Farm Life, an exhibit by local artists honoring the roots of Highland County farms, is now on display in the Mountainview Room of the Highland County Public Library.

Highland County has a long, rich tradition of farming and farm families. Native Americans had long traveled through these lands as part of their traditional hunting and gathering season. But settling into these mountains required strength and determination. Clearing the land, making fence, raising buildings for shelter and storage, dealing with the uncertainty of weather, bearing children, and burying kin were their lives. Creating things of beauty that could be useful was also important – requiring imagination and skill. When the chores were finished, farm folks continued to work creatively with their hands. Old clothes became quilts or pillows, threads were woven into embroidery, sorghum became brooms, wool spun to tapestry and willow or oak became baskets. Farm life also included many joyous activities – making music, dancing, storytelling, church socials, and quilting bees. 

Modern farm life may be very different in some ways from the traditional, but many of the same difficult truths still exist. This past winter here was a difficult time for many – the ground stayed wet and the mud was deep. But the farms and the people who live the life keep working. They live close to the land and endure what comes. Many of the farms in Highland have been in the same families for generations. It’s a history to be proud of and a way of life to be treasured. 

The farm life in Highland is celebrated here in art work inspired by its traditions. If you need it, you can make it – new or repurposed. Something useful is also a thing of beauty. The land, the sky, the animals, the work and the play of farm life are all a part of our history – and our future. 

“We have neglected the truth that a good farmer 

is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist” 

-Wendell Berry 

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