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You Can Call Me Queen Bee…

You Can Call Me Queen Bee…

…and baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule
Let me live that fantasy.

Okay, okay so it’s a song. My 26th 22nd birthday was last week.  My sweet husband teamed up with my parents to really surprise me with my birthday gift.  I seriously had no idea.  Are you ready?


You are seeing that right!  I am officially a BEEKEEPER, y’all.  I was, and am, beside myself giddy.  My very own honey bees!  I have wanted this for years and Justin is finally on board!  Whoop whoop!

Well, I started reading “Beekeeping for Dummies” and man oh man did I learn a lot.  Here are just a few facts:

1. Honey bees are divided into three castes, Worker, Drone, and the Queen.

2. During the summer months 60,000 or more bees live in a healthy hive!

3. Only ONE queen lives in a given hive.

  • She is the largest bee in the colony.
  • She produces more than 1,500 eggs a day at 30 sec intervals!
  • She is literally royalty.  The other bees tend to her every need, without them she cannot survive.  Literally.  Here is my favorite part: She is incapable of tending to herself.  She cannot feed or groom herself.  She can’t even leave the hive to RELIEVE herself.  Her court takes care of her every basic need!

Okay, okay I have bored you enough.  Just one more fun fact!  Btw, I would love to give credit for where I found this picture but I have NO idea.  🙁 So sorry to whomever credit is due. *Update. Another blogger gave me the link to the creator of the bee graphic below: Here is the link to the creator.



Bees are incredible, y’all.  Tuesday (yesterday) our hive arrived!  My super nervous (and allergic!) husband carried this in his truck all the way home:



Isn’t it cool?

Ok so next came the arduous, extensive, complicated task of putting them in the hive.  We called over our local bee experts (seriously, these guys are amazing) to help us.  Are you ready for the process?

1.  You put the Queen in the hive:


She’s in that little box.

2.  You shake the box of bees into the hive:



That is it.  Yea, you thought it would be some crazy in depth process, right?  Me too.  Nope, that was it.

I have started a YouTube page for Maynard’s Farm.  Before you rush over with excitement and blow it up 🙂 there are only 3 videos.  But here is a video of the Villanow Bee Brigade (no they don’t call themselves that, I made that up) putting in the bees.  Click here to see it.  It is very short, my phone was dying.

I most definitely have an obsession with these brilliant insects now.


They literally swarmed all around us.  It was terrifying and magnificent all in one.  Yet, no one was stung.

Ty was still terrified.


This is the start of a new adventure for us and I am THRILLED.  I cannot wait to share more with all of you.  🙂


Until next time…here are a few of Hebe’s favorite hiding/sleeping spots!






Mean Ducks & May Flowers

Mean Ducks & May Flowers

Here on Maynard’s Farm we have a problem with Mean Girls Ducks.  Long story short, when we bought our Ancona ducks they were sold as a “package”.  This package included 5 ducks, two hens and three drakes.  Yes, yes, I know.  It does not matter the animal, NEVER have more males than females.  BUT, they were a package.  That means it was all or nothing.


However, when we bought the ducks the girl we bought them from told us that she was not sure of the sex of one of them.  So, this duck was named… Biquacky.  Biquacky is brown and white as opposed to the others being black and white.

Biquacky is on the left and the drake who’s name has left me is on the right below:


So basically, from day 1, he has always been different.

A few months ago the other four ducks teamed up and started picking on Biquacky.  He is our “odd man out”.  Yes, he is a male.  We know that now.  He was just a late bloomer.

The other ducks are always jumping on him, pecking at him, and attacking him in the water and on land.  Poor Biquacky…no where is safe.  He is even missing feathers on his neck now from the abuse.  Darkwing, our largest drake is probably to blame.



I feel like I have the farm version of Mean Girls going on.  I have to stand by him while he eats or the others won’t let him.  I videoed them coming in last night.  Like I said, Mean Girls in duck form.  I am hoping when all of our ducklings are bigger all of this will change.

Speaking of, we have only 15 of the 18 left :(.  We lost all three drakes!  I think we are having a rough year for males on Maynard’s Farm.  We lost Traveller, our only buck, Justin got pancreatitis, Biquacky is getting abused, our three drake ducklings died, and Hercules got hit by a car.  Yea, I forgot to mention that.  He’s alive…don’t bring out the tissues.  It happened this week.  We have NO idea how or where he got out.  Luckily, his back leg is just a little banged up.  Nothing major and I think (hope!) he has learned his lesson.  He sure is moping around like he did.  I do believe his pride is injured.


