Yesterday was an eventful day for my son Jonathan and myself that had us motoring down to Citronelle ALA to do a large residential pressure wash job.
It was eventful because it was a grand reunion of ours for some dear friends I once was a pastor to and have not seen in many years.
Scottie Brown and wife Nancy, both in their 60s, greeted us with open arms and warm heart.
Scottie was a skilled worker with industrial construction as a supervisor and project manager most of those 42 years, retiring in 2017.
Scottie along with his dad Bill and brothers Gary and Tim helped me carve out and develop a 40-acre cut over piece of property for a dwelling place back in the late 80s in Greene Co. that I am forever grateful for.
Our Lord and Savior suffered and died on an old rugged cross.
I suffered and almost died on a rugged piece of cut over land!
But it got done because of these fine kind men.
Their home has to be the most unique place I can ever remember seeing and could easily be featured in Southern Homes and Garden.
The 8 1/2-acre estate was once a horse farm as Nancy has been an avid horseman for years.
(In fact, the two meet astride horses when 10 year olds in a horse competition and have been in love ever since!)
It is also her grandfather's old home place but has been developed into something you would expect to see at some ritzy ski resort in Colorado!
The two-story house is faced with stone inside and out and the interior has exotic imported wood from Peru the cabinets and flooring are made from.
Words escape me to describe the southern charm this dwelling place smacks with including Nancy's outdoor kitchen and sitting place.
If I ever saw a 1. something million-dollar estate, I saw one yesterday at the Brown residence.
Nothing like it, another Bellingrath Gardens on a smaller scale.
But what really caught my eye was what Scottie shared with me out in the horse stables, these old sinker pine logs he and his brother Tim pulled from nearby Escatawba (healing waters)River.
Pictured here is Scottie and a 'bowl tree' that once was a standing pine along the river and used for harvest of the sap and collected from the bowl carved out at the base.
It was a common practice for these old standing pines (like the yellow pine and what we call turkey pines) to be used to collect the sap and turn it into turpentine, a much sought out commodity in the bygone days.
Much like the folks do up north with maple trees collecting the sap from the trees to make maple syrup.
Like Scottie's relic shown here, the V-shaped cuts are called "catfaces" for their resemblance to a cat's whiskers.
These marks on a pine tree signify it was used to collect resin for turpentine production and called 'chipping' the trees.
I didn't know turpentine had so many uses until I researched it out.
Turpentine (which is also called spirit of turpentine), is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin harvested from living trees, mainly pines.
Its uses are many and varied, presently as a solvent but in those old days when sailing ships were made of wood used to preserve the wood and so much more.
For hundreds of years, it was used as a medicine and as a lamp oil for light.
As a solvent, turpentine is still used for thinning oil-based paints, for producing varnishes, and as a raw material for the chemical industry.
A solution of turpentine and beeswax or carnauba wax has long been used as a furniture wax.
Its uses was even included in the production of perfume and so much more!
Those old pines meant more to those old timers than I ever knew, more than just the lumber made from them.
In short, even though we as a society have moved on to more efficient products and lifestyles, i was moved by what I saw yesterday at the Brown estate, especially the old 'bowl tree' log.
A huge thank you to Scottie and Nancy Brown for their gracious reception and tour of their lovely place.
God bless you and God bless America.