Renovations of the Past and Renovations to Come – Part III

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   There have been many changes to the farm over these many, many years.  The broader history of the farm is that indeed it was a working farm – bought and lost by many farmers over the years.  Cotton, sorghum, corn, Irish potatoes, and cattle were the more common products of the farmers here.  But most were self-sufficient farmers as well which meant that they grew a good size garden, had chickens and turkeys, a milk cow, and pigs (plenty of acorns for those pigs with all of the oak trees that we have). But – the same “high point of Lookout Mountain” that helps our farm avoid some of the rains for our weddings is the same mountain peak that likely kept many of those rain patterns from watering the crops.  I suspect that it made an additional challenge for any farmer to make a living off of the farm.
 

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   This is the oldest picture that I have of the farm. This photo is of the Buckner couple who had the farm in their early years, as shown, and lived their till their death – actually. This photo is taken in front of the farmhouse but you can see that there is a no frill approach to the property but considering that this was not long after the depression – it is quite understandable. 
      We do know that they owned a good size herd of cattle and the barn was adapted to handle them with many wood slats in order for the cattle to stick their heads through so they could be fed in the barn.  The pole barn design was ideal for bringing haywagons full of hay into the barn to stack into the hayloft.  

        The above photo is again, of Mr. Buckner (much older in this photo) which is herd of beef cattle. My dad did own a couple of cows throughout the years but they were a pain in the side to keep contained. The pasture was always greener on the other side according to our cows so my early memories of having cows were always associated with trying to retrieve and coax them back home.
  My parents posed for this “Green Acres” type photo shortly after they purchased the farm.  They spent many long hours on their new dream – the farm.  While they were working on housing  – I was a horse nut through and through and began my search for a horse.

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   My interest was always horses and in my younger years they were filled with my two favorites – Chester Brown and Sam.. This is me in my late teens (with one of my nieces) on Chester Brown – a wild and cantankerous equine but still somehow he was dear to my heart.  As I married – and children came along – we ended up with a slew of horses plus animals of all sorts from cows to pigs to rabbits to sheep to chickens – even a pet emu and of course – goats.

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   That said, it was our love of horses that prompted us to slowly convert the barn more to a horse barn than a cattle barn….and it evolved one stall at a time and spaced out over years. The barn slowly morphed from an open-air pole barn design into a closed horse barn design with two large trolley doors accessing the inside of the barn. The boards were slowly added along the outside of the barn closing it in.


      The Tack Room, a.k.a. The Lounge, actually had a restroom installed soon after my parents purchased the farm. My grandfather installed the restroom so that my parents would have access to a real toilet during their house building process.  The Tack Room was lined with many bridles and several rows of saddles.

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      Beyond the barn changes – the surrounding areas changed too.  We had adjoining corrals, pig lots, round pens for training, gates going towards the creek and  gates towards the pasture, a parking area, vegetable gardens,chicken coop and run,  dog pen with chain link fencing, manure piles, mulch beds, burn areas, and more. .

   Fast forward to nine years ago as we began to transform the barn – short term – to a wedding reception area for Jill’s wedding.  Animals were ousted, stalls mucked, boards power-washed, curtains made and hung, twinkle lights draped, the Tack room restroom renewed, signs made, and the list went on.

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The barn was simply done but had hints of its current version even back then. It was cutting edge back then – not the first by any means but a rarity around here.  It was so “very Jill” and so it seems even more appropriate that she is part of its evolution to share this dream with other girls. 

   Fast forward again as we show a few of our project pictures as we transformed the barn into the venue it is today.
  Which brings us current to where we are today.  It has come together – evolved over time – and hopefully refined and improved along the way.  It is our artist canvas of sorts.   We picture what can be out of what we have and then figure out how to transform it.  Under the improvements is the essence of what was there in the beginning only better.
  This is the essence of the History of our Farm….and its transition from a struggling farm to a family hobby farm to a wedding farm venue.  I hope you were fascinated and maybe even amused at our long and interesting journey.  As we pick up soon with Part IV of Renovations of the Past and Renovations to Come – we will introduce you to the Bluebird Cottage and its transformation from a aged, neglected, abandoned, and out-dated house to a pinterest-inspired cozy cottage soon to be available for Guest Lodging.                    Good Night-Margie