November 2005
Farm Fresh Memories



 When I walked up on the porch of The Flat Rock General Store Monday morning there was this big old sign attached to one of the double front doors.

It was Slim’s annual fall getaway. For several years now he and Essex have been spendin’ a week in the mountains of East Tennessee. The first few years they visited/stayed in Gatlinburg, then Sevierville and, in more recent years, a slower paced Townsend, Tennessee. Much closer to Cades Cove and just a hop, skip and jump over the mountains to the much faster moving tourist areas of Gatlinburg and Sevierville.

There will be a full report on their mountain trip/visit in the coming weeks. It always includes the daily visit to Cades Cove, Slim’s favorite mountain place, with all its history, natural beauty and magnificant wildlife. The mountain’s fall colors, usually a day or two at the fall craft fair, Dollywood, a new local eatin’ place, outlet shopping and usually one or two mountain shows, maybe even a hop over the big mountains to Cherokee, North Carolina.

Everyone knows Slim will come home with a story or two about a new friend he made while in the mountains. There was this one year when he and Essex stayed over in Sevierville that they actually met and visited for a spell with Dolly Parton (Ms. East Tennessee Mountains herself).

The regulars Ms. Ida, Bro., Farlow and Willerdean Wedge, "Truth" and Estelle, The Widow Cora, S.R., J.R., and "Hatch" will all take THEIR turns at tending The Store during Slim and Essex’s mountain trip. Farlow or "Truth" usually open in the morning and other regulars fill in during each day. Estelle has to pull her time working at The Store the first of the week cause her hair factory is open Thursday through Saturday of each week, or by appointment on occasion.

Fall has been very busy around Flat Rock. With very little rain, the harvest has progressed rapidly to near completion. The corn is out; it was probably a near normal crop. Cotton in my guesstimation is going to be short, about two thirds of a normal crop. Soybean yields will be well below normal yields because of the extreme summer heat and extended dry spell. ’Course the cattlemen and hunters have had some rain but, they are needin’ more rain to get all their fall and winter forages and wildlife plots up and growing to full stands. I know for a fact my sons, Heath and Dustin, have planted all the Mossy Oak Biologic and Marshall Ryegrass wildlife plots at Potter’s Mud Creek Farm and they are ready for a real slow and steady overnight rain.

Most of the local hunters had a very light early season dove harvest, probably because of the heat and dry weather. "Truth," Farlow, and all the guys have had their bows out back of The Store sightin’ them in on the old bale of cotton moats. There’s been a little bow huntin’, mostly they have just been scoutin’ and placin’ stands and shootin’ houses gettin’ ready for gun season.

Also, my Daddy, "Pop" C.C., is finishing up with the C.C. Potter Family Farm tours (chickens, cows and crops) for the area school children and lots of their parents. "Thank you"!!! "Pop" for helping keep agriculture and rural life alive for future generations. It is so very important.

Bro. has been busy making plans and puttin’ up flyers gettin’ ready for the church Thanksgiving celebration and covered dish supper on the Tuesday night shy of Thanksgiving. It’s at the Baptist church, but Bro. will be expectin’ a large crowd of just Flat Rock community folk to come, it bein’ planned for Tuesday night so as not to interfere with any other local Wednesday night church services.

The ladies have been decoratin’ and sprucin’ up around The Store with pumpkins, pansies, mums, new crop sweet potatoes, corn stalks, hay bales, ear corn, fresh harvest peanuts, ornamental gourds and fall apples and also their "for sale" items. They even had J.R. and "Hatch" washing windows and blowing the early fall leaves off the front porch of The Store.

Slim will be expectin’ some changes when he and Essex return to The Store on Monday next. But, he will probably be surprised at all the clear windows and fall decoratin’ around The Store. The ladies have really worked hard and had everyone else working hard to spruce up the place.

Yep, "Fall’s Here" and progressing right along for most Flat Rock Folk!!!

Course it won’t be fall for me and Mr. Kyle Smith if we don’t get to go to White Lake, South Dakota, to Mr. Don Reeves Pheasant Ranch on our annual/yearly pheasant hunt, truly great fun.



Joe Potter is a former vocational agriculture teacher, FFA advisor, retired county agent (Colbert County) for Auburn University and is currently regional sales manager for the Wax Company of Amory, MS. His book, Farm Fresh Memories, is available for $15.00 plus shipping; order by phone at 256-332-0676 or emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..