The building you see in the picture is a big part of Willow Oak Lodge. But it's not the most important part. The lodge is new, modern, and very nice. We all love spending time here. But our family knows this building isn't what actually makes up "Willow Oak."
Yes, it's a business. The goal is to make money- or at least break even. But to us, Willow Oak is something much larger than that. It's home. It's combination of all of our passions- fishing, hunting, cooking, entertaining, and taking care of people. This property has been special to Tim and his family for generations. Just down the road, is the property where I grew up and my family still lives, just as my great grandparents and their grandparents did before them. After living for forty (something) years, traveling, and becoming friends with people from all over the United States, I've come to realize how special this place is. Not the buildings, or the business.... but calling a place home where our family has called home for many generations. Watching my children roam the same places where their great-great-grandparents played as children has been a blessing in my life.
Looking straight out from the windows in the great room at the lodge, you can almost see the spot where I was standing when my grandfather, whom I called PawPaw Joe, told me about conservation. He didn't use the word conservation, but he very seriously told me that God placed humans in the world to have dominion over animals, and to be responsible for them, and where they live. He said we were to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with here on earth. I may not have understood the depth of what he said at the time, but I certainly do now as an adult. I see it carried on every day by Tim and his dad Raymond, as they feed, nurture, and take care of our animals; those in captivity and those roaming within (and without) the preserve. I am thankful for this perfect, beautiful piece of the earth that we call our own. I'm especially thankful that we get to share it with others, and for the wonderful friends we make in the process.
Thanks for reading this first blog. I hope you will enjoy reading our "secret" recipes, stories, hardships and celebrations as we bring you along the ride.