Tag Archives: South Georgia Landscapes

White Oak Pastures, Early County

Since 1866, five generations of the Harris family have cultivated the land they call White Oak Pastures. Today, it’s the most diversified farm in the South and the gold standard of sustainable agriculture in Georgia. Their grassfed beef and lamb and pastured poultry are sold throughout the Eastern United States. Driving around the Bluffton area, it’s obvious that White Oak Pastures is having a major economic impact on the area.

A little background from the White Oak Pastures’ website:

Will Harris is a fourth generation cattleman, who tends the same land that his great-grandfather settled in 1866. Born and raised at White Oak Pastures, Will left home to attend the University of Georgia’s School of Agriculture, where he was trained in the industrial farming methods that had taken hold after World War II. Will graduated in 1976 and returned to Bluffton where he and his father continued to raise cattle using pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics. They also fed their herd a high-carbohydrate diet of corn and soy.

These tools did a fantastic job of taking the cost out of the system, but in the mid-1990’s Will became disenchanted with the excesses of these industrialized methods. They had created a monoculture for their cattle, and, as Will says, “nature abhors a monoculture.” In 1995, Will made the audacious decision to return to the farming methods his great-grandfather had used 130 years before.

Since Will has successfully implemented these changes, he has been recognized all over the world as a leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability…His favorite place in the world to be is out in pastures, where he likes to have a big coffee at sunrise and a 750ml glass of wine at sunset.

 

I knew it was a good sign when I saw Purple Martins (Progne subis) scouting nesting locations at one of the “apartments” near the entrance.

The organic quesadilla I had in the restaurant was literally one of the best I’ve ever eaten. We got there a bit after the normal lunch hour, so we missed the pork chops and sweet potatoes that were on the menu for the day, but this was a great substitute.

I’m glad this is one place and way of life that is not vanishing. Drive a little out of your way and have a meal, stop by the general store in Bluffton, or, if you need to escape the daily grind, spend a night in one of their on-farm accommodations.

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Filed under --EARLY COUNTY GA--

Farmland, Clay County

Some of the most beautiful farmland in Georgia can be found in the fertile fields of Clay County.

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Filed under --CLAY COUNTY GA--

Henry Walcott Road, Long County

South Georgia Snowstorm, 2018

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Filed under --LONG COUNTY GA--

Sunrise on the Pines, Irwin County

Sunrise On Pine Trees Cotton Field Holt Road Irwin County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

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Filed under --IRWIN COUNTY GA--, Holt GA

Pinkston Road, Terrell County

Pinkston Road Parrott GA Terrell County Red Dirt Winter Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

The further you go into Southwest Georgia, the redder the clay gets. This is a beautiful country drive right outside Parrott.

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Filed under --TERRELL COUNTY GA--

Sunrise on Morgan Lake, Long County

Morgan Lake Altamaha River Long County GA Sunrise Fog Logged Out Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Driving east on US 84 between Jesup and Ludowici you’ll pass a number of “lakes” and “branches”. This section of Morgan Lake has been logged out recently, but it’s a beautiful sight at sunrise, nonetheless.

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Filed under --LONG COUNTY GA--

Suomi Road, Dodge County

Suomi Road Dodge County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Were it not for the name Suomi Road, there would be no hint that such a strange-named (for rural South Georgia) place ever existed. The origins of the name are lost to history, but John Goff (Placenames of Georgia, UGA Press, Athens, 2007) proposed that it was likely settled in the 1870s or 1880s when the lumber industry and the Dodge Land Wars were in full swing. It’s located very close to Normandale, a historical community that was the epicenter of the Dodge Lumber operations. Goff guesses that another mill may have been located here and that a railroad siding or station was probably given the name Suomi (in honor of the Finnish word for Finland) by Finnish lumbermen who may have been working in the area. They were most certainly transient workers as Goff posited no evidence of Finnish surnames in the area. The area has a Chauncey address today.

Jerry Jarrard writes: Suomi was a rail stop in Dodge Co. Ga. I remember when Grandpa took down the Suomi sign and put it in the barn. He owned what had been a hotel for the Finnish lumbermen. It sat behind the rail stop. It has since burned. In those days there was a country store beside the Suomi sight. it may have been named Weeks store. A weeks family lived two houses to the right of the old hotel The platform for the rail stop was a concrete pad, which is probably still there.