How can you not feel bad for that face?

Hopefully Biquacky will fit in when all the other hens move out to the pond.  Sadly, that is many months away.

A few positive things:

Hebe took not one but TWO selfies with me.  This.  Is.  Big.  I love this girl but she is not much for cuddling.



And…she posed for a picture!


Isn’t she beautiful?

Also, it is May!


And that means things are starting to bloom!  However, I have a black thumb.  It makes me so sad!  I came home yesterday and saw this!


I don’t know what it is but it doesn’t look like the weeds I have growing.  So maybe this is an actual flower! 😀 Hopefully I won’t kill it.

My sweet mama bought me these!


I am hoping these are little signs our luck is turning around!  Until next time my mean ducks and I will be holding down the farm!






The Ugly Truth

The Ugly Truth

Perception is a funny thing.  We always want what we can’t have – until we have it.  Once we have what we couldn’t have we see that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, and maybe we see things through rose tinted glasses.  Take motherhood for example, we get on Facebook and see these mothers who are put together, smiling with their perfect children, and everyone is playing on this wonderfully sunny day, even the family dog. What they don’t show you are the sleepless nights, the poop smeared walls, the bowl of milk and cereal being slung in moms hair, etc.  Does that mean they regret their decision?  Absolutely not.  Most would say it was the best decision they ever made.  I feel the same way about farming and animals.  It is a lot of heartache, hard work, and down right dirty work.  So, instead of acting like it is a glamorous life I am going to share with you a few ugly truths.


1.  95% of the time I have poop somewhere on me.  Whether it be my shoes, pants, or shirt … I literally have poop on me.  Recently I went to the Doctors office and when I sat down I smelled…that’s right, chicken poop.  I immediately got up, went outside, and when I looked down poop was smeared on my Toms.  Ugh.  I cannot tell you how many times I come to work with stains on my pants and sweatshirt from being jumped on.  Heck, just this week I was driving down the road and stuck my hand in my sweatshirt pocket to find… POOP!  Gross.

2. Not to sound conceited but… I like my legs.  (Or I did when I was younger.)  I am officially reaching the age where things are, ahem, not quite as tight and thin as they used to be.  I’ve always liked the fact that despite years of working outside (I am a farmers daughter after all) my legs are scar free.  Heck, they rarely even bruise.  Until now.  At night I am always astonished at the amount of cuts and bruises covering my thighs, shins, and knees.  Truly astonished.  If I am not banging into fences or gates, somehow an animal is to blame.  It is crazy.

3. I typically smell like soured milk.  Sad, but it is the truth.  Well it’s probably a mixture of poop and soured milk :).  I should bottle the smell and call it Le farm de fragrance.  Ha.  But really, if a baby isn’t slinging it’s bottle all down my front, somehow in the middle of milking I stop paying attention, miss the bucket, and spray myself.  No, I’m not kidding.  Milk will go all over my face, in my hair, and spray my shirt.  I live such a glamorous life, y’all.

4. At least once a day Justin and I are discussing poop, diarrhea, teats, or some other bodily function in our animals.  I am amazed at the number of conversations we have about AI (artificial insemination) vs. the “old fashioned” way ;).  Or better yet the 1000’s of causes of diarrhea in our goats.  Our conversations are mind blowing for intellectual stimulation.  Ha.

5. I have literally been sprayed by a buck.  Now, for the sake of everyone reading this I will keep this as PG as possible.  Let’s just say that I rounded the corner at the same time one of dad’s bucks decided he wanted to “make friends” with one of dad’s does.  The result?  My legs and feet were fertile.  I won’t lie…I screamed like a little city girl as I stripped out of my pants and ran inside.  I. Was. Horrified.

I could keep going forever.  Just like any “dream life/job” there is a dirty side.  I have so many friends who say “Ugh, I envy your life” and I laugh.  I laugh because they are envying poop shoes, fertile blue jeans, and sour milk hair.  But goodness if these lovelies don’t make it all worth it.  Those babies love to climb all over us and on the rare occasion that I remember to video them…they are tamely climbing.  I wish I could get a video of their usual crazy ways.

Until next time… remember that the grass may be greener on the other side but that is because it is full of POOP!




