Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Agritourism: Getting Back to the Roots on Small Farms

Agritourism: Getting Back to the Roots on Small Farms

I guess it is long past time for me to blog about the happenings of the farm. Several months ago Daddy and I decided to step in the agritourism business with the family farm. I have been asked so many times "what is agritourism"? I am sharing a link that gives a great article on exactly what it is. To say I am excited is an understatement. I am so passionate about this journey for so many reasons!! The older I get the more I love the fact that i grew up on a dairy and that my children have this awesome, beautiful, grounded place to grow up and learn about hard work. I have often wondered over the years, "what will happen to the farm when daddy just can't do it anymore'? I honestly never thought that I would be part of the solution or answer to that question but this just may be a way for me to be just that. I am ecstatic! I graduated from USM with a degree in Hospitality Management/Tourism, how could this not be meant to be. There is SO much to do but we have already had 3 field trips and we have a birthday party planned in a few weeks. We take it for granted that everyone just knows about milk, milking cows etc, planting crops....but they don't. These are country kids coming to the dairy that have never had an experience like this, it is amazing! This is a way for me to get back to my roots, to contribute to this farm that I love dearly, to spend time with my family and for my children to grow up OUTSIDE!!! I am so passionate, my wheels will not stop turning and I can't wait to share with all of you the amazing things we are going to be doing!! In fact, I am leaving Friday headed to North Mississippi to attend the spring farm tours for the Mississippi Agritourism Association. I can not wait to meet some other farmers and see what they are doing. Agritourism is big in other areas of the country such as Vermont but has just made a wave through Mississippi recently and I am 95% sure that we are the ONLY dairy doing this and we are for sure the ONLY farm that will offer a farm stay. I am so excited about that!! I should be finishing up the work at the farmhouse as we are calling it, by the end of May. We will have a precious little 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house that sits on the farm under some beautiful oak trees that we will offer for rent to anyone that wants to escape the city life. Guests will be allowed to hike in nature, fish, have a bonfire, interact with as much or as little of the farm operations as they wish. It is seclusion, it is escape from reality, it is about slowing down and breathing fresh air, reconnecting with your soul. I LOVE this place and I can not wait to share all the before and after pictures of this almost finished house.

Gardens, hose pipes and mud pies..that's how we roll

Some of our findings this morning

about to get started

he is so ready to dig!

I should wear gloves but my hands are a wreck already anyway

spraying his naked sister, he got naked right after this picture. 
Today was a fabulous day with Cash and Arden.  I decided that we HAD to get our garden planted, STAT!! I had waited long enough.  Most of you know that we live slap dab in the middle of Hattiesburg!!!  Centrally located to anything and everything you could want or need.  It is so accessible, I have lived in this exact same house for 15 years.  I love my little house but I loathe living in town.  I will never get use to it, it will never not drive me crazy the way your house is almost bumping into your neighbors house and our neighborhood is nothing like all these new ones that are getting thrown up. If we lived in some of them, Cash could take a leak off the back porch and wash the neighbors dishes. thanks!!  I am spoiled I know, I go to the farm and it is nothing but 1500 acres of wide open, beautiful, hardwood spaces!! LOVE IT!!!!  Being "forced" to live in the city only makes me want to do country things that much more, it doesn't bother me at all that Cash will "whip it out" and relieve himself in the front yard, should this bother me?  I won't lie, I have a new project up my sleeve right now that the kids are gonna love and Master P is gonna croak!!! Woo Hoo!! Can't wait to see the expressions on all their faces when Lil Mama gets this one going...stay tuned!  A couple of years ago I was sick to death of planting a garden in buckets, that goes back to that wide open spaces I mentioned earlier.  So I dug up a lot of flowers and plants, tilled up the dirt and planted me a garden right in the middle of my flower bed, in my lil house in the middle of the city.  I even spread some cow dung in it!  Even I can't handle the smell of chicken dung, blach!!  Cash was very excited about planting, mostly about digging but either way I was happy he wanted to help. We spread our dung around, mixed the dirt up and he dug up every last hole in that garden.  We had to keep it small so we only planted basil, mint, rosemary, bells, jumbo jalapeƱos, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and regular tomatoes. Oh and marigolds just because they are pretty and keep the mosquitoes away!  I will get all my fresh corn, peas and squash from the farm.  Last year I canned about 28 jars of snap beans, this year, that ain't happening.  Unless of course someone wants to help me snap them!! :)  The weather was beautiful and our Lord was gracious enough to hold off the rain until we finished.  By the time the garden was planted, Cash and Arden were both naked as jaybirds playing in the water hose!! :)  I love those kids. They were filling up the dirt under the shade tree and making mud pies.  As I was picking up all the gardening mess, I realized how i was just smiling and laughing at them and how thankful and blessed I am for my two little terrors! :)  Later in the day we walked across the street to our neighbors.  There is a "creek" behind our house, now mind you this is NOT a creek that you will find in Jayess on Ard hill.  This is a rinky dinky, rock embedded small body of flowing water.  I would NEVER let my kids stick their big toe in it! ha.  Drew and Nancy (our neighbors) actually have fish on their side, I am not sure we do on our side but we went to feed them bread and I couldn't believe how they attacked it as soon as it hit the water, probably because they are sick of eating all the litter that trashy people throw in!

