Even a confirmed city girl like me can enjoy a visit to the country. Especially if it’s to a beautifully restored barn like the Hale Barn, located in deep southeast Knox County.
Rose Byrum loved her visits to her grandparents’ farm when she was growing up. The barn, built in 1947, in particular held special memories. Her grandfather, who was a banker and a lawyer, really thrived as a farmer, which he became for 27 years after he retired. Every year, Rose said, he would buy 40 head of cattle and raise them until they were ready to be sold.
Rose has painstakingly turned the huge barn on her grandparents’ property into a house. She kept the original tin roof, but put insulation and another roof on top of it. Her plan is to entice her own grandchildren to fall in love with the place the same way she did.
Rose offered her place last weekend for a Knox HeritageSummer Supper. Although the hayride about scared the pants off me — imagine sitting on the back of a flatbed truck with no sides hurtling down country roads at 40 miles per hour! — I had a great time.
Now, back to city life.
It was a wet Saturday, but the rain stopped just minutes before the Summer Supper started. And it started again just after the event ended! Isn’t the barn beautiful? (Photo by Jim Nichols)
We were greeted by hosts bearing appetizers. Here’s Jim Nichols with spicy-sweet deviled eggs.
They were garnished with chow-chow and were delicious.
Margaret Samples offered cucumbers with pimento cheese and bacon. Yum.
And Lynne Warner passed five-pepper jelly and cheese tarts. Another winner.
Meanwhile Paul Hotsinpiller was spooning macerated watermelon into our “Barn Raiser Watermelon Cocktail.” (I believe moonshine was involved.)
Here’s the barn’s living room. You can see the original roof is still intact.
The master bedroom is lovely.
Loved the sink in the master bath.
And the shower, which featured hundreds of little river stones.
Rose lets her neighbor plant soy beans on the former cattle farm.
The fire pit out back was being prepared for our dessert!
Here’s a photo from October 1947 when construction started on the barn. (Photo by Jim Nichols)
Construction was completed in December 1947. (Photo by Jim Nichols)
A memento of Mr. Hale’s early banking days.
Becky Hancock, left, and Lila Honaker, both of the Tennessee Theatre, checking out the living room before dinner.
Jane and Rich Ray settling in.
Kevin Murphy, vice president of the Knox Heritage board, made a few remarks for the good of the cause.
Jim, be careful on that spiral staircase!
OK. We’re ready to eat!
The hosts prepared the meal. No caterer. Here’s what we had: “Rose’s Sunday Roast,” fresh summer corn, sliced heirloom tomatoes with pickled onion, green beans with mushrooms and honey drizzle and biscuits.
This was my favorite part of the meal!
Mickey Mallonee, left, and Dana Traylor worked the kitchen.
Old rakes were transformed into wine glass holders in the pantry. Very clever.
Alan Carmichael, my hubby, with Sheena McCall, one of the hosts.
Lawyers Michael Kelley, left, and Bruce Foster.
Diette Crockett, left, and Laura Cole were two of our tablemates.
Margaret Anne Fuller and Craig Zwolak.
From left, John Cotham, Todd Richesin and Bobby Brown in the buffet line.
Steve Russell, left, and Chris McKenry.
Alan with Rosa Mar, another host.
Hosts Martha McMurry, left, and Sheena McCall.
Nancy Campbell and Michael Combs shortly before the hayride.
Time to climb aboard! (Photo by Jim Nichols)
Loaded up and ready to go. Lord, we could have all died! (Photo by Jim Nichols)
Here’s Jim after taking our picture. He’s smarter than us. He got out of the truck before it took off.
Steve Cotham is ready to go.
And off we went! That’s rain in the background.
I would have been clinging onto the rails. But there were no rails! Thankfully, we made it back in one piece. (Except for my nerves.)
That’s when we found John Cotham eating freshly made s’more brownies!
Here are Lila Honaker, left, and Madeline McAdams making some s’mores of their own.
Hosts Cassandra and Paul Buckner as seen through the smoke.
All in all, a sweet and memorable evening. (Photo by Jim Nichols)