Classic Cullman 2017 - Page 66

sit a spell / Classic Cullman The Blaylock family’s 34-acre living room By Benjamin Bullard 2XWDPRQJWKHJHQWO\VORSLQJʏHOGV on Cullman County’s eastern side is a piece of property so pretty it belongs on a post card. Bounded by a seemingly endless wooden fence, ample green pasture rises to meet an outsized farmhouse in the distance. The recently-built, traditional six-bedroom home serves as anchor and focal point for a neat complex of outbuildings, pathways and well-considered landscaping. It’s the home and hobby farm of Cullman’s Misty and Wilson Blaylock. ,WȊVDEHDXWLIXOVFHQHRQHXQLʏHGE\ an appropriately beautiful house. But for the Blaylock family, owning a big house isn’t about ostentatious displays or stuffy, hands-off perfection. It’s about making a family home; about surrounding themselves with the artifacts of the life they’ve built together. Above all, says Misty Blaylock, it’s about comfort. “Yes, we have a nice house. But I couldn’t tell you how many square feet it is. We have horses and cows, and we enjoy our land — every inch of it gets used,” she explains. “Beyond that, there’s nothing special about it. We hang out. I just like that it’s a comfortable-living house. That’s what it’s for!” Walking through her home, it doesn’t take long to recognize that Misty, Wilson and their three at-home children aren’t precious about the house. It’s big, yes — but it’s mostly a hub of activity, and a repository for family memorabilia. As Misty moves from room to room, she talks not of possessions, but of experiences. There’s a vivacity to the way she speaks as she shares her memories. Misty’s delivery is equal parts earthy, unpretentious and hilariously frank. “This is that kudu Wilson shot in Africa,” she says almost dismissively, waving a hand at a massive stuffed mount near the home’s formal entrance. “We’ve got another one by the back door. At Christmastime, I just hang ornaments off its horns! And when it’s GDUNȓPDQWKDWWKLQJZLOOFDVWDVKDGow that’ll give you a scare!” The entire walk-through of the Blaylock home follows this pattern: Misty focuses on the memories her home and its contents evoke, rarely acknowledging any special characteristic of the house itself. Humor, bolstered by a good-natured fondness for the idiosyncrasies of family life, courses through all her anecdotes. She’s never been impressed with formality, and the house UHʐHFWVKHUGRZQWRHDUWKDSSURDFKWR living. Pressed to identify a favorite feature in her nice big house, she settles on the one where family memories are most often made. “The kitchen,” she confesses. “This is our hang-out spot. Wherever you go in the house, you pretty much will end up hanging out in the kitchen. Wilson and I both enjoy cooking — and Wilson is an - 66 classic 2016.indd 66 8/31/2016 10:36:06 AM