Our homestead acreage is a function of family, history, and dreams.
Andy and I got married in 1991. Since farming was always at the top of the dreams list, in 1993 we jumped at the chance to fence off some family land and bring the cows off the range. The land was a parcel my parents bought from my great grandfather. It is also the place my dad was born and raised. It had been in our family since 1921. However, it had not been used in over 3 decades. We began using this land. Much of it was in brush and young timber. Not the most desirous land mass for grass farming. We call this place the Hedge Place.
In 2005, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Unable to continue taking care of his small herd of beef cattle, we took over his herd. The place my daddy had his cattle was another parcel of land that had been in his family. It had much more open pastures, a barn and beautiful scenery. We call this place Uncle Grady's.
These two parcels of land are not contiguous and are approximately 10 miles apart and over 15 miles from our home. However, the opportunity for improvement of our herd was much greater with this second parcel.
In 2009, a timber company sent out notices of a land sale close to our home. We drove the land and the dreams began. This land had been my great aunt's place. After the timber was cut, we were able to submit a bid and finally bought our first acreage. Then the waiting began. We were not able to do anything with the land due to finances and building our meat business, so it sat untouched for 5 years. It you know anything about Arkansas, no land improves without some type of management. We finally began the process of clearing what we could, a fence row at first. We build a 5 wire perimeter electric fence serviced by solar panels. As time and money allowed, we cleared more with a tree-hogging mulcher instead of a traditional bulldozer.
At this time, the parcel is only partially fenced. Much is still in timber and awaiting the next phase of work. This land will be a work in progress. It requires much more animals per acre than we have been able to provide. But it is close to home and will be beautiful some day. We call this place the Miller Place.
Our dream of owning a large spread of land is not a reality at this time. But our dream is changing. We are continuing to raise our family, graze our herds and improve our family estates on generational land groups. For that we are grateful and truly blessed.