One of the greatest benefits of tending the showroom at From the Ground Up is meeting people. I can be quite the recluse given half a chance, but all it takes to draw me out of my cave is an interesting couple like Stephen and Lisa Lindsay Young of Martin, Tennessee.
I was upstairs in our home above the showroom when I noticed a big pickup truck parked downstairs. I rushed to get my shoes on and scoot down the steps. Stephen, quite a big fellow who stood taller than my six-foot frame, asked about all the trees I had on my pots.
I explained the origin of my trees, telling him they were inspired by the Uwharrie Mountain Run and the awards that I do every year for hundreds of participants in the 8, 20 and 40-mile runs.
"I've always loved trees, and I drew a lot of trees as a child," I said. I shared the story of finding a new source of clay behind our land where someone dug a road to get to 30 acres of trees that they clear cut.
Now, I'm making pots out of that clay and "planting" trees again, I explained.
While checking out one of my wind bells out front, Stephen told me of a 100-year-old pecan tree that a previous landowner had cut down. The tree used to live on the 24 acres of land Stephen and his wife bought, but the previous owner felled the tree to make room for a double-wide mobile home.
"If they'd o' moved the house ten feet, they wouldn't have needed to cut that tree down," he said.
After the Youngs moved onto the land, neighbors told them that an old man used to come to that pecan tree every year during his late sister's birthday to pick up pecans and water the tree.
"His sister planted the tree there on her birthday," Lisa said, adding that the old man died within months of the tree being cut down.
Stephen and Lisa, who planted 7,000 trees in Texas before they moved to Tennessee, said they recently planted an orchard of 60 fruit trees on their land, as well as an acre of Timothy hay. Apple trees, cherry trees, pecan trees, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries....
Seems they don't have many rabbits, or a lot of wildlife in general on their land. So, they're making a haven for the wildlife. When they planted all the fruit trees and shrubs, neighbors told them the animals would end up eating it all.
"As far as we're concerned," said Stephen, "we're reclaiming the land from the beasts.
The animals aren't the beasts."
Lisa posted signs on the property, said Stephen, that say "Poachers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again."
Did I mention rabbits?
Lisa found a tiny baby rabbit in front of their house, and in spite of everyone telling her she couldn't do it, she raised the rabbit until it grew into an adult rabbit. The rabbit - Bubba - eventually chewed a hole through the screen porch, and one day Lisa went out and lead Bubba to the front of the house.
Bubba found the spot where Lisa had found him, sniffed around a bit as rabbits do, and bounded off into the woods.
Lisa reckons Bubba got the scent of some of her siblings and felt that inner pull from nature to go be a real rabbit.
She stills keeps some food out for him just in case.