a story of Southern agriculture

Waiting with Georgia Heart Pine

Journal Date: early January 2014.  We were down South, my Farmer was working, and I had time on my hands while I waited to team drive a few hundred more miles with him.  I didn’t feel like crocheting anymore.  I had three bars on my smart phone and I was thinking, “I’m about to get smarter…”



Not long after Christmas, we headed deeper into the South.  You know you’ve gone far enough South for peanuts, pines, pecans and yes, excellent beef, when you step out of the truck onto this sandy goodness.

ga farmhand house-14


While my Farmer was working with the cattleman, I had several hours to kill spend amusing myself.  So I wandered around a bit.

ga farmhand house-16

It’s a Southern farm tenant house.

There’s a whole world of history on tenant farming or tenancy that I knew nothing about.  Still don’t know much, but some basic history is in my mind now. 


The cattleman is fixing up this home for a farm employee to live in.

ga farmhand house-7It needs some work.


ga farmhand house-12 ga farmhand house-11But it seemed quite sturdy on those fresh cinder blocks.


Let’s go inside.

ga farmhand house-6

I think someone’s been sanding…a lot.

I’ve never been brave enough to paint over old wood.  It seems hallowed.

And then if you change your mind after painting wood, it’s a job to undo it.

ga farmhand house-8I’d come unhinged if I had to sand all four walls, plus the ceiling and floor of this place.

Look!  A cord.  Praise be, the sander is electric.  I’m feeling more secure on my hinges all the time. 


I wonder what's on the other side of that sheet?

I wonder what’s on the other side of that sheet?

ga farmhand house-4

Sanded and refinished.

The cattleman says this wood is heart pine –  that’s a short but fascinating Wikipedia search.

Based on my observations, this example of heart pine is of the flat sawn variety.

I don’t know what that means, but I like how the Internet helps me sound like I do. 😉

Heart Pine – It’s the really hard part at the center of a pine tree.  There used to be a lot of large trees like this in the U.S.  Trying to imagine the seemingly inexhaustible resources our ancestors found in this country is a long and intriguing line of thought.  You can spend a lot of time with those thoughts if you find yourself so inclined…or if you follow your husband to work at farms around the South.


Walk through from the unfinished room to the finished room with me…

heart pine finish 1

…and back again…

heart pine finish 2

…so lovely!

I’m thinking whites and blues and all manner of girly frills to soften and be crisp with these warm walls.

Something tells me the farm employee may not agree.  That’s okay.  He’ll still be cozy and happy here.


Hope you’ve had a great week.

Emily Grace

Talk to me:

Do you like the pine walls/floors/ceilings?  Do you know more about heart pine?

Does your family farm property include any forestry acreage?  Ours does.  My mother-in-law says a harvest from that acreage sent her to college back in the day.  In the South, forestry is a major agriculture industry.  What roll does it play where you live or farm?

Have you spent much time considering how farmers often have opportunities to preserve and maintain historical structures in rural America?  We maintain a 160 year old barn in excellent repair – and we use it daily.

22 Responses to “Waiting with Georgia Heart Pine”

  1. Katie

    I would like a heart pine room for a library that is three sides wood and one side windows. It would be cozy and lit by lamps only.


    • Emily Grace

      I like your thought! Libraries are one of my favorite places. All that natural light during the day and soft light in the evenings would be just right for the heart pine warmth.


  2. Lauren

    Emily Grace –
    I had had enough of the shag carpet upstairs in our 1892 farmhouse three summers ago, so I started tearing it up and tossing it out the 2nd story window. What lay beneath was beautiful pine that was just screaming for new life! A few sanders later, some funny stories from the Home Depot guys who didn’t think little me could run a big sander, and LOTS of poly — I now have a be-you-teeee-ful guest room upstairs. (Sigh.) Now if I only had the time to do the other 5 rooms in the house….
    🙂 thanks for sharing!


  3. Fr. Mitch

    I wanted to say thanks for the link on Tenancy. I knew its origin, purpose and expected abuse. I had no idea of the staggering number of people and to what extent the taking advantage of the system took place.

    I grew up referring to heart pine as yellow pine for some reason. I do remember it can be very hard especially when compared to white pine.

    With regard to the sanding, my bet is that it is to also remove lead based paint. Hope the worker was wearing a mask.


    • Emily Grace

      You’re welcome, and thank you for coming over to read and comment. I was also amazed by the numbers of people involved in tenancy. It was much more than I would have guessed.

      I looked around a bit online and it seems that heart pine is from older wood and yellow pine is newer wood, but they are basically the same except for age.
      I’m going to assume masks were involved.:) They weren’t working while I was there.


  4. countrylinked

    What beautiful pictures of what will soon be a wonderful little home for someone. I also hate painting over beautiful, natural wood. Sanding is not something I prefer to do. 🙂


  5. The Editors of Garden Variety

    Oh how lovely. As a born and raised southerner, it brought me a bit of joy to see this.



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