Discovering A Special Place
In 2002, I was scouting for a site for my daughter’s wedding. Laurel wanted a site in the open, under trees, on a farm, somewhere other than in the city. She and I took a road trip to Madison, Georgia, a picturesque historic Southern town.
While there, we happened upon a farm with white fence-lined rolling hills and huge old trees. It looked to be a perfect site for the event. We drove down the long winding driveway and four sweet and sizeable black Labrador retrievers welcomed us. Soon after, the owners came out to greet us as well. Laurel spoke up and shared with them that we were looking at a site for the event, and did they ever have weddings at their farm? “Well, yes, we did have one wedding here, but it was our daughter’s,” they said chuckling at the request. But, with true Southern hospitality, asked us in for some iced tea.
After spending a couple of hours on their back porch, chatting with them, watching the cows graze, the dogs carouse in the fields, the birds fly over the pond, the frogs singing from the marshy banks, I realized my inner farmer was reawakening. I was raised on a dairy farm in rural Connecticut. I guess it is in my blood. I didn’t waste any time. The following week we met with a real estate agent in Madison and found the perfect spot. Now, the fun part: to create the farm!
The Origins of the House Barn
We wanted to use reclaimed, recycled and locally sourced materials as much as possible. We found a late 19th century barn made of hand-hewn timbers for sale in upstate New York. We had the barn taken down, sorted and transported to North Carolina to a timber framing company. The structure was designed and the timber frame planned. One year later, over Labor Day weekend we held a barn-raising.
Now, what to do with our growing farm? Cows? No. You either have to milk them or slaughter them. Well, how about goats? Same deal. Can’t do it. Chickens? Sheep? A-ha! Alpacas!
I bought a small herd of 10 alpacas along with Larry the guardian llama. They were agisted while the barn and fencing were completed, and in January of 2008, I moved the animals to the farm. There are more paddocks now, a few more shelters, more fencing and lots more animals to fill the paddocks!
Our farm has been a release site for the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s rehabilitated raptors, two kestrels and two owls. The shade gardens concentrate on supporting native wildflowers. All the barns and outbuildings were constructed out of reclaimed or locally milled lumber. The roofs of the barns are reclaimed rusted corrugated tin. There is a trail of blue bird houses next to the field. We have multiple purple martin families nesting in three birdhouse clusters. Bee keeping is on the horizon, as well as pygmy goats. There are many walking trails through the woods, a huge vegetable garden, fruit trees, two ponds and wonderful animals everywhere you turn!
About Carolyn Crafts
I grew up on a small dairy farm in North East Connecticut. After graduating from high school, I entered nursing school in Hartford, Ct. After graduation I continued working at Hartford Hospital where I met my husband Bryan. We raised three children, and when the youngest was in second grade, I returned to school. Five years later, I had a B.S. in Math Education. I taught high school math in Atlanta for 16 years. Then I bought the farm, the alpacas and another adventure begins!