When It Rains…

When It Rains…

…It pours. I am fairly certain there is a small black cloud following us around at Maynard’s Farm. Ironically, I love the rain and I especially love a good thunder storm. However, if this dark cloud would kindly go away, I would be ever appreciative. Let me back up to the beginning of this month.

Justin and I came down with a terrible horrendous case of the stomach virus.  It lasted about two weeks.  Did I mention we drove 8 hours (one way) and back to Ohio for two more goats?  Yep, fever and all.  We know we are crazy.  We bought two sweet babies, Traveller and Odyssey.  Traveller was going to be our new herdsire.  Yes, sadly there is a past tense with that. I don’t have any pictures of just Traveller and Odyssey.  The stomach virus was that rough…. because I am a picture fiend.  But here are all four babies playing.


Two weeks ago this past Monday our little black cloud came to visit.  Justin had just finished his morning chores and I was in the barn milking when he started screaming.  I ran to the porch and he was rolling on the ground in pain.  A quick trip to our Doctor landed us at the ER.  A few tests and a mountain of bills later… pancreatitis.  It’s a rather large cloud.

The following Wednesday we came home from church to find Traveller (who I had fed three hours prior and he was fine) dead.  We were devastated.  I hate losing animals, it is the toughest part about what we do.  I cry every time, and I am not a crier.  I just always feel like I should have done more.  However, today the autopsy results came in and there truly was nothing we could have done.  Bacteria from his gut seeped into his veins and killed him very quickly, no symptoms present, and most likely there was absolutely nothing we could have done.  Yep, that black cloud is a doozy.

The morning Traveller died we happened to receive a fantastic package we had been waiting on.  Are you ready for the cuteness?


DUCKLINGS!  Oh my goodness at the fuzzy cuteness.

We have three different breeds.

Cayuga (these guys will be green as adults!)


Black Sweedish Runners (these guys will be black and white and look like they are wearing tuxedos)


And…Gold Star Hybrids (these are egg layers…this is Justin’s pick.  Always practical.)


Despite the absolute adorableness these are the NASTIEST, MESSIEST, SMELLIEST animals.  Ever.  Oh my goodness.

Here are their nice clean boxes at night after I have cleaned them (We have to clean them twice a day.  It needs to be more often but we aren’t home).



And here is what they look like by morning.


It is hard to tell but there is about an inch of water.  They are so messy.  Ugh.

By the way… remember that black cloud?  We came home this Wednesday and two ducklings were dead.  It is a serious black cloud.

But, as little orphan Annie says, “The sun’ll come out tomorrow…” Let’s sure hope it does!

For now I am counting my blessings one by one.  Want to see pictures of what God has so richly blessed me with?


This picture below warms my heart.  Hercules is the most loving dog you will ever meet.  He has been so concerned with Justin sick.






It may not be four but these are three little tails I am so very thankful for!


See?  I told you I have so many things to be thankful for and these aren’t even all of my blessings!  So many of my loves aren’t pictured, like Hebe for instance.  I know all of you probably think we neglect that sweet girl, but those two dogs are like night and day.  Hebe will NOT pose for pictures, she will not sit still, and she does not like to be petted too long.  She is all business – always protecting.

I will leave you all with this –

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”




Restless Rambler

Restless Rambler

As a child/teen/college student I never day dreamed about the home I would live in as an adult. I never dreamed of white picket fences or a house in the suburbs. If I ever dreamed of anything it was of a castle and a prince, but those of you who know me already know I have a crazy make-believe world in my head – but I digress.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how strange it is that I never sat around thinking about where I wanted to live and what I wanted my home to look like. In fact, if there were any “real”, “logical” thoughts pertaining to that they came to my head in high school/college and those day dreams were of dirt floors, one room homes, native children running in and out of a bungalow with the name of Jesus excitedly being exclaimed from their lips. The only home I ever imagined for myself was one in a third world country teaching and preaching the Gospel of Christ.


Yet, I find myself so strangely thrilled with this life that has been thrust upon Justin and I by God’s grace. Neither of us can tell you why we chose this life, it is almost as if it sought us out itself. I honestly never even knew I liked animals, until I bought a goat, and now I have 4 dogs, 5 goats (yes only 5!), 5 ducks (15 are on their way next week), 20 chickens (15 or 20 more are coming in May), and I am the secretary at a veterinary office. God has a funny way, if you let Him lead your life, of showing you what you really want vs. what you thought you wanted.


