Friday, May 27, 2011

Teresa's Newest Friend

I am convinced that some of Cherokee County’s greatest resources are the people living here. I continue to meet the most interesting people. I recently received a call from Cliff Wilbur after he read one of my articles. He invited me to come out and visit for a while, that it would definitely be worth my time. He was so right! Cliff has carved out an amazing organic garden on the top of his multi acre mountain top farm. We strolled down the gravel roads that he has created as he pointed out the various plants. He has his own method of selective propagation. He simply selects the hardiest, best tasting of his fruits and vegetables and saves the seed for next year’s planting. While this method is not extremely complicated, it seems to be a proven method that is working very well for him. It proves to me that a PhD in agriculture is not needed to be successful gardener. As a retired high school principal, Mr. Wilbur moved into the area with a keen interest in organic gardening and a sincere love and respect for the land. He could inspire anyone to be better stewards of the land. This directly relates to his additional concern for healthy living and assisting his fellow man. He told me that he gives away baskets of fresh organic fruits and vegetables every year. He is more than willing to help anyone who is willing to help themselves. As for healthy living, he appears to be a specimen of good health at 80 years of age. Clear skin, a light step and clear blue eyes tell me that he pays attention to his diet and exercise. Just walking the steep roads on a daily basis gives him plenty of aerobic exercise. He filters all of his water for purity. Combine this with his organic food and you have the perfect combination for good health. His daughter, Vickie, lives with him and assists him with the daily chores of maintaining the property. She graciously treated me to strawberry shortcake with home made whipped cream that she has just made. The strawberries had been harvested on the morning of my visit. It just doesn’t get any better! In keeping with my love of receiving plants from friends, Cliff gave me my very own little peach tree. He showed me how he tenderly plants the new trees beside a bamboo stalk and prunes away the excess leaves as the new little tree grows straight, tied along side the bamboo stalk. You have probably already guessed the name of my new little peach tree- yep, Cliff it is!

Teresa Wiley
FCS Agent