Friday, August 31, 2012

Historic Stauber Farm Bethania North Carolina

My friends Lamar and Charles Taft are the current residents of the historic Stauber Farm in Bethania, North Carolina.



Although the protestant Moravians settled Bethania in the 18th century, this farm was established in the 1830's about a mile outside of the compact outpost of the original settlement, designed  for protection from Indians and the various military conflicts of their eras. General Cornwallis billeted in Bethania during the revolution.  The French and Indian war compelled the outlying population to seek the protection of their stockade, and later residents avoided the burning of General Sherman, thus preserving this historic and magic sliver of history. Unusually, the Taft family is only the fourth family to hold deed to this property.

This carefully restored plantation house was built in 1852 replacing the previous more modest structures on the property. Charles, a retired orthopedic surgeon, tends his flock of St. Croix sheep, breeding them with great care as they are in danger of extinction.



The St. Croix sheep are considered heritage livestock, in the same way we cherish heirloom flowers and vegetables. In fact, the entire place is an heirloom tribute to the past, although I cannot say sweeter and gentler times. As previously noted, three different armies have marched down this old plank road. The Moravian ancestors were stern religious pioneers.

This would be Anna Vogler, nee Stauber. While I think Charles and Lamar have gone the extra mile in the preservation department, Anna wove and sewed and worked harder than any of us can even imagine. She doesn't look very happy about it either. We were met by some very modern hospitable guides as we rolled into the driveway.


                                        We began our tour through Lamar's magical gardens.


                                        My youngest guide informed me the bell is just for fun.



The Tafts rent their farm out for weddings, photo shoots and vacation rentals. Despite the fact that we are only 15 miles from town, we feel miles and years removed from the world. Charles's domain is the farm and the animals. My opinion is that if the Moravians settled this land in the mid 1700's it must be prime. There are ancient Indian artifacts in Bethania as well, so they thought so too.


In addition to the St. Croix sheep, Charles raises Delaware chickens, honey bees and supporting crops. When we arrived, Charles was hurrying to get the alfalfa out of the rain. He has meticulously restored the historically significant barns, sheds and dependencies on the  place.

I really don't know how they do it, but the donkey protects the sheep and lambs from coyotes. He's quite friendly and greets us at the fence for a nuzzle.




I often make a detour to Bethania to buy Dr. Taft's delicious eggs. He has developed mobile chicken houses on the property to fertilize the fields for the livestock and flower beds. The chickens eat the insects and move along to create greener pastures for the sheep.



 We just open the door to the traveling chicken house and pick our eggs for breakfast--no foraging around here! I must say they are delicious.

Here is where the Tafts can find a little honey for their toast and tea. Lamar and Charles are inspirational in their love of preservation and commitment to sustainable farming. They walk the walk and share their passion for our roots with all their friends. Next week, we will go into the house and get a glimpse of Moravian life. Ironically, our best selling chandelier is a Moravian star. 

                                                              Moravian Star Chandelier
Dovecote Decor
In Winston-Salem, we hang them outside our front doors during advent so for us, they fall into the category of Christmas decorations. I was surprised to see what a hit they are for daily use as chandeliers! 

More later!!
Photography via Stauber Farms website and Rosalie Horton



10 comments:

  1. I felt I was right there, thank you, what a wonderful and inspiring, gentle story Liz!

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  2. How lovely to have you back.

    I'm going to be thoroughly boring and say I love everything about this post and that farm, because it's true. 'Specially loved that donkey though, peering cheekily round the door frame (has s/he a name?). I've heard that alpacas are often used for the same protective purposes. And just in general, thank goodness for people like the Tafts - may there be more and more of them. I think, actually, that there are more and more of them.

    P

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  3. I love this post Liz! Beautiful! Hope you are having a great weekend!

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  4. Liz thank you for this amazing tour. I love it when people are loyal to their heritage.
    The sheep are wonderful!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  5. What an amazing property. I can't even imagine how they keep up with it all!! Those St. Croix sheep are just so charming!

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  6. Liz-
    As always, you bring us something so wonderful and meaningful. I love sheep and lambs, so this grabbed at my heart immediately. The barn and gardens are gorgeous, and the donkey is a riot!
    Look forward to seeing the home.
    Have a great weekend.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  7. Loved that trip down on the farm Liz. The place looks enchanting!
    Lynn

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  8. so funny....
    i just did the chicken coop post....
    and here you have posted absolute farm bliss.

    i want the lambs!!!

    xox

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  9. Liz, this is like something
    out of a story book {although
    I'm sure Charles and Lamar
    know all about the hard work
    it takes to give this impression}!!

    Sheep melt my heart.

    Love the guides, too!

    xo Suzanne

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  10. It's nice to know that places like this still exist and thrive. Those guides couldn't be any cuter!

    xo Elizabeth

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