I never thought I would find myself back home in Villanow, Georgia. But, I have to say that I can promise you there are few places on earth that are more beautiful. I do not know what the future holds. It may be full of Villanow and animals, and it may be filled with dirt floors and dirty feet that carry the name of Jesus. I can tell you this: I am a wanderer, a rambler, a restless, creative soul who is happy letting God lead me where he chooses.


Wyoming, Idaho, and Nebraska

Wyoming, Idaho, and Nebraska

So let me start with a few differences in the south and out west.
1. It’s windy. Really really windy. What was that? I can’t hear you for all this wind! The only way this is a plus is if you’re in to extreme kite flying. Sheldon Cooper maybe?
2. The left lane is for passing only. Weird. Justin liked this and thinks it makes traffic move faster. My thing is… If no one is on the road… What does it matter what side I’m on?!
3. There aren’t many billboards. Scratch that – we saw none. There were large signs that told about the states and agriculture but no big billboards. And no advertisements till you came up on an exit. I liked that.
4. Past Colorado there was no sweet tea. No me gusta.
5. There is a LOT of wasted land. I like that there aren’t a lot of people and it’s all “wide open spaces” (cue Dixie chicks) BUT when you drive for 500 miles and see 500 miles of fenced in land with no houses and no animals it’s a little annoying. Hey! Pick me Wyoming!! I’ll take that land and farm/ raise livestock.

With #5 brings Wyoming.



Sorry for the awful glare but I was not a fan of Wyoming. We thought we would never get out. But I have to laugh. God never ceases to amaze me. On our way back home we went back through the same section of southern WY and God said “I’ll show you”. He sprinkled everything with a light dusting of snow and I was amazed. Everything He made has a beauty to it.





Now, let me back up. After Wyoming we got to Idaho. Beautiful, beautiful Idaho. Rolling hills, MOUNTAINS (the real kind… Not like we have in the south). It was beautiful. Truly gorgeous.


When we got to our destination of Blackfoot, ID from Estes Park we crashed in true Maynard style. Can you tell we like to eat and sleep? 🙂

But the next morning we were up and ready to go. Before we went to the farm to see our babies we stopped by the local museum…



Yep, you read that right! The potato museum! Hello, Idaho potato! It was actually really neat and we liked it a lot.


Who doesn’t want to see the worlds largest Pringles?





The best part? You get FREE potatoes. Yep, free food. Free.


You get to put your souvenirs in a potato sack!



Now on to the part you are all interested in… Our babies!! We arrived at God’s Graces Thursday morning and let me tell you … We were in for a treat.


The Groneman’s were more than just hospitable. We are SO blessed to have met these amazing folks. We spent ALL day (literally) learning everything we could. One thing we have encountered in the goat world is that everyone acts like what they do is a big secret. Presidential secret passing big. Area 51 big. They’re goats. We just want them to stay alive, folks. If we happen to luck out and have a national champion it won’t be because you showed us how to properly trim hooves. Which, they did. Seriously, they took the time to not only show us, but let Justin do one himself. I wish they lived closer. They are a fountain of knowledge and we are crazy dehydrated. But for one day we drank until our stomachs were about to burst and the Groneman’s kept giving :). We are forever grateful.

Now here is what you have all been waiting for… Our girls!



When we left Friday morning we talked names, stopped, bottle fed, and talked names some more.


We debated Shakespeare names.


Then we debated really southern names like Dixie, Magnolia, lemon, and Daisy.


No, the diapers did not stay on. 🙁

We debated names until we were delirious and suggesting things like “Idy” and “ho” and “tator” and “spud”.

Then Justin came up with their names! Meet Gypsy and Journey!





Now, for the story you have all been waiting for… Nebraska!


We drove and drove and drove until we could drive no more. We reached a town right outside Lincoln, Nebraska around 10 pm. We found a motel (outside rooms were important) and Justin went inside. We parked around back, I gathered bottles, and Justin put a baby goat under each arm…. Then we ran. Smuggling babies in a room for the night was a success. We then fed them in the hopes that full belly’s would mean sleepy babies. Wrong! They were nuts! They didn’t holler but they jumped on the toilet seat, on the walls, on us… Everywhere! They ran in circles, they head butted, and they used me for a jungle gym. For hours! I sent Justin to bed and I laid on a pillow in the bathroom. Someone had to drive in the morning and I’m better at sleeping in the car. Finally, around 2 am they drank a TON of milk, and settled down. I wish I had pictures. They curled up in the floor with me and gypsy even laid her head on mine. Sweet babies. I sure do love them. We are currently 6 hours from home and all is well (for now!).

