Hi there! If you’re visiting our site, you are likely a country dweller yourself or interested in learning more about farm life. So let me begin with a brief introduction and fill you in on what we do at our place.
Hickory Springs Farm is the 62 acres we call home. In addition to me, my husband, and our daughter, our farm is home to two horses, six chickens, three cats, and two dogs. We’ve raised everything from Angus beef cattle to hogs to lots of vegetables and LOTS of watermelons (more on that later). We currently grow hay as our main crop, with chickens, eggs, berries, and veggies on the side. Our goal is to produce the best quality cattle and horse hay possible, while making our farm as self-sufficient as it can be. And of course, we love to have fun doing it!
My husband and I are both Texas natives who grew up in the suburbs with no farming experience whatsoever. My mom rode horses and passed that love on to me, so I learned to ride early and have kept it up ever since. But I never had the chance to live in the country until I was an adult. I have always been fascinated with history and the way things were done in years past. My favorite childhood TV show was Little House on the Prairie, and I loved (and still love) any books set in the 1800’s. This love of animals and the past is what led me into the country. I wanted a chance to live more simply, more quietly, and at least a bit closer to the way my great-grandparents lived.
My dad grew up on a working farm in rural Louisiana, and I loved hearing stories of his family’s life in the country. It wasn’t always easy, to be sure, but his family worked hard and created a successful life together. I hope to follow in their footsteps on our own farm, enjoying the beautiful surroundings we’ve been blessed with and making something meaningful out of what the land provides us.
We have been farming for the past fifteen years. We started in Texas with 20 acres and four Black Angus bottle calves (one of whom was blind) because that’s all we could afford. Those calves became the foundation of the beef cattle herd that we maintained for 11 years, breeding our cows to some of the top bulls in the breed via AI technology. We sold breeding bulls to other Angus breeders and sides of grass-fed beef to customers. I also enjoyed selling produce from our garden and apple orchard at the local farmer’s market.
When my husband’s job took us to Ohio in 2010, we moved all of the livestock with us. Hauling two dogs, two cats, two horses (yes, we looked like Noah’s ark) and fourteen cows – along with accompanying farm paraphernalia – across the country brought a new meaning to the idea of moving. We lived on a 46-acre farm for several years before relocating to a new piece of land three years ago to start from scratch. (We like to joke that just when we get the hang of a new farming venture, we grow bored and add something new!)
Our current property was a conventionally-farmed corn field when we bought it. Over the past three years, we have improved the soil, built a house and a raised-bed garden with a greenhouse, added acres of fencing, cleared trails through the woods, and established 30 acres of hay fields. Before moving here, we thought that moving onto an existing farm was a lot of work, and it is. But building one from the ground up is an entirely different venture. It’s been exhausting, but it has definitely been worth the time and energy. We love our place and are thankful for the chance to raise our daughter here.
As so many modern-day farmers can attest to, it is very difficult to make a living on a farm these days. Even our friends who farm thousands of acres say that they barely break even some years. As much as we love farming and the lifestyle it provides, we could not make it without extra income. Thus, my husband has a full-time job off the farm, and I work as a freelance writer. I am a registered dietitian and worked in hospitals and nursing homes (writing the occasional article and serving on an editorial board) until I had my daughter, when I decided to stay home to raise her. For those of you who may not know, let me tell you that working as a stay-at-home mom while taking care of day-to-day farm operations is way harder than an office job! I love what I do though, and wouldn’t trade it for anything – at least, not most days.
In my writing life, I particularly enjoy sharing knowledge of 18th- and 19th-century events from Europe and the American West. Nutrition, wellness, and recipes are also topics I’m passionate about. In my free time, I love to horseback ride, garden, cook, read, and quilt.
If you’re looking for a place to learn more about farming, animals, nutrition, and cooking, grab a cup of coffee and explore our site. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing to you.