably catch another swarm or two next Spring.

Farmers around here are starting to pick corn, now that it has dried up a little.  If you live in the country, you know the sweet smell of corn being picked.  And soon, it will be peanuts, cotton, and soybeans, all with a different aroma.  My nephew, Damon, and his friend Donald planted sorghum to make molasses back in the spring.  I had a cane press, so worked to set it up, and to build a pit to hold the cooking vat.  However, the cane was planted too early, and when picked, it was too dry.  We did squeeze the juice out, getting 14 gallons, which cooked down to only one gallon of sorghum syrup (molasses).  Next year, we’ll plant the cane a month or so later, and pick it while it still has a lot of juice in it.  We put pics on Facebook, btw.

In the Spring, we bought a new Z-turn mower.  Folks had been telling me how much better it was than a riding mower, but now I know it is.  However, I’ve learned the downside of the Z-turn.  It gets stuck MUCH easier than a rider does.  And, you can’t let loose of the control levers to scratch your nose while driving it.  But with the Z and the John Deere rider mower together, Gene and I can mow ALL the grass in a couple of hours.  We also bought a UTV to use around the farm.  It has a dump body on the back, so we can use it for many small chores around here.  It saves a lot of steps, and it’s fun to drive, too.  Boy has it come in handy already.

I’ve worked on the old houses a little since last year, also.  The circa 1850’s “Heber Eason House” now has old bead-board in the ceiling, and along the lower part of the walls, below a chair rail.  I saved the beadboard, which was all over the house when I got it, and put back as much as I could (i.e.…ceiling and below chair rail).  I’m hoping to put sheetrock on the rest of the walls soon.  I’m not really fixing them up to rent out, as that would take too much money to get them up to the proper building codes.  I just wanted to save the old houses.

We now have #1 the “Heber Eason House” circa 1850, #2 the “Heber Eason kitchen” circa 1900, #3 the “James Stallings kitchen” circa 1900, and #4 the “White/Rountree house” known to be of 1765.

We’ve had a couple of weddings here since the Covid-19 restrictions, but the attendance of guests had to be cut way back.  Even with only a few people here, they were beautiful.  If you haven’t already, go to our Facebook page and look at some of the pics.  (friendsoftheonleyplace)  When we built the barn, we never thought about using it for a wedding venue, but thank goodness it worked out.  For those of you who don’t already know, the barn was built for square dancing, as I was a square dance caller for 35 years.  Square dance friends from all over helped to build the barn.  What great fun and fellowship we had building and eating and dancing during the years it was going up.  The first dance we had here was under the stars, with only half the floor down.  What great friends I have!

Gene and I had planned a trip to Italy and Greece this spring, which, of course, got canceled.  We did get most of our air-fare back but lost most of the pre-paid Air B&B’s that were already paid for.  Not sure now when we’ll be able to reschedule that trip.

If you’re wondering about that book I’ve been working on for so long, well, it’s pretty much done.  I had four sample copies run and put them in binders myself.  I’ve given them to a couple of friends to look over, as I need to make some changes, I’m sure.  As of now, it’s 379 pages, with many maps and pictures of this community included.  The book only focuses on this immediate community of “Nicanor”, tracing the very first land grants of the late 1600s and 1700s.  It also traces most of this land to its present ownership, which also includes a lot of genealogy.  And most of these folks were my descendants.  I also was able to make a map of the grants and patents, like a jig-saw puzzle.  It wasn’t easy, as all the early grants say “400 acres on the northerly side of the river”, and things like “beginning at a maple sapling and running a southerly course to three pines”.  But if you follow the sales, you eventually come up with better coordinates, and sometimes a drawn plat.  I have hundreds of copies of deeds and Wills that I got from the Perquimans County Register of Deeds office.  They have all the Perquimans’ land deeds amazingly filed, and copies can easily be made.  Not sure if I will get it published any time soon, but who knows.

And now for our shows.  Sadly, we have canceled our October show and our Christmas show.  The Valentines Show is up in the air.   With the restrictions on crowd size, we just can’t pay for the shows.  But it’s a long time between now and February, we just have to see what happens this winter.  I must say, it’s not looking good, and we don’t want to risk folks being exposed to the virus.  As we all know, you can have it and spread it, without ever knowing it.  I do not believe it’s going to just “disappear”.   Gene is still going to do some decorations for Christmas, as we have a December wedding here, and most likely, our family Christmas party will be here.

That’s about all for now from The Onley Place.  Stay safe…..wear a mask…..and PLEASE vote.


Steve Casper

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