If you haven’t seen the video click here and enjoy a laugh. Until next time!

Alabama, Oklahoma, Colorado…

Alabama, Oklahoma, Colorado…

I am writing our vacation in two blogs. The first (this one) will cover our trips to AL, OK, and CO. The second will cover our trip to Idaho and the long trip home with our new babies.

Before we left I said goodbye to Hercules and Hebe, and from the giant hugs I think you can see that they understood I was leaving.


Our vacation started with a wedding in Montgomery, AL. We are thrilled for our friends Andrew and Emily, the new Mr. and Mrs. Sims! Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of the bride and groom but here is a picture of us with our wonderful friends who opened their home to us.


We left Montgomery at midnight and drove 13 hours to Oklahoma City. Yep, we are crazy. We spent the day with some good friends and their adorable kids. Adorable.


We literally spent the day with superheroes. It doesn’t get much better. After resting and a good nights sleep we left the following morning at 5 am for Estes Park, Colorado … Another 12 hours away. Yes, we know we are crazy.

Now, I have to tell you. We were not prepared for Estes Park. I have truly never seen anywhere as beautiful. This was the first sight we saw when entering the town.


And that picture is through my dingy car window. Wow.

We ate dinner at a neat little place called the Rock Inn. The trout was phenomenal. Then we went to bed. Yea, big partiers here. Ha. Seriously, we were asleep by 8pm mtn time.

The next morning we were bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for the day. (Ok, maybe not bushy tailed.) We ate breakfast at The Egg and I. We both had the Parisian Eggs Benedict. Unreal good.


I will find a way to replicate this with our fresh eggs.

Next we started the part of the day Justin was dreading. We had a 2 hour trail ride (yes, on horseback) scheduled for 10 am! Justin was so nervous. Here he is on Icicle:



I didn’t realize when I signed us up this was a pretty legit trail. Lots of rocks, hairpin turns, upward trails, a little slipping, but LOTS of scenery. Justin told me after we were done he was terrified at first. But after a while he settled in and ended up loving it. In fact, it’s all he’s talked about. He wants to start riding back home. Sombrero Ranch has amazing employees and our guide was phenomenal. We are thrilled we booked this activity. Here are some pictures.


My view for the day 🙂 Smoky!






Those are all the pictures I got. The terrain got rocky 🙂 and losing my phone would be tragic.

After our ride we went to eat lunch at Poppy’s Pizza. We ordered the Rocky Mountain Pizza. Oh. My. Word. Cream cheese, red onions, and ….trout! Yep, you read that right. Delish.


We have seen lots of wildlife which thrills Justin. He’s honestly like a child, which I love.

Big Horn Sheep







Mule deer


The rest of our afternoon was spent in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I literally have no words for the beauty we have seen today. I am in awe of God. His handiwork is amazing and I could feel him today. I could feel His might and His power. He made this. Made it.


I will leave you all with this:
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:3-5




By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. Psalm 65:5-8






Dr. Dolittle and the Beginning of Spring

Dr. Dolittle and the Beginning of Spring

Spring is right around the corner and on Maynard’s Farm that means big changes!  But, before I start with the new…here is what you have missed:

Dad had two babies (boy and girl) born last month.  The night they were born it was FREEZING and they were very small.  Luckily, Dr. Dolittle the animal whisper, aka Justin, was there (just like every time one of dads goats has kidded!).  Justin quickly picked up the girl and brought her inside.  It was obvious the mother had rejected her, but we don’t know why.  He worked on getting her body temperature up and getting some milk in her.  Now, over a month later, both the little girl and boy are doing great!  Porter named them Playful (boy) and Hopeful (girl).  Here are some pictures:






Justin and Hopeful

So, Hopeful loves to follow Justin around.  It makes Miss Kitty, dad’s goose, very jealous.  But it is ADORABLE how Hopeful will hear his voice and come running from where ever in the fields she is.  She will literally jump in his arms.


She likes to help him “work”.

Speaking of Miss Kitty’s jealousy.  She has started jumping into Justin’s arms also.  She’ll even give him “kisses”.  Are you seeing why we call him Dr. Dolittle?


