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Jim Hamrick in the Red Bay Farm forestOur small flock of chickensBeard the goat

May 23-24 May, 2015:

We work hard to earn La Casita's ☆☆☆☆☆ rating. One of La Casita's recent reviews: "We had a simply amazing stay here! Jim and Elizabeth are so kind, warm, welcoming, helpful, and hospitable. My only concern prior to booking was how loud the farm animals might be, but the only thing I heard during our stay were little frogs when it rained, which was additionally delightful. The neighboring goats were charming and sweet, and loved our bread offerings. This is a beautiful house, which the hosts stocked with bonus amenities (towels, soap, extra pillows, etc), PLUS added bonuses (full kitchen complete with spices and ingredients, coffee, tea, popcorn, shampoo, laundry supplies, BBQ grill, etc). The house was actually much more modern than I expected from the description, very new, clean, and nicely designed. We loved the game room with the massive TV, pool table, and wood burning stove. This is a great hub for exploring the natural beauty and towns in the area. Jim & Elizabeth are the best!!"

May 22, 2015

Just finished the Summer 2015 La Casita Newsletter. Enjoy!

May 12-21 May, 2015:

Busy, Busy! What's going on around here at La Casita and Redbay Farm. Well...a deep subject...ha! Digging new wells for irrigation and to keep Dragon Fly pond full to the top in the summer. Gotta love PVC pipe. I wonder if in a thousand years historians will be saying a major cause of the downfall of this or that civilization was PVC pipe...ergo lead pipe in Rome. Anyway, having fun doing 'old man' drilling using water pressure and PVC pipe. Not finished, looks promising. Go to How To Drill Your Own Water Well if you want to learn how to drill your own well.

La Casita is pretty much full through mid August. Thank you to everyone who has made our first year a success. We really appreciate you and we look forward to serving you again. Late August and the Fall months are pretty much wide open for booking. Fall is a beautiful time of year here...you can still go to the beach all the way into October some years. If the weather turns cold just snuggle up in our family room by the fire and watch TV, Read or just hang out playing pool. La Casita is now booked exclusively through Airbnb...as property owners we love Airbnb. We think you will too! Book La Casita by visiting our Airbnb listing.

Memorial Day...remember why it is celebrated? Here is a refresher. Memorial Day History. So while you are out there having fun remember all of the American men and women who died fighting to defend their beliefs. From the American Civil War to today soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen have fought and died in defense of the values of their homeland. Just remember as you enjoy the freedom you have in the United States to have a great weekend celebrating in any way you desire. Have a great weekend!

May 11, 2015:

More information on North Carolina's Antebellum Turpentine Industry: yesterday I wrote about a section of 'catfaced' timber I had found while demolishing an old building on Redbay Farm. The picture is from the North Carolina Museum of Natural History website on the Antebellum North Carolina Page. Swansboro was a major collection point for Naval

Stores (turpentine, pitch and tar). From Swansboro through the West Channel (before it was silted in as an apparent result of deforestation), schooners would tranport the naval stores out to major ports like Wlimington for transport throughout the world. Naval stores were used to maintain wooden sailing ships and were a very important resource for the British Royal Navy and other navies around the world. If you are interested reading one of the best accounts of the North Carolina turpentine industry and learning the origin of names like Richlands, Paradise Point, Montford Point etc I recommend reading The Old Plantation: How We Lived in Great House and Cabin Before the War, James Battle Avirret, 1901. I would assume that the turpentine industry in and around Swansboro mirrored that industry as described in Avirret's book.

Each man is furnished with a tool called a roundshave, which is of finely tempered steel, in the shape of a small knife, round and bent like your forefingers curved from the second joint, about an inch and a half in width, with a shank about seven inches in length to fit in a wooden handle. With this sharp instrument he scores horizontally just above the box or pocket and thus keeps the pores open and the sap running freely into the box. If the winter is an open or warm one the insertion of the box will have set the pine to bleeding so freely as to fill the box by the tenth of April. If so, another set of hands come with their dippers and buckets,dip out the boxes and fill their buckets, which they empty into barrels dropped at convenient places here and there by negro boys with their mule carts.(Avirret, pp 67-68)

Realize that this book, The Old Plantation: How We Lived in Great House and Cabin Before the War, is a description of the Antebellum South focused on the culture and specifically written about The Rich Lands, the plantaion which is the namesake of the current town of Richlands, NC. It is a book of history...make your own assessments of its value. I am interested in the book from a forestry, history and agricultural perspective.

Here in the Swansboro area we had our own major and minor plantations. Palo Alto (house still standing near Maysville) was the largest and there were other minor plantations like Mount Pleasant nearer to Swansboro.

Read more about Palo Alto at David Ward Sanders and Family on the Swansboro Historical Society page.

