We have recently made an announcement that High Point Farms has purchased one of our neighbor's houses and we are in the midst of converting it into future "guest lodging"; i.e The Bluebird Cottage. We went from purchase, to planning its renovations, to some light demolition, to some reconstruction, and beginning to complete our phase one. As I wait just a bit for our "reveal" photos, I thought it tmight be interesting to take a small journey back in time a bit - to show you where the farm has come from - prior to its makeover as well as the old farmhouse. Now that we have 3 years under our belt, I feel like I can show the before and after pictures and tell a bit of the story.
Let me start with the farmhouse. The above picture is what the farmhouse looked like in the mid-70's when my parents first purchased the farm. Their initial plan was to renovate and expand the farmhouse but after pulling off the back lean-to part of the rear of the house, they discovered some structural damages that were going to cause too much of a challenge - so they opted to build a new house instead. Here are a few of those early farmhouse pictures - the one on the left shows the back of the farmhouse as it looked at the time of purchase. The photo on the right shows where the lean-to porch and bathroom coming off of the rear of the house had been removed revealing many of its structural issues.
After my parents went to their Plan B, the farmhouse just "sat" for years.The back torn off area had been boarded up to "stop the bleeding." It became more or less a storage building for old furniture and such. Even when I got married - we opted to build our own farmhouse on a far corner of the farm property. Again - years passed and the farmhouse continued to sit. We would patch the farmhouse roof, replace some doors, do what we could to keep the farmhouse standing - hoping that somehow, someday, we would have the resources to tackle something more significant..
The farmhouse became a backdrop of the past. Some people would tell us " you need to just bulldoze down that old house!" while some would lament "you should restore that old house - it has history with so many various families from the valley." We always had hope that someday - we would be able to restore it....in the meantime, I was busy raising my kids and had plenty on my plate besides a major makeover of the farmhouse.
Nine years ago, a twist of fate happened. Jill (my daughter and partner in thiswedding venue) decided to get married here at the farm. She wanted to get married out in the hayfield under the shadow of Lookout Mountain - and she said we would have the reception in the barn. Back then - barn weddings were barely heard of. We were not the first but it was very uncommon and none near here that I am aware of. With the wedding being held in the front field - we decided a little sprucing up of the farmhouse would be in order...and little did we know then that this would be the beginning of more than their marriage but the beginning of a huge change for our families and of the farm.
More to come as the story continues with the transition of the barn - watch for Renovations of the Past and Renovations To Come - Part II.
There are a lot of vendors that come to The Barn at High Point Farms and we do try to meet them all but for sure, I do try to make contact with the photographers. The photographers are the story tellers - the history writers of each couple and of each event. The days swirls by so fast and hectic for at least the bride (and often the groom and even the family) as the day's timeline starts like a train on a track building speed as it goes along a specifically designed track. So, pictures become the key to full remembrance and even a better appreciation of that day - as this remembering is free from the frets or stress or nervousness or busy-ness of that day. Plus - key is to get a good photographer who can capture the emotions - can see the personalities of each couple and photograph it - and even at some level - to paint a more divine picture in photo than reality was. I not only enjoy getting to see these creations but often marvel at the magical ability of these photographers who can transform the ordinary into stunning masterpieces. Surely even the photographers flip through the line-up of photos and are awed by those handful of special stand-outs. We hope our photographers are submitting those special stand-outs to various wedding blogs and sites....we wait in anticipation for The Barn at High Point Farms to be highlighted in some of the "must see" internet sites. That said - one such photographer - our first out of the shoot this 2012 year is photographer John Shim who photographed the Clay/Ashley wedding on March 10th. He was generous with his photos and I will share some of my most favorites here. I still am amazed at how these photographers can come away with their own unique "take" of these weddings and how individual each wedding looks - it pleases me to see this!
Our Great Gatsby (the cat) always has to be in the thick of things - that is why we lock him up during the wedding....but somehow - this seems like a priceless photo!
Cute - Cute - Cute! The hay bale seating is a chore - hauling out hay bales from the barn but it just gives the ceremony area a unique and laid back feel to it. Ashley used a variety of materials as toppers - nothing expensive, just laces and light print material....and of course, these paper flowers were adorable and added just the right vintage and homemade touch.
Every groom should look this happy on wedding day! You could see the light glowing in Clayton's eyes! What a beautiful and happy couple they make. If this photo had been in black/white - it could've stepped out of the 1930's. What great photos, John Shim
The days have been especially warm this spring which has made the grass turn green earlier than usual....you know - that almost neon color that you can only see early in the spring? One of the neat things about living out in the country - even as close to Chattanooga as we are - is the fact that once the moon pops out - this place just settles down into a very quiet and peaceful place. Silence is golden in case you thought it was just a song! The stars peep out - the moon comes up over the eastern ridge from the barn....and there is just a calm that takes over. If you are indeed fortunately enough to come on a clear night - you would be amazed at how many stars are actually in the sky. It is a grand place to watch meteor shows....or just grab a lounge chair and set it out flat in the middle of the field and just soak it all in.
Anyway - morning is also like this. When I say morning - you know - "dawn." that is very very early. The fog often comes in and rest in the pastures and fields - I suppose partly because we have the Chattanooga creek running through the property. Jill took some early morning photos that I wanted to share with you so that you can kick your senses into gear and feel what I am talking about. Part of the fun of watching all of your weddings take place out here is that I can just see that the guests are at ease - having fun - taking in the sights and sounds of being in the country. Kids being able to romp and play......older folks enjoying the garden and the reminiscing of memories from their past....and the rest - just enjoying being out of the hectic hustle and bustle of our chaotic society. Anyway....enjoy these photos and dream about your next visit here at High Point Farms.
P.S. I would love to hear from all of you blog readers.....I relish comments - good ones of course!
The cicadas have finally come and gone. Fortunately our trees and garden were not particularly effected by their once every 13 year ravenous food frenzy. As they departed, a rare drought and heat wave has permeated the south condemning us to two weeks of mid-90's temperatures and no rainfall. We were so proud of our beautiful sod area behind the barn that we have been very faithful to set the sprinklers on almost every day to keep it nice and lush but we cannot water the whole farm. Our vegetable garden has suffered a bit and with the heat wave, it was difficult to find the desire to tackle even the weeding. As we began to prepare for this weekend's wedding, we began to pray for some much needed rain - if not for ourselves but for a boost of green for our upcoming bride. The week has been long and hard here on the farm. We had to put down one of my best horses - Passion - after an ankle break a month ago continued to get worse and her health deteriorated. It was a tough day yesterday - very emotional, stressful, and fraught with complicated logistics. On top of the that - we had square bales sitting in the field that needed to be hauled to the barn. But all the tasks were completed last night - and we dropped into bed exhausted. Today we had a farm tour from a girl from Murfreesboro who was tickled pink to find a real barn. We considered her a good luck charm because we got that much needed rain right about the time she showed up. The wind blew and thunder pounded and rain came down in sheets. Jill and the boys and I just stood there on the porch and enjoyed the blessed event - rain - rain from heaven. Rain that if it had come the day before - would've made a very louzy day horrible. But rain today - was truly a special event. It felt like a cleansing of the week's sadness. It felt like it was brought to us as a special blessing for the upcoming bride to be to make her special day all pretty and cheery. It is a blessing - the blessing from heaven.