Old Mill Of Guilford

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I recently web published a hunting short story titled, Bonus Bobcat 1982 of which I reference some grist mill stones and guess that triggered a trip this morning to The Old Mill of Guildford located on Highway 68 North in the town of Oak Ridge, NC.  I gave my bride short notice this morning and it didn't take too long before we were on the road again sounding like one of Willie Nelson's big hit songs.....grin if you must!

I quickly ran a map on Google and programmed the address into the Garmin GPS unit but before leaving I decided to check the fluid levels in the Buick and topped off the engine coolant in the reservoir of which I left the map print out in the carport.  It is a good thing the GPS was right on the money except for a couple exit changes that was recently made but the unit worked extremely well.

We stopped for breakfast at a MacDonald's on the other side of Seagrove, NC off 220N and enjoyed their Big Breakfast which consisted of a sausage patty, hash browns, eggs, biscuit and pancakes with syrup and a medium black coffee.  I don't think either my bride or myself finished off the entire portions and speaking for myself,  "I was tight as a Georgia tick on the back of a coonhound in the mouth of July."

It didn't take but a couple hours of scenic and pleasurable driving to get to the Old Mill of Guilford in Oak Ridge, NC and it was sometime around 11ish  when we pulled into the parking area with mixed shadows cast from the brilliant glowing overhead sun at about the 11 O'clock position with a beautiful Carolina Blue Sky backdrop with a a few white puffy cotton cumulus clouds creating a wonderful panoramic view of the Old Mill Of Guilford.  My bride and myself had fun picking out, identifying and naming the different shapes of the puffy clouds in route as if we were kids again.  It is very easy to imagine the farmers loaded horse drawn wagons pulling up in front of the main door of the mill to off load their large bulging sacks of grain ready to be ground.  Below is pix of the front entrance of the Old Mill of Guilford:

The Old Mill of Guildford has a website that documents the origin and history of the mill which is hyperlinked in this sentence, therefore I will not try and reinvent the wheel...no pun intended.  Upon arriving, there were several unique and novel hand crafted items under the overhanging porch and rest area.  Below is an ole sifter made into wind chimes:

The ole "cabbage grater" below with hanging spoons for another type of wind chime.

My bride and myself really liked this unique candle stand fabricated from horse or pony shoes welded together.

My bride taking a little short break before entering the ole grist mill.  She spotted a bunch of long slender graceful stalks of wheat planted out front with their Golden brown "ears" which contain about 40 grains of wheat each forming a braided type pattern and would move gracefully in an oscillating rhythm back and forth with the slightest hint of a breeze.  Those "ears" of wheat reminded me of the rattlers on our local Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake but without the sound:

After making our way inside the dimly lighted building,  the mill is very much operational as evidenced by the numerous sacks of different grains to be ground and also grain that has been ground, sifted, sorted and ready to be placed into individual sacks for sale.  We met a cheerful, smiling, attractive young lady named Amy that was bagging ground grain and it was her first day on the job; pix below:

The mill has a good sized sales room with a large assortment of all the grain products listed in their on line catalog along with various craft items for sale too.  I stocked up on 5 lb. sacks of white grits and got a 5 lb. bag of their yellow grits just for making my version of Charleston, SC style shrimp n grits.  Below is a pix of the miller Annie Laura Perdue and sales person behind the counter who has a beautiful accent in her lovely gentle voice :

 

Click on the below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

The grist mill's 24 feet diameter x 4 feet wide Fitz overshot water wheel was repaired a few years back and they are currently in the process of adding an insert in the main water line that crosses underneath Highway 68N and are using electric power to turn the grist mill stones.  Below a few pixs of the exterior area of the mill and there are several places that are restricted and off limits that presents a safety hazard and I didn't venture into those areas although I was "itching" to do so:

The above picture shows the large 26 inch diameter water pipe that is need of repairs (a liner insert) that shows numerous holes in it and it did route the water from the mill pond underneath Highway 68 to the top of the water wheel and then channeled the water on top of the water wheel by the flume structure or large trough but they are currently using electric power to turn the grist mill stones to grind the various grains.

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Below one of the buildings on the property that might have been used as an early tobacco barn apparently used for storage reminiscent of an old country one room store with an amenity of a small air conditioning unit added; otherwise it would take you back to the early 1900s for sure.

Below is a pix of an ole upper or runner stone which has a metal band around it and you can see the lugs carved into the stone for attachment to the drive shaft.

There is a small stream below the water wheel with the water about crystal clear.  I was hoping to see a Rainbow Trout break the water at any minute to feed on the local mayfly hatch which didn't happen...grin if you must!

The above gentle flow of water was so peaceful, serine and tranquil of which I could see the ripples in the water as it slowly trickled over the miniature shoals as it meandered on its way leaving a soft trickling sound that was totally mesmerizing!  The mirror image reflection on the small pool of water captures the outline of the foliage on the bank rendering a surreal view.  What beauty to be observed in such small things as this gentle brook with God above who created this earth.  

John 1:3 KJV  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
 

Above view of the right end of the mill that was added later as a sales room with it's beautiful and amazing fitted rock work with a few peach trees in the background beyond the picnic tables that has peaches on them about the size of a quarter.  In about a month, those peaches should be ripe enough to become the main ingredient and star in some of my good home made peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream sitting atop. 

Another grist mill stone that has long served its purpose and could possibly be one of the original stones used when the mill was first operational in 1767.  Mill stones today are bringing a premium price for landscape architecture with a 46 inch diameter stone retailing for around 6K dollars.  Of course that depends on what area you live in and how deep your pockets are too.

I purchased enough stone ground grits to last me a long time and I keep them refrigerated and/or frozen in our basement refrigerator and freezer that I use for such purposes.  I do share the grits with those that enjoy them as much as my bride and myself does.  A big serving of Old Mill of Guilford stone ground grits with a couple sunny side up eggs, large slice of country ham,  buttermilk lard biscuits and coffee; that certainly is one of my favorite breakfasts.  You need to refrigerate the product since it doesn't have any artificial additives or preservatives which in my humble opinion takes away from the true natural earthy taste of flour, corn meal or grits. 

There are a couple 1/2 lb. bags of dried apples in the above pix and plan to turn them into some fried apple pies.  Might go pretty good with the Moonshine Jelly too!

I plan to go back and take additional photographs when they get the new liner in their water supply that feeds from the mill pond underneath Highway 68 to the water wheel at the mill.   My bride and myself enjoyed this short scenic day trip and it is great to be able to view some history from the past up close and personal.

The Old Mill Of Guilford is a very scenic tourists attraction that will take you back in time when things moved at a much slower pace and definitely worth stopping by and leaving with some of the stone ground products that they offer for sale!   I highly recommend the products of The Old Mill Of Guilford.  "Store bought" grits does not compare with stone ground grits produced without artificial additives.

In closing, Two of the greatest ships that ever sailed:  Friendship and Fellowship!

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 06-15-13.

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