Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mountain Laurel Hike Tray Mountain May-8

Have you ever wanted to see the Soque Watershed from a birds eye view. Well this is your chance as we hike the Baker’s Creek trail through the Chattahoochee National Forest. This is one of the most scenic and beautiful trails in all of Habersham County and offers a unique perspective on our spectacular watershed basin. The hiking trail actually follows the ridgeline between the right and left forks of the Soque. Come along and bring a lunch for this half day hike. We’ll meet at the Watershed Association office (on the square) at 9:45am to arrange carpools then park our cars off the square before we head up the mountain. Trip should be completed by 3 to 3:30

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Nora Mill - on the Chattahoochee River

Nora Mill is a fully operational grist mill(one of the few that still grind corn)
located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River outside of Helen, GA. Built in 1876,
the mill is four stories tall has 1,500 pound French Burr Mill Stones, a 100 ft. wooden
raceway and a water turbine rather than awater wheel. John Martin, a goldminer,
built the mill in 1876 and made Sautee-Nacoochee Valley his home. Dr. Lamartine
Martin, who became a Georgia governorfrom 1927-1931, bought the mill in 1901
and named it after his sister “Nora.”Today the mill is run by the Fain family and they now have the fourth generation of Fain’s coming up in the milling business. The Nora Mill Granary is a well known
destination for visitors to the mountains.
This is part of our quarterly sustainability tours which are outings into the Soque Watershed and beyond to learn about practices and places that work to enhance the long term use, protection, and enjoyment of our natural resources. For more
information visit or e-mail or call 706-754-9382

Though all the grist mills on the tour are a bit different from one
another, their basicworkings are similar. Most of the mills still
have their originalparts, but Nora Mill which uses a turbine
system rather than a waterwheel system is the only one that is
still in working order.
Please support our efforts to protect our natural and cultural resources—support sustainability!
A gristmill is a building that houses a mill powered by nature’s energies; either in
the form of wind, river or tide. The grain (or “grist”) of cereal crops such as
wheat, rye, oat, barley, or corn would be ground into flour or meal. Most mills
were enclosed inside of a building to protect them from the elements. The North
Georgia Mountains were a natural place to harness the power of falling waters
for use in grinding grain into flour. Many of these structures still remain as
reminders of our intimate relationship and dependence on the power of nature.

From the mid 1800’s until the early to mid 1900’s grist mills were a vital hub of
economic and community life. Most mills were operated seasonally with the
harvest; and the miller was paid for their services by exacting a toll or percentage
of the finished flour as their fee. This was called the Miller’s toll.
Many North Georgia mills were still in common use until the 1960’s, and a small
handful are still in use today. Visiting and studying gristmills can provide great
instruction on how to work with nature; everything from the simple mechanical
engineering, the broad axe shaping of timber, and of course the fine tuning of the
quite valuable mill stones. The expression, “keep your nose to the mill stone,” is
rooted in the millers quiet attention to detail, carefully evaluating each grind to
insure that the stone’s are placed just right, for the perfect grind.