Welcome! My name is Tonya, and I grew up on a 300-acre farm in rural Virginia that has been in my family for over 100 years. After graduating from college, receiving my master’s degree in speech and language pathology, and living and working in a small city for six years, I decided to return to the place of my childhood. Here, in this rural area, on this patch of green, where for four generations my family has farmed, gardened, and lived, I, too wanted to be a part of this continuity. As a fourth generation farmgirl, I have many interests that not only include, but also go beyond the basics of farming, gardening, sheep and chicken-keeping. It is all of this and more that I plan on sharing in this blog.
My great-grandparents purchased Green Hill Farm in 1912, and over the past 100 years, the farm has been operated as a dairy, small grain, fruit orchard, and hobby farm. In 2003, my husband, Scott and I were gifted my family’s homeplace and 20 acres. We completed restoration of the home in 2004. Over the past ten years, we have also restored a 250-year-old cottage that is located on the property as well as a number of barns and sheds. The cottage serves as guest quarters as well as an occasional bed and breakfast. We live next door to my parents who also live on the farm.
After participating in a class called Shepherd’s Weekend in 2007, we acquired three rare breed Scottish Blackface sheep. In 2008, we added seven more Blackface sheep to our little flock. Although these sheep are rare in the United States, they are very common in northern England and Scotland. Blackface sheep are exceptionally wooly and are sheared twice yearly. Their wool is coarse as they don’t produce much lanolin and are mainly considered a meat sheep; however, their wool is used in making Harris Tweed clothing and rugs in the United Kingdom. We have used their wool in comforters, pillows, and roving.
In 2010, we added heirloom chickens to our farm menagerie of sheep, cats, and dogs, starting with 15 chicks from a friend. The next year, we ordered more hens bringing our flock size to 25. Soon we began selling our fresh, multi-colored, heirloom eggs to a restaurant and bed and breakfast in our area.
We also enjoy flower and vegetable gardening. We have a small kitchen garden where we grow heirloom vegetables which we share with our chickens. Taking a natural, organic approach to gardening as well as managing our livestock and pets is a priority to us. We use non-GMO seeds in our vegetable garden and natural products in managing the welfare of our animals.
Scott and I support local farmers and restaurants who source local, organic, non-GMO food. We also recently completed the level 1 sommelier certification through the International Wine Guild in March 2014. The completion of this course has greatly increased our understanding and appreciation of wines. Not only do we apreciate good food and wine, but we enjoy traveling and discovering new places as well.
I hope you enjoy the eclectic offerings of this fourth generation farmgirl!
On this blog, I plan to share the following:
– -Reflections on farm life
— Chicken and Sheep-Keeping posts
— Gardening Tips
— Wine education & food pairing tips
— Travel destinations
— and much more.