Monday, February 3, 2014
The Ford Farm
Tucked between Lakeland and Willacoochie Georgia is this mystic place I had only heard about, woven in tales of hunters, lodgers, and bourbon drinkers. The Ford Farm is a place tucked way back on a dirt road engulfed in Spanish moss and thick with history. To be perfectly honest, it isn't more than about ten years old- but you would never know that driving down the windy dirt road, following the ancient signs to a place where even the rocking chairs slow down.
Husband, Wife, LMC, and Bennie packed our bags for a weekend away. Away from the internet, television, phones, and all those things that make us so busy-- that make us too busy for each other. FIL came from Smalltown and my parents meandered down, too. The seven of us took over the entire quail plantation, spilling from the main lodge into two log cabins and an additional bunking room. They opened up the mess hall for us-- long picnic tables in three rows running the length of the screened in room.
The Ford Farm is staffed with three full-time cooks (one chef for gourmet suppers and two southern cooks for a heavy, rib sticking breakfast and lunch), a hostess -- who's entire job is to get you anything you need, and a caretaker. There are also field guides and shooting assistants, among others, but you get the idea.
No details were missed- cowhide on the sofa, bear rugs on the floor, fireplaces at every opportunity, and the long-plank farm table set with the Woodlands china.
Arriving Friday afternoon, we stretched our legs and walked around the property, picking the cabin we wanted to call home for the next two nights. LMC desperately wanted bunk beds, so we picked a smaller cabin, but fully equipped with two sets of bunk beds and one king size bed. She would play on the top bunk and sleep in the tent I made for her out of excess blankets.
After skeet shooting over an open field, where I made excellent aim at the air around the skeet, Husband pulled out his pellet gun (or squirrel catcher, as I like to call it) and gave LMC a lesson in shooting. It was one of those moments where I could see the pride in Husband as he carefully and skillfully showed his daughter how to point and aim. He might have a house full of girls, but that doesn't mean he cannot teach them to enjoy such a sport.
LMC hit the tree on her first try. She missed the skeet hanging in the branch, but nailed the tree. These two parents were very proud.
Husband, Father, and FIL hunted all day Saturday while the girls entertained ourselves with watching the cooks work, getting recipes, and chasing LMC. The girls and I ran and crawled up and down the mess hall, under the tables and over the benches. We encouraged Bennie to walk- some think she took her first steps there, others... well, the jury is still out. We went into town to do some antique shopping and found our way back home.
Gloria taught me how to make biscuits- the same way her mother taught her. I feel like I confiscated a great family secret.
I asked the gourmet chef, Cory, (who trained at the Cordon Bleu in New Hampshire) question after question about cooking wild game, how he enhances his Béchamel sauce and the perks of cooking on a Viking stove. Mom and I let Bennie nap in any number of the rooms off the main lodge. That same gourmet chef took my daughter's dinner order both nights and created whatever she asked for with the greatest of ease.
This place even had bed warmers. I had never heard of such, but have already scoured the Internet trying to find them.
It was a quiet place to restore and reconnect. Husband and I were the last to leave the main lodge and I could not figure out if the gas was still on in the fireplace. As I walked outside, the chef was wrapping up some things and I said, "Hey- I don't know how to work the gas and didn't want to burn the place down. Would you mind checking it before you lock up?'
He responded, "No problem. We aren't locking up. You're home now- this is your place."
The Ford Farm holds all those things that people love about the south. It reminds me what is so lovely about being home. These farms, these plantations, these places and people, this food and this time-- it's all these little things rolled up into one burlap tied bow that made me fall in love with this wonderful place.
Tell Walter that I sent you and ask Gloria how she makes her biscuits or Cory how he cooked his sweet tater fries. Tell Mark that you shoot quadrants when you shoot skeet. Pour yourself an extra glass of ice cold milk with your breakfast and put your feet up. You're home.