Why we do (and love) what we do.
My Story and History
I was born into a farming/ranching and entrepreneurial family- eight generations of ranchers and crop farmers. My grandmother on my mother’s side remembers bringing in 300,000 sheep yearly to the shearing barns with her father and hauling the wool to market in mule drawn wagons, while supporting over 20 families on the ranch to keep it running. Her husband loved genetics and used this farm we now own to house Charolais cattle that he imported as embryos from England in the 70’s. My grandfather on my dad's side used his GI bill to purchase a small farm and grew and expanded it to a 6,000-acre cotton farm that my father and younger brother still run today.
All this history led to a little girl that received her first bottle fed goat at two, began traveling the state of Texas with a 4-H team at ten showing market goats, and saved up to buy her own herd of dairy goats at thirteen. With that first herd of dairy goats, I launched my first goat milk soap business and peddled soap to all my family and mom’s friends. I learned to sew my own clothes at the age of six, and was welding horse carriages by ten. I was homeschooled and got to enjoy a life very much like the ones your girls live. I was trusted to be wise and learn and practice my new skills.
As I got into high school I was lost as where this mis-mash of skills and interests left me, and at my mother’s prodding decided to take my love of sewing and attend a fashion design school in Dallas, Texas. I adored being creative every day. I also loved helping teach the other students to put in zippers and thread machines! Now that I’m in the dairy business, my dad gives me hard time about where the schooling he paid for is being used on today (I kindly point to my Edenslilly logo). I graduated in 2006, and launched my own western wear shirt business in 2007. When I married in 2009, my hubby was still finishing up college so I quite the shirts (which never really took off- proof that I am an entrepreneur- failure!) and worked as a Victoria’s Secret retail sales manager to bring in enough money to support us until 2011, when my first son was born and we moved home.
This is just a snippet of my history but who I truly am is an entrepreneur, a maker, a creative, a very hard worker, a fabricator, and to my surprise a teacher. I can't seem to help myself!! Every time I quit something I am sure to start up something new pretty soon after. I seem to need something to create.
The farm wraps up all my loves and skills and allows me to sell a product so I can keep creating. It blends my passions with a lifestyle I love for my children to grow up in. I LOVE this life. I LOVE to work hard and I inherited overactive genes of drive and ambition. It really is just in my blood. When we moved home and started the farm I had a 2 year old and was pregnant, I did most of the work myself with a baby on my back and one in a red wagon! I am raising my three children like I grew up, schooling at home and learning as they play and work alongside me, learning about our world, hard work, dedication and good character. I want them to love the land as I do, be proud of our heritage as I am, and to teach others to do the same. We must work hard to preserve this way of life and share it! Now being firmly entrenched in my 30s, I know myself enough to know that I am a diverse individual with a strange assortment of talents and that is what drives me to be an entrepreneur. There is no corporate box, no big business cubicle, that would give me enough satisfaction to create and use my gifts. For better or for worse I am an entrepreneur!
Sustainability and Stewardship
We believe the earth and its resources are a blessing given to us to steward well, and this belief dictates how we farm. Returning the land to a rich, fertile, living canvas is our first aim because healthy soil is the basis of growing good pasture for livestock to thrive. This produces the best, most nutritious meat, milk ,and eggs as well as the farm-fresh taste and nutrient-dense richness that our agricultural ancestors enjoyed.
With just a few dairy goats, chickens, and a large garden, we "planted" our farm. We soon noticed that much of our pasture grasses went uneaten, so we watched, researched and discovered that each species consumes different types and parts of plants. To get the most from our land, we needed to expand.
We added cattle to munch the grasses, goats to eat the weeds and brush, pigs to clean up dropped seeds and roots, and chickens to spread manure and eat bugs to cleanse the land. We densely stocked the pasture, and now all parts are utilized as the animals fertilize every inch. Finally, we work hard to rest the land for 21 days so that plants can regenerate and grow with vigor from the natural fertilizer only to nourish the herds again.
Recently, we purchased my grandfather's original homestead. Under previous ownership, it sat vacant for four years, but we are slowly bringing it back to life. You can feel the hum of excitement as you step on the property and hear the sounds of farm animals and see the growth happening all around.
My great grandfather farmed this land; my grandfather built his home and bred prize-winning cattle here; and my mother was born here. I grew up here, playing with cousins and learning about the farm life. At the age of two, I received my first baby goat from the hands of family that worked this land, and I fell in love. Farming is in my blood as generations before me lived this life I now celebrate.
Sharing what we've learned is one of our greatest pleasures, and we hope others sense the enthusiasm we have for this life we live. We enjoy bringing people to ask questions and experience the farm life, if only for a day.
Living on and working land is no longer common, and we desire to reconnect all ages to agricultural production, the very roots of our well-being. Through farm tours, speaking engagements, school field trips, and farm clinics, we hope to educate our local community as much as possible.
I believe children should hold a baby chick, milk a goat, and experience playing in a pasture. As a businesswomen and mother, this livelihood gives me a means to educate my own children. I stay home with them, and they play along side me, learning about our world, hard work, dedication, and good character. I want them to love the land as I do, be proud of this heritage as I am, and teach others to do the same.