Well, with spring around the corner that means a few things:

1. Shorts and sunglasses!  (ok not related to farming or goats but it sure makes me happy!)


2. Here is what thrills my soul about spring…EGGS!  Everyone is finally laying.  Here is a picture of the girls doing their “work”.


I even have a new layer.  It is easy to recognize new layers by their tiny eggs.  I had a “fairy” egg this week!  Sooo small!


3. The most exciting part about spring this year is….new babies!  Justin and I will be bringing home two new girls, from Idaho, next weekend.  We are beyond thrilled and I cannot wait to share our journey with you (and lots of pictures) when we get back!  The week of April 14th we have baby ducks arriving!  And in May we have new chicks coming!  It will be babies galore on Maynard’s Farm.

For the last month Justin and I have had some form of eggs for supper every night.  You would think we would be tired of it but we aren’t!  In fact, we both love it.  I made this recipe Tuesday night. Justin did not like the oregano or parmesan, so in the future his will be made separately with no spices and cheddar, BUT I loved it.  Probably one of my favorite recipes so far.


So, find you some fresh eggs and start baking!  Until next time!


An Old Way of Life

An Old Way of Life

I have been asked a lot why we are raising goats, or why we have chickens and ducks.  Most people assume we are “crunchy” or “granola” people.  Others think we are jumping on this “homesteading” movement.  All of these are laughable to me.  If you know me you know I could care less about whether or not Dr. Pepper is good for me ( I have cut it out because it makes me FAT… NOT because you can clean toilets with it).  I drink 3-6 cups of coffee a day.  I LOVE chocolate.  Tell me all you want a snickers bar is full of processed sugars or even carcinogens … I DON’T CARE.  It is yummy goodness.  My perfect day would involve lots of sun exposure on a beach (and if that isn’t possible the tanning bed!), a good book, Dr. Pepper that wouldn’t make me fat, and all the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies and Snickers bars I can eat.

And as for this “homesteading” movement… I don’t even know what that means.

Now, let me tell you about myself.  Maybe with this knowledge you’ll see why farm life is the life for me.  I grew up in (and have currently moved back to) Villanow, Georgia.  When I was a child we were not even a dot on a map.  Now, thanks to google…nothing is hidden!  Ha.  And Villanow is now a single, tiny dot on a map of Northwest Georgia.  For the first 12 years of my life my parents owned Edwards Country Store.  It was the oldest store in Georgia still operating until the people we sold it to shut it down several years later.  (But that is another story for another time)  When I tell people about my childhood…most do not believe me.  So what I am about to tell you, you may or may not believe.


When my parents moved to Villanow they had a small house off of South Dick Creek Rd.  (Yep, that’s the name.)  My dad raised cattle and baled hay for a living, and grew various crops.  My mother was a dental hygienist.  When the General Store went up for sale my father bought it.  I was born two month later, May 7, 1988.  The first twelve years of my childhood are much different then most kids today.  Villanow was, and to an extent still is, a farming community.  Many of the residents do not have past a 3rd grade education.  I have witnessed MANY people’s “X” for their signature.  Some of the most intelligent men I know can neither read nor write.  They didn’t need to be able to.

It is with these men and women I spent my days.  I learned to pick cotton (which is painful).  I bottle fed calves.  I have picked corn, baled hay, stacked sod, and canned vegetables (which I am relearning to do as an adult).

My father raised honey bees and sold honey and sorghum.  He made the best sorghum around.  But, like most things, we did it the “old fashioned” way.  Paw Paw Billy grew the sugarcane for my father.  He also loaned him two mules, Thunder and Lightening.  The mules were hooked up to an old fashioned grinder.  They would walk around in circles to grind the sugarcane for the sorghum.  Paw Paw taught me to chew on the sugarcane because “that’s why he grew it”.  Ha.


I lived in a world where some people had electricity, and some didn’t.  Every Easter there was an Easter Egg hunt at my Uncle Bud’s mama’s.  Alma didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing.  That’s just the way it was.  I have used an outhouse plenty in my life, and yet I am still afraid of snakes biting my booty!  (Never happened, yet!)  I remember the first time we got the Disney channel.   A lot of people in Villanow still don’t have tvs or cell phones.

I was twelve years old before I had ever been in a grocery store.  I was shocked that there were so many options.  I was disgusted that you could only purchase white eggs.  And I was DEVASTED when I saw the rows of plastic bears filled with honey.  All of my dads honey and sorghum went into mason jars, except mine.  Mine went into special plastic honey bears.  Which I learned anyone could get at the grocery store.

