Stone Soup 2015…
In 2001 Pine Knoll Clock Shop purchased an old one room school across the road from our farm and moved the clock business out of our house (it had taken over the dining room, the basement, was moving into one of the bedrooms, and had spilled over into the living room) and moved everything to the one room school. My wife Patty, our three children and I worked many, many hours cleaning, renovating and reworking the interior of this c.1870 brick structure to house the clock shop. After all of our efforts we opened Pine Knoll Clock Shop in the Old Albin School in November 2001. Business took off and except a downturn during the 2007-2008 economic crisis, we enjoyed tremendous annual growth.
When we moved to the one room school we often heard tales about one favorite teacher by the name of Letitia Barns. It seems Miss Barns was the only child of a well to do gentleman that was a Lawyer, Doctor, and later educator Dr. Barns, and his wife. The Barns family lived in a beautiful mansion just a short distance down the road from the school and my farm. Miss Barns was very concerned with ensuring the children had a good education and at least something to eat for their mid-day meal. The area around the school and around our farm was referred to a “purgatory” in the 1850’s – 1880’s and money was not plentiful. One thing all of the remaining students would tell my wife and I when they came into their old school that we had turned into the shop, is that Miss Barns would often tell the story of “Stone Soup” and would have the children bring in one ingredient each to put into the pot in the morning as she told the story of the soup and as it cooked on the pot belly stove all morning.
For those of you that do not know, “Stone Soup” is a tale of citizenship and community and how as a group working to a common goal, we can accomplish much more than several disjointed efforts. Additionally, the end product is something that can be enjoyed by all as everyone worked to achieve a worthwhile goal. In this instance individual vegetables or small pieces of meat are not so special but combined, an absolutely wonderful soup can be created that can feed much more than the separate small ingredients ever could.
With that in mind Pine Knoll Clock Shop would hold an annual “Stone Soup Days” festival at the one room school house having as many of the old students that could bring ingredients or canning jars, or just donating their time to prepare and serve the soup. Donations were collected and the money was presented to the students to fund their school reunions. We would make 4-6 of the large roasters full of the soup, and we never had left overs.
The clock shop moved out of the school and across the road into our new location in 2008. After the move, the school was locked up and stone soup days ceased. Since that date most of the remaining students have passed on and I have not given much thought about the stone soup days “celebration”, until this year.
During the fall of 2015, Pine Knoll Clock Shop, Pine Knoll Clock Works, and Pine Knoll Herb Shop will once again hold its “Stone Soup Days” and all the monies donated will be given to a local charity.
I am very excited to start this annual tradition once again and look forward to continuing it for many years to come. More information will be forthcoming as we come closer to the fall.