Monday, December 09 booked.net

Category: People & Places

The Beacon Bed and Breakfast – A tale of donkey songs

It all started with a couple of donkeys, or rather the sound of braying donkeys. In the twilight, sitting on their deck, neighbors Catherine Graham, Sharon Magee, Ellen East and her husband, David, would often joke about their evening symphony. In 2011, Graham and Magee moved to Hartwell to a quiet cove in Hartwell on the lake. David and Ellen found their way to the same cove when deciding to move back to Georgia. Ellen, an executive with Time Warner, was anticipating the next chapter of her life. Little did they know that those braying donkeys were telling these neighbors that the next chapter lay across the cove. Graham became more and more curious and she and Magee set out to find the musical animals. They began taking rides along the roads across the cove until they found the Nesmith farm. The home of the braying donkeys. The farm was…

Sweet Combs of Honey – LaDonna Andrews

If we are lucky, we meet people who radiate happiness. LaDonna Andrews of Sweet Combs of Honey in Lavonia is one of the happiest and joyful people you can meet. Andrews is originally from Lavonia, but her career carried her far and wide away from her hometown. With a career primarily in criminal justice and sales, she moved around from Florida to Austin, Texas. While in Austin, Andrews got a call from her nephew who wanted to enhance his organic farm efforts with bees, and therefore, honey. She jumped right in to help her nephew and soon, the honey business was a full-time effort. Then two events propelled her on a journey back to her hometown and her passion, Sweet Combs of Honey. [caption id="attachment_893" align="alignright" width="150"] Pottery by local artist[/caption] An avid hiker, Andrews had a recommendation from a friend that she should participate in the "Camino Del Santiago."…

Sharon Swint – Lake Hartwell’s Concierge

I first met Sharon about 4 years ago. Without a doubt, she is someone who makes you feel immediately at ease. She is relentlessly cheerful, no matter what is going on in her life, and is a breath of fresh air. Swint is a native Hartwellian. Her father, Pinky Thompson, is well know in the area. He developed our EMS service! Swint graduated from Hart County High School and go married, 2 children, a boy and a girl, followed. Swint began working the banking industry and steadily worked her way up in a successful 13 year career. Then.....the banking crisis hit and North Georgia was overrun with former bankers. What to do? What to do? She started driving in 2011 as a private chauffeur. She liked it. "Daddy wanted me to be a nurse, I enjoy care taking," muses Swint. But finding steady driving was a challenge back then, so…

Ayers to head Georgia POST Council

Following a nomination by Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T.),has selected Hartwell native, Mike Ayers, as the new Executive Director effective May 15th, 2019. In this position, Ayers will be charged with training all of Georgia's Corrections and Peace officers. From the POST website, the "mission of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T.) is to provide the citizens of Georgia with qualified, professionally trained, ethical and competent peace officers and criminal justice professionals. A 30 year veteran with the GBI, Ayers was most recently the Special Agent in Charge of Region 11 in the Athens field office. Of the new position, Ayers said, "I am excited. This is a great opportunity to serve Governor Kemp and the State of Georgia." Ayers observes that for many people, an interaction with an officer of the law may be the first interaction with government.…

Southern Alpaca Connection- Lavonia GA

[caption id="attachment_266" align="alignleft" width="300"] The Alpaca "beans"[/caption] George and Judy Dick may be the most entrepreneurial minded people I have ever met, and I come from a family with a long history of self-employment. I mean, who looks at alpaca poo and says. “we should start roasting our own coffee and call it Alpaca Beans?”  George is retired from the UGA Carl Vinson Institute and Judy is a retired teacher of hearing impaired students. On day, about 16 years ago, Judy saw an ad for Alpacas on HGTV. At the time, Alpacas was a business for those with solid funding as at the cost of breeding was very high. In 2003, the Jobs and Growth Tax relief act provided a hefty tax incentive of up to 100% of the breeding stock cost. Breeding stock was selling for $25,000 and even up to $750,000 at auction. Billed as “the investment you…

Henson Forge and Leather

It was a series of weird Facebook issues that led me, to my delight, to making contact and meeting the Henson brothers, Clayton and Jimbo. Second generation stonemasons, the Hensons of Lavonia started dabbling in forging. Jimbo had started making railroad spike knifes with a friend in North Carolina. Jimbo was hooked on this particular forging of knives, but he had been making knives for 20 years. The knives are true forged art and come in wide variety of styles. As Jimbo's craft grew, a need arose for sheaths for the knives. Little brother Clayton stepped up and with the help of YouTube, learned leather work. Clayton's wife, Jennifer, wanted a leather bag, so Clayton set to research again and a whole line of leather goods was formed. Clayton works with all types of leather including ostrich, bison, alligator and, of course, cow to create handbags, totes, wallets, belts, jewelry…

Forx Farm

Looking out of the window on our way to see a movie in Anderson, I was surprised to see a sign advertising a farm and cheese. “Cheese, Cheese?” I had to explore and find out. I really like finding local cheese makers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was not a goat cheese but a gouda, a cow milk cheese made famous by the Dutch. Who knew? Ron Lubsen is a Dutch native who moved to the states in 1980. An engineer by trade, Lubsen had traveled to Ghana, Saudia Arabia, Iran and other places, before being assigned to Florida. He and his wife,Tammy, moved to their farm outside Anderson and opened his own company  with clients like Krispy Kreme and Arby’s. His specialty is in glass bending and he built a vast warehouse to house the tools of his trade.  Lubsen had grown up milking cows and…

Indoor, Winter Farmer’s Market

How exciting to stumble upon a farmer’s market open in the depth’s of January’s chill! Not only is it open in the Winter, but it is full of great items to add to your winter larder. The brainchild of Forx Farms (see link to story about them) the market is open every other weekend beginning in late fall and continuing until the end of April when traditional farmer’s market begin to reopen. Housed in a cavernous warehouse, vendors line both sides of the hall. Aside from the winter dates, the other defining characteristic of the market is the array of items offered for sale. You will find the traditional winter and early Spring items from the garden, gorgeous lettuce, spinach rutabagas and so forth; however, you will also find hothouse tomatoes, ready to eat casserole and soups, Forx Farm cheeses that you may sample, Split Creek cheese and wonder of…