My days as a child were spent with some of the most amazing men to ever walk this earth.  They are the kind of men who don’t exist anymore.  They frequented the Liar’s Bench that sat outside our store.  It was a dusty, old, blue carpeted bench.  Nothing special, but I would pay a lot of money to own that bench today.  They sat around and told stories of their wives home cooking, their 50 lbs fish, and the monster buck that “got away”.  Most didn’t frequent the doctor’s office, that’s why they had my mama.  They wore faded jeans, dirty overalls, some had canes, and most wore old trucker hats.  They had worked hard all of their lives, never became millionaires (there are a few exceptions), and lived off of their land.  Most didn’t trust the banks.  They kept their money in pillow cases, stuffed under the mattress, or buried in the yard.  But they kept my piggy banks full of change, and brought me small tokens from their trips to Gatlinburg.  I would give anything to sit on that bench with them one last time.


So why do I keep goats, chickens, and ducks?  Why am I learning to make soap and cheese?  Why am I learning to garden and can?  It is because if not, we lose these people and the things they taught us forever.  They taught me to not give up on that dying calf, the sick goat, or injured dog.  They taught me that everything I need can come from the dirt beneath my feet, my own hands, and a lot of work.  The way they lived is becoming a lost art.  Progress is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but what about when progress fails?  When the food at the grocery store  makes us sick?  Or there is a milk shortage?  What do we do then?  I will look in my own back yard and I will thank my community and Bill, Billy, Ben, Bradley, and Wayne.  Men who taught me to do with little, and make a lot out of nothing.

On rainy days I can still smell that old dusty bench, even though it is only in my mind.  I can hear their “sugar, how you been?” and “Lil Rodney where are your shoes?”.

I want future generations to see a different way of life.  An old way of life.  The only way I knew for 12 years.  That is why I farm.


The Great Goat Depression

The Great Goat Depression

Goats are funny creatures. People don’t believe me until they visit but there is nothing quite like a goat. (Except maybe a dog) They are so full of personality and each one is different. We spend a lot of time with our goats and because of that they are crazy friendly.  Just ask my favorite photographer and good friend, Meagan Avritt.  I think she was pleasantly surprised at how fun these sweet girls are!


Now, let me say this.  I love all of my animals (dogs, goats, ducks, and the occasional chicken! It’s a joke don’t freak out folks).  We try to provide the best care possible for them.  One thing I have always been told you learn when you have children also applies to goats… Everyone wants to tell you how to raise them and what you are doing wrong.  Yea.

We started the process of selling our small herd about a month ago.  Goodness has it been a learning experience good and bad.  I have learned there are crazies in the world,  there are those who think everything you do is wrong, and there are wonderful people in the world.  I have had so much anxiety about selling my girls.  I hate knowing they may end up in bad homes (like our rescue Julie).  In the last month I have placed my girls in some WONDERFUL homes.  I cannot be thankful enough.  But, I have also had my girls go to homes that I thought would be wonderful only to find out they are no longer there.  Talk about heartbroken.

However, what I did not plan for was what I am calling The Great Goat Depression.  It should really be called The Great Goat and Great Pyrenees Depression but that is too long.  As our herd has dwindled down I have noticed the other goats and Hercules and Hebe moping around.  So, Justin and I made sure we were spending extra time with everyone, trying to lift their spirits.

Well, last week we loaded up Giselle and her three babies (we had already sold Greta, and Georgette, along with Georgette’s triplets, and Gigi).  This just left Julie (who will not be sold), Gatsby (my little runt), and Gretchen and her two boys.  Only FIVE left.  The crying and howling that commenced at our gate from Hercules and Hebe was heartbreaking.  Justin texted me the next day (he was home all day) and said no one (goats included) had done anything all day.  No walking around eating, no playing, nothing.  They were just all laying around…depressed!  If you don’t think animals have emotions…boy are you wrong.

So, we have amped up the time we spend with them (hilarious if you know us…we might as well start sleeping outside) and things have improved.  Gretchen and her boys will be gone soon and I hope the depression doesn’t ensue again.  I know that next month when the babies are brought home all will be right in the world again at Maynard’s Farm but until then I need Roosevelt and a New Deal to help us survive this Great Goat Depression!

Until next time!

Hercules is now the size of the goats!  He’s only seven months!