Funny for the day:  when it was time to go pick Alese up from school Arden would not come on.  I told her if she didn't come on I was going to leave her.  She replied as she LAUGHED at me "you ain't gonna leave me".  I love her so but I won't lie, I am fearful of raising her.  She is DETERMINED!!!!!!  I only thought I was, she makes me give up daily.  Lawd have mercy on this mama's heart!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Get yourself some girlfriends....You are gonna need em

Many years ago when I was first married, I was 
relaxing under a magnolia tree on a humid Louisiana summer day, drinking iced tea and getting to know my new sister-in-law, Estelle. I had moved to my husband's hometown and she was the only family member close to my age. Not much older than me, but already the mother of three, Estelle seemed to me experienced and wise. Her face suddenly took on a very serious expression and in the most charming of Southern drawls she said to me,"Get yourself some girlfriends," clinking the ice cubes in her glass. "You're gonna need girlfriends to go places with and do things with." 
What a funny piece of advice, I thought. Hadn't I just gotten married? Hadn't I just joined the "couple-world?" I was a married woman, for goodness sake! Not a young girl who needed girlfriends anymore. I had girlfriends when I was 
living at home and in high school! 

But I listened to this new sister-in-law and I got myself some girlfriends. As the years tumbled by, one after another, gradually I came to understand that Estelle knew what she was talking about. And I remembered that she had said the word "girlfriends" with a lot of emphasis. And year after year I discovered the subtle difference between friends and girlfriends. 
You go to work with friends, go to dinner with friends, go to church with friends, belong to clubs with friends. You send friends greeting cards. You need friends in your life. After all, all girlfriends were once only friends. And all Southern women have friends and they also have girlfriends. But a girlfriend is different. 

First of all, a girlfriend is NOT "just like a sister." 
Sisters have a distinct bond, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sisters flow from family love and attachments. Girlfriends choose each other. Over the years girlfriends have blessed my life. And here is what I have learned about them: 

Girlfriends don't compete. 

Girlfriends will bring casseroles and also scrub your bathroom or all floors when you are sick. 

Girlfriends will keep your children, and they will keep your secrets. 

Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it. 
Sometimes you take it, sometimes you don't. 
And it makes no difference..either way. 

Girlfriends don't always tell you that you are right. 

Girlfriends might send you a birthday card, but they might not. And if they don't it does not matter in the least. 

Girlfriends laugh with you and you sometimes need absolutely nothing to start the laughter. 

Girlfriends don't talk about you behind your back. 

Girlfriends help you out of jams, the dumps, and the blues. 

Girlfriends don't keep a calendar that lets them know whose turn it is to do what. 

Girlfriends will give a party for your son or daughter when they get married or have a baby in whichever order that comes! 

And girlfriends are there for you in an instant, and truly... when the hard times come. 

Girlfriends listen when you lose a job, a husband, or anyone dear to you. 

Girlfriends will listen when your children break your heart, and will hold you when you cry. 

Girlfriends will listen when your parents' minds and bodies fail, and cry with you. 

When girlfriends are young, they have no idea of the incredible joys or the incredible sorrows that lay ahead of them. Nor do they know how much they will need each other. 
Young women today should take my sister-in-law's advice. "Get yourself some girlfriends." 
You're gonna need them. 

the two best Julie's

two of my three favorite girls, Julie and Jessi

Love this girl!!!


Yes that is Southern Comfort, and yes we drank it. Not to much though, relax!


Julie did you spill something on your purse?

I have no idea but something was funny

I love Anna, she cracks me up. Can you tell?

doubled over laughing is the best laughing!!!

I have an idea of what I am telling her!

Anna was going to polish her toes but somehow she never managed too..

the trunk of Anna's car has looked like this since she was 15, I swear!!!

beach time

love the hat Julie

hello Mr. Sunshine!!

self portraits!

good thing she is skinny


One day I will be skinny again too. lol

don't ask, don't tell

Julie and Anna

My girls!! Jessi, Anna, Julie and Julie

Have loved her since 6th grade!

I think that is more southern comfort. Pretty sure it is. :)



Julie had never been to FloraBama!!! :)

Anna and Julie

The Julie's

At Lulu's with one of my favorite girls, at my favorite place!!
I read this many years ago and have loved it at first read!!  Back in December I got to thinking about friends and time spent with them, or lack there of.  I realized that I have a lot of acquaintances and a lot of friends.  I have a handful of super close friends and I decided that I wanted to start planning something with my three closest friends that, for the most part I grew up with.  The girls that have known me through it all and luckily still love me! :) I would love to plan something with all of my girlfriends but there is just no way, and to many girls in one place never ends well! Ha!! So I called up Anna, Jessi and Julie and told them we would be starting our first annual girls spring fling this year!!!  I am happy to report that they were all as excited as me and we spent the second weekend in April together in Orange Beach.  I can not tell you how MUCH we laughed and talked and stayed up WAY to late and had the best time ever! It was so needed and I am already looking forward to next year!!!! :)  LOVE LOVE LOVE MY GIRLS!!!!!  

Southern Girl - Amos Lee

Picture Memories

Playing Hide and seek

I found her

Run Cash!!

Arden is digging for gold

Cash the photographer

Mud Pie time!

The reasons I breath!


The other night I was reading Cash's Bible story to him he stopped me to ask a question.  I was reading the story of Adam and Eve and Cash wanted to know; "Mama why did God tell Adam and Even not to eat that apple?  Apples are good for you."  hmmm.... He listens and he absorbs, this is good!!  :)

Picture Memories

They had a horse ride at school

This child LOVES his Liberties!

started a small project today..stay tuned

Love her and all that sugar on her mouth!