Welcome back to another season of farm and homestead tours! I'm ready for more entries for 2013! Please read here for guidelines.
We're heading down home… to your farms! Urban, suburban, or rural — whatever you're growing and doing, we want to see it.
Welcome, Smoky Hills Farm!
Today you get to visit Smoky Hills Farm, a 38 acre farm about an hour south of Kansas City. On their farm, Kevin and Dotty Sharp raise or grow about 90% to 95% of what they eat, plus they have extra to sell. You can visit Dotty's blog here.
What is your name and the names of your family members?
Kevin and Dotty Sharp. We have 6 adult children and 14 (at last count) grandchildren.
What is the name of your farm/homestead?
Smoky Hills Farm.
How long have you been farming/homesteading?
For most of the last 30 years.
Share a brief description of your farm/homestead.
38 acres, half of that timber. Two ponds, walking trails, orchard, berries, pasture. It sits at the top of the highest hill in the area, so we have a view of roughly 20 to 25 miles. The early morning fog rising makes it look like a view from the Smoky Mountains, thus Smoky Hills. Just like the mountains, only shorter.
What are you raising, growing, and doing?
We raise/grow roughly 90% to 95% of what we eat and sell the rest. We make all our cleaning supplies and most body care and herbal medicine. Currently layer chickens, broiler chickens, ducks, turkeys, bees and soon to arrive four pigs and four cows. Hoping for a Jersey cow in the future for milk. We've had goats and geese in the past. We sell vegetables, eggs, fruit, honey, jams, soaps, and herbal salves year round at farmer's market and to a restaurant. We also teach homesteading classes through different venues. Kevin is currently working a construction job away from home while Dotty holds down the fort.
How did you get into farming/homesteading?
Short story version — We both grew up nature freaks but from opposite directions. Kevin a redneck hunter type, Dotty a back-to-the-land hippie type. He's slowly coming around. 😉
Any future plans?
We, along with about six close friends — also longtime homesteaders — have plans to open a homesteading school on our property teaching everything homesteading, along with some other fun, get-away-from-the-city activities.
Do you have any funny stories to share?
Kevin had a three year old nephew that came indoors after he'd been playing outside. He'd obviously been eating something, as there were red stains all over his face. His mom asked him what he'd been eating and he said “berries”. As she was cleaning his face she was trying to recall what berries would be growing and wondering if she should be concerned and couldn't think what it could be. So she asked him, “Honey, where are you finding berries to eat?” “On the dog, Mom. I'm just picking the berries off of Scruffy and popping them in my mouth.” Turned out: they were ticks!!! (Wardee: Oh, dear!)
Do you have a sad story?
“I climbed over the fence to the chicken yard and walked down in the direction Rocky (our Livestock Guardian Dog) had taken off, behind the high tunnel. I saw Rocky, my big tom turkey, standing by himself, but then I saw feathers. After searching for a few moments I saw Ralph, hiding under some brush with his head sticking through the fence. You could tell he'd been trying to get away from something. ” (Wardee: this is an excerpt from Dotty's sad story. To read the rest of the story click here.)
Anything else you would like to share?
This post (from Dotty's blog) defines best who we are: Growing Life.
Let's Tour Smoky Hills Farm!
(Wardee: In the captions below, you're hearing from the Dotty, as she tells you what is in each picture.)
High tunnel in the snow.
Winter high tunnel.
My first hive.
Apples for sale and cider.
Wood cookstove. It works!
Rocky — our Livestock Guardian Dog
Heirloom carrots and peas.
Chicks on pasture.
Canned peaches and jams.
Thank you for sharing with us! We hope you enjoy your free thank you video, our gift to you. Plus, feel free to display the following graphic on your site. (Right-click and save to your computer, then upload to your site and link to this farm tour post.)
Would you like to be featured?
Are you a homesteader or farmer at any level? You don't have to live in the country, you don't have to be doing everything.
Being on the journey is the only qualification. We want to see what you're doing, no matter how big or small.
Click here for submission guidelines for the Down Home Farm Tours series. We're excited to hear from you!
If you're selected, we will share your farm/homestead pictures and stories in a dedicated blog post, plus you can add the featured graphic to your blog or website. And, we'll give you a free thank you video of your choice!
Please give Kevin and Dotty a warm welcome in the comments! Be sure to visit their farm here.
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