We get asked often, “where did YOU move here from?” When we reply, “born and raised in Tennessee.” We are often met with squinted eyes and wrinkled eyebrows as they try to comprehend what we just said. At times I often wonder if those simple words come out like a foreign language. It’s so foreign that hardly no one is from here anymore!  It is like finding a needle in a haystack to be, “born and raised here!” I am not sure if that makes our story exciting or if it very quickly sends us to the boring zone.  But non the less here we are. 

Gary is 7th generation Tennessean. The girls are 8th generation!  I am just a couple generation Tennessean but do not hold that against me. I will use the average method for me. 

We are 1st generation farmers! As Gary and I like to call ourselves we are, “flip flop farmers!”  You will often find us on the farm in a pair of Chaco sandals! Although, I did buy my first pair of muck boots this year and let me just say, “how did I ever live life without them!” Next up on my farm attire is a pair of overalls… I do not own any yet but soon my friends I will grab me a pair! 

 My grandparents grew up picking cotton and working on farms and I am sure somewhere on Gary’s side he had some farmers, but our parents were not and therefore it skipped a generation. Although at times I feel like it skipped many generations. 

 Farming is HARD! Its confusing. The almanac and the farmers reader’s digest. Stopping by the co-op and hearing the “farm gossip” keeps this adventure alive! This week when I stopped in to buy chicken feed, I got to educate a young guy on what a rooster is good for. I laughed as I walked out thinking, “I just talked like a farmer…. I wonder if I walk like one yet?!” 

 I feel like farmers are good story tellers. That I am not sure yet if all the “folk lore” is truth or if it was just something to keep someone’s spirits up. Talking about spirits. Goodness gracious the drought has been tough! We were eager this first farming season and planted a garden, 30 blackberry bushes, 30 apple trees and rows of zinnias and a row of cotton. Let me just say, “I have never been so excited to see rain in my life!” I am thankful for the experienced farmers who can keep their crops alive and feed our family as this year I defiantly did not do too well! We have only harvested a few cherry tomatoes and a couple squash. My zinnias are going crazy and thankful for the chickens’ laying eggs. 

Get out of the city. Take a drive. Visit a farm. Buy from a farmer. And when out in the country take a moment to smell. Smell what nature smells like. Smell the rain coming. Smell the hay. Smell the animals. 

Much Love- Ashlie (Flip Flop Farmer)

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