As a kid growing up in the suburbs, I used to play “farm,” where I’d do yard work and pretend I was actually taking care of animals. I’ll confess, I was a strange kid. Nearly three decades later, I have all the farm work I could ever desire, no pretending required.
In 2018 we purchased a 45-acre working farm in Tennessee. The land has served as a family farm for at least three generations, and we aim to keep it that way. Like any old farm, it’s a work in progress, but it provides a peaceful home for all of the creatures who live here.
Next year will be our first full season working the land. We’re still debating what, exactly we should grow. We may have to try a few things before figuring out what works in our sandy soil. The farm is set up for commodity beef—meaning beef raised on grass but finished in feed lots. We’re not interested in that—though economically it’s probably the best, and easiest choice. We didn’t become farmers because we wanted easy.
We may do some grass-fed, grass-finished beef, and we’ll definitely have free range chickens and honeybees. Someday we’d love to raise goats, which is a more sustainable, less carbon and water intense meat. And, there will always be a vegetable garden, because I love nothing more than pulling potatoes from the warm earth. I’m also applying for a permit to grow hemp. Believe it or not, in 2018 you still need a permit to grow hemp in Tennessee.
You’ll see two big, grey thoroughbreds in most of my farm pictures. They look nearly identical because they are brothers, born a year apart to the same mom. Gin and Ghost both had careers as race horses before coming here to retire.
I owned Ghost first, but his brother joined us when we bought the farm. They bicker like siblings, but are also completely inseparable. With a little research we found out they may have known each other on the farm where they were born and that they raced at one track at the same time. We’ll never know for sure whether they remember each other from their childhood days or not, but that doesn’t really matter. They’re best friends now.
Finally there’s Mr. Cat E. Wumpus, the barn cat, who has never caught a mouse, and Molly, the hound dog who doesn’t hunt. Their main jobs are offering up snuggles and giving me something to put on Instagram.
14/10 would hire both again.