When you stay at La Casita, sit down on the back porch, see the catfaced marks of the roundshave, touch the hard smooth wood, and smell the fragrance of that very heavy piece Long Leaf timber. Imagine all of the hands that have touched that piece of wood through the last hundred or more years.

April 25-May 10, 2015:

New Hen's: I traded my old greenhouse for 5 Buff Orpington hens. One eyed Willy, my rooster, is enjoying the company of the

new girls and the 4 Barred Rock hens in his coop.

A gift for Elizabeth: As some of you know Cantaloupe,

pictured in the hammock, passed away earlier this year. I used some old notched heart pine timbers, some solid lighter wood, to make the border for a raised bed garden. I estimate the timbers to be at least 100 years old. They had been reused from a barn or home to act as the floor sills for a home built in around 1950 on our place, Redbay Farm. I found cat facing on one of the timbers; tool marks of the antebellum turpentine industry
here in the tarheel state. The little statue of the angel is over Cantaloupe's grave. I planted petunias all around the grave area. At the
ends of the garden I planted eggplant and tomatoes. The little garden contains some of Elizabeth's favorite things; her favorite vegetables, a palm tree, flowers and of course memories of her precious little dog.

A Picture is worth a thousand words: I posted this overhead image to show the location of our tree farm, La Casita and all of the great destinations just a short distance away.

April 19-24, 2015:

Elizabeth and I take great pride in offering our guests superb accommodations at reasonable prices in the desirable town of Swansboro, NC. Below is our latest review:

My experience at La Casita far exceeded my expectations. The listing is exactly as described but much more. It was spotlessly clean when we arrived with everything we could possibly need. The house is in a normal area of family homes but the fact that it backs up to 'country' made if very enjoyable. We loved the goats and saw lots of bird life while sitting on the patio enjoying coffee in the morning. We loved just sitting on the patio especially because it was out of the wind (sometimes strong at the coast). The kitchen was the best stocked of any rental I've had. It has nice usable pans etc instead of the banged up, burnt up pots with no lids you usually fine in other places. Jim checked frequently to make sure we had what we needed. We took their suggestions for dinner one night and got fresh seafood (Capt Phillips) the next that we cooked on the grill (very easy to use). There was easy access to the historic area via a back road as well as easy access to a 2 grocery stores. The entertainment options were great - a nice TV with both cable and streaming options so you could pick up where you left off at home.This place is a jewel!

Book with us. Your stay will be enjoyable and memorable.

This week we have guests staying with us from California. It is our pleasure to share La Casita with our new friends and see them enjoy all that Eastern North Carolina has to offer.

Top guest destinations are: driving out to Emerald Isle and walking out on the Bogue Inlet Pier (it's free to walk out on the pier); visiting the the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores; and taking the Hammocks Beach State Park ferry over to Bear Island.

***Upcoming Events (contact me if you want more information):

About Redbay Farm

Redbay Farm is a 47 acre suburban tree farm. Our tree farm is named after the Redbay Tree. Like small family owned farms and undeveloped land the Redbay is a threatened species. The tree is being slowly decimated by an imported virus. Read The Unnecessary Extinction of the Redbay, a defining southern tree to learn more. The Redbay tree is an important food tree for bees, deer, and turkey. The wood has been used for cabinetry. The leaves can be used to season seafood or other foods as one would use bay leaf. The leaves and wood have a lovely bay scent. Redbay Farm forms the start of the headwaters for for Hall's Creek and Cartwheel Branch which are tributaries to Queens Creek and the White Oak River.

A couple of years ago we bought the house next door, Redbay Cottage. Now we rent our kids next door vacation house, La Casita. Right out the securely fenced back yard you see the Redbay Farm Forest. For more information visit our La Casita webpage.

The Redbay Farm website provides useful information for anyone interested in being a forest owner, owning/managing a guest house, or becoming a backyard farmer.

Useful Information

To help myself and others I started this web site to capture ideas which I may implement at Redbay Farm and La Casita. Some of the ideas I have collected may be of interest to visitors. Have fun exploring the website pages and the links listed below.

The list above is just a sampling of the information that is available throughout this web site. Visit the table of contents and you will find an index of web pages.

The Local Area - Come to Swansboro, the Friendly City by the Sea

During your visit to the Crystal Coast area of North Carolina please keep in mind that Redbay Farm is one of the many small tracts of forest and farmland still remaining in the area that contribute to the clean water, abundant seafood resources and beauty of Bogue Sound, White Oak river and Queens Creek. Just think about that when you see the beautiful clean water or eat a plate of local seafood. Clean water is a product of well managed streets, yards, forests and farms. When you stay at La Casita ...you will have a better time and be supporting local people and help to preserve the environment.

As you plan your trip check out the links below for information about some low cost destinations in or near "The Friendly City By the Sea." Click the "Let's Go" button after selecting a destination from the drop down list. You just can't miss when you visit Swansboro!

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Redbay Farm by Jim Hamrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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updated Jan 13, 2015