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Filed under --DODGE COUNTY GA--, Suomi GA

Seventeen Mile River, Coffee County

Seventeen Mile River Cypress Knees Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The blackwater Seventeen Mile River can be hard to find, largely due to the fact that it’s considered an “ephemeral river”. This means that  it’s dry as often as it’s wet, often more so. Much of it is located on private property, as well. The best place to see this natural wonder is at General Coffee State Park.

Seveneen Mile River Public Fishing General Coffee State Park Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

If you’re a fisherman, the best time to visit is after a good period of rain. As a navigable stream, the Seventeen Mile River is nearly impenetrable, but several open “lakes” provide good places to fish.

Gar Lake Seventeen Mile River Coffee County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Gar Lake, seen here, is one of the easiest to access.

Seventeen Mile River Gar Lake Coffee County GA Photograph Copyright Bran Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The park prides itself on being one of the best kept secrets in the state. Its protection has enabled rare plants with limited ranges like the Green-fly Orchid (Epidendrum magnoliae) and Narrow-leaf Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia tenuifolia) to survive. Native and introduced ferns are abundant here, as well.

Seventeen 17 Mile River Coffee County GA Macrothelypteris torresiana Marianna Maiden Torres Fern Invasive Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Macrothelypteris torresiana, known as Torres or Mariana Maiden Fern, is fairly common here. Though widely cultivated for its beauty, it’s a non-native and therefore considered invasive.

Seventeen Mile River Coffee County GA Woodwardia areolata Netted Chain Fern Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Woodwardia areolata, or Netted Chain Fern, is a widespread native and likely much more recognizable.

Seventeen Mile River Catface Turpentine Pine Tree Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Evidence of the naval stores industry can be found scattered around the river, as seen in the “catface” scar on this pine.

Seventeen Mile River Boardwalk General Coffee State Park Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Several long boardwalks provide easy access to the river and swamps and make for one of the most peaceful walks in South Georgia.

Seventeen 17 Mile River Ephemeral Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Many would just call this a swamp. I think of it as a piece of paradise.

Seventeen 17 Mile River Coffee County GA Mixed Hardwood Swamp Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Cypress is dominant here.

Seventeen Mile River Cypress Trees Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Seventeen Mile River Cypress Trunk Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The knees are visible everywhere, especially in the dry beds interspersed throughout the landscape.

Seventeen Mile River Dry Lakebed Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --COFFEE COUNTY GA--, Chatterton GA

Reubin Lake Rock Outcrops, Ben Hill County

Reubin Lake Monolith Ben Hill County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Known locally as “The Rocks”, this site in the Salem community of northwestern Ben Hill County seems out of place in the Coastal Plain landscape surrounding it. It’s been an area landmark for at least a century but there is no general access. I’m unable to give directions to the site.

Reubin Lake Ben Hill County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

For years these geological features were informally identified as Ashburn formations (Wharton, The Natural Environments of Georgia, Atlanta, 1978, et al.) , after the first well-documented site of this type, located off Highway 41 north of Ashburn. Since I’m not a geologist, I don’t know if they’re related to the well-known Altamaha formations (or Altamaha grit). I suspect they may be grouped together at this point. Recent scholarship suggests they may be remnants of coral reefs near the ancient shoreline. Still others believe they’re meteoric in origin.

reubin-lake-ben-hill-county-ga-natural-landmark-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2015

It’s looks quite small from some perspectives but the largest rock is actually nearly twenty feet high.

Reubin Lake Rock Outcroppings Ben Hill County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Boulders like the ones seen below can also be found in random nearby locations.

Reubin Lake Ben Hill County GA Altamaha Formation Rocks Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This is an important natural heritage site and I hope it remains in pristine condition for years to come.

Reubin Lake Rock Formations Ben Hill County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--

Sunrise Over Cotton Field, Irwin County

Sunrise Over Cotton Field Irwin County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This was made between Holt and Lax, on Holt Road, one of the most scenic drives in Irwin County.

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Filed under --IRWIN COUNTY GA--