You are never to old to play with ducklings never!

Green Acres – It’s Still the Place to Be

Part of the saga of how Jacque and Nancy moved from Atlanta suburbs to Bowdon by Nancy Garry

After stepping between 300 tomato plants wedged in a small suburban home backyard, Jacque and I looked at each other one day and said we need land.  We had okra growing around the mail box, fruit trees in the yard, garden plants on the deck and we even talking about a large green house to be added on top of a carport addition….Truly we craved land for planting but also some open space and fresh air.

 So late in 2004 and in 2005 we began our country pursuit in earnest.    We spent days pursuing that in the metropolitan Atlanta area and found that our wishes for land exceeded our meager means or borrowing abilities.  We went to Alabama to look for property and on the way back to Georgia picked up a small realty magazine, saw an ad for a rural home with 3 former commercial chicken houses in Carroll County that was perfect or so we thought, but apparently not it was sold just the day we called.  Well I asked the realtor Larry to be kept on his listing if similar property came up.  At this point in time, I had almost given up the dream of a farm, but God answered our prayers because Larry Smith sent us every listing his firm had on e mail. I almost didn’t open up the one which invited us to an open house of his wife’s family home.   So through God’s intervention and divine plan, we came down that day for the Sherrill Farm open house and said that very day decided that this was our home.   Well we broke all the rules and offered exactly what was asked, because it was perfect for us.  The drive from Atlanta that Saturday morning was spectacular on that beautiful warm spring day, grassy farms were passed on the way to the farm.   It was as if we had stepped back in time to a gentler time where people had time for each other and loved their Lord, their family and their neighbors.   It felt like coming home….to a forever home on this earth.

My enthusiasm was not shared equally by friends and cohorts. I still recall the day I told my office co-workers in busy downtown Atlanta that Jacque and I had bought a very old farm in Bowdon.   Later I emailed them pictures of the farm with its greenish siding and the green lush grass growing around it.   After they saw the lovely Sherrill family farm place, they nicknamed it “Green Acres”.   They shook their heads and teased me without mercy when I told them that I wanted to live there full time.  Some would start humming the tune to the old television show Green Acres when they saw me.  I put up the pictures of the farm in the office and on the screensaver.   I would daydream often of the farm and could barely wait until the weekend when we would come to the farm place and stay until late on Sunday night or early Monday morning.  My friends would say why are you thinking about farming.   What do you know about farms?   What will you do for fun?   Oh I said confidently I spent summers with my Granny and Jacque grew up on a Texas farm.  I was totally clueless about the amount of work that was looming as my memories were of playing at my Granny’s farm, but that’s another few articles just on that topic.

Living weekends at the farm was not enough.  Driving back late Sunday/early Monday and facing a week of smog, road rage and city stress became less and less tolerable.  After a few months of my weekly crying on the way back to “The City”, it became to both of us that what we had envisioned as a weekend/holiday get away and then eventually a retirement country home was not a good reality.   We had to find a way to live here full time.   When after only a few weekends we knew more of our Bowdon neighbors and shop owners and church friends than we had know in the years of suburban living, we knew where we belonged.

I’ve had several slogans when I wrote people about Bowdon  ---- Blessed to be in Bowdon, I’d sign off my real letters and e mails.  Blessed beyond belief in Bowdon (please don’t borrow that phrase because that’s the title of my book to be …  

It was and has been a wonderful time here.  We began our full time life in Bowdon with everything in the back seat and trunk of a car as we tested out our plan, one camper bed, some boxes of clothes, 2 small camping chairs and a folding table kitchenware for 2 and one iron skillet and one cooking pan and a donated microwave.   We had no tv or radio for a while.  Then we added a tv that was used to play old VHS tapes and occasionally picked up an air wave from the rabbit ears..   Early on we did add the internet as I began telecommuting at every opportunity.  So the crazy suburb house was an occasional visited home for mail/cutting grass/etc.   Eventually it was sold which was a welcome economic relief but its priority faded as we were and are now in love with our new and forever home and community.

It was such a simple time.  Enjoying the landscape, planting the first garden, walking the land were chief activities as well as driving down the winding country roads.  It is still so much of what I enjoy about being here.  That although there have been changes in the county and area, we are still breathing some very wonderful air and see some amazing natural sights.  That we pick the food we eat and we know it’s naturally grown.

My memories are filled with so many wonderful stories I would love to share like the night we broke bread with the deer.   I shall never forget spending the night raised up high in the bucket of the tractor, covered up with blankets and not speaking …..waiting to see and hear deer……..   I lured them in with bits of banana bread that I made that had gone stale and bits of apples and was given an awesome opportunity to be soo close to deer.   Now on that very land, we have put up high deer fencing, perhaps confusing some of the ancestors of our first banana bread deer as we so graciously call them.  

I’m often reminded of the Mastercard’s television commercial where a special memory is created such as a trip to visit relatives in a foreign country and the words are then said  A trip to the old country  “priceless”…

 For us priceless is:

  • Sitting in 2 camping chairs on a screened porch watching the sun rise and no cars seen or sound being made;
  • Seeing fireflies and watching children chase them for flashlight jars;
  • Listening to the strange racket of katydids;
  • Being without modern technology and sitting by your best friend listening, talking or just being;
  • Screaming at my very first armadillo standing up in front of me like a prehistoric creature!
  • And hundreds of other Bowdon memories

Now, all of the transition has not been easy.  We’ve been without running water, electricity and indoor plumbing for extended times during our household renovations. During extreme rainy seasons, we’ve had to scoop up animals and fix fence lines and repair pen damages.   I’ve cried my eyes out on wild dog attacks where animals have been hurt and killed.   Growing from 3 animals to hundreds of animals, chickens, guineas, rabbits, turkeys, ducks, geese, pigs, cattle, goats and learning how to care for them has and will be both a joy and hard work.   Learning how to can and freeze and prepare new and different vegetables has been challenging.   Being a midwife to goats who need help is something I could never imagine doing.   Heating by firewood you chop is a challenge, etc. Homesteading and now working full time at farming has been a challenge and a joy.

Would I change a thing?   Yes, if I could have been farming earlier I would have as it is the most challenging difficult job I have ever had but the most rewarding as well.  The simple pleasures abide and when a customer says how much they enjoyed food, fruit, milk, eggs, baby chicks, etc, it makes it all worth while.   The joy of  showing others different techniques of chicken management during a farm tour is so special.

Thanks Bowdon, for letting us live here and tell you just a bit of our tale here.   Thanks for the welcome and being such precious customers.  It is because of your support and others who believe in us that this Green Acres and we are surviving and we are so grateful. 

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