Sleepy Bee Lavender Farm- A Little History- Part 1
Hello! Thanks for stopping by to check out our webpage, blog and products. We are Jerry and Holly McCabe, and we want to share our successes and failures as we create a lavender and honey farm from scratch. We are learning as we go. With literally no experience with farming or raising bees, this should prove interesting. I promise all the blog posts will NOT be this lengthy, I just wanted to get some background out of the way so people could get to know us and how we got to this point.
We have a large extended family with 3 kids, 8 grandchildren, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. (Here are 6 of the 8 grands)
On the farm currently it's just the 2 of us and our trusty sidekicks, Biscuit & Gravy and Jerry's two kitties Jazz and Bear. There are also about 10 chickens and 6 guineas. Oh, and Russell, our rooster who does NOT like me at all!
Jerry and I started dating in 2009. We were both working for the same company and had been for many years. We were comfortable, took vacations when we wanted to and were basically debt free and living the good life. Jerry proposed in July 2015, after fulfilling one of my bucket list items by taking me to a Rolling Stones concert. We went home and started to make some plans. We should have known better!
We were living in a 2 bedroom condo at this time, and just didn't have space to have family around as much as we wanted. The condo hadn't been updated since the 80's, so Jerry and I decided to take on some renovations ourselves. YouTube was a HUGE help. You can basically learn to do anything if you watch enough videos. While doing the condo renovation, we learned to tile, lay flooring, use a power sprayer to paint, install beadboard and trim, install cupboards. It was exhausting, but paid off in the long run.
It was time to start house hunting! Our dream was to get a place outside the city with a few acres if possible. After being in a condominium, space was a big priority. Building was one option, but the rules and association covenants kind of rubbed us the wrong way. There were several places that seemed perfect on Zillow, but each had some kind of problem. One really exciting prospect turned out to be less than a mile downwind from a cattle feedlot. That didn't seem like it would be a big draw to having family and friends around! Jerry found a listing for a house with five acres about 20 minutes from town. It had 5 bedrooms, so sounded perfect for having the grandkids around a lot more. We went to look at the place even though it was a bit out of our price range. It was definitely not love at first sight, but turns out first impressions aren't always right. The house had some issues and a strange layout. One side was a 1900 farmhouse and there was a large addition built in 2007. The two halves didn't exactly "flow". The house had also been hit by a tornado the year before, so there was some interior damage on the walls. There were doors all over the place...seriously, all over the place. Doors connecting closets, 2 doors in each of the main bathrooms, 3 different doors to the basement..it was very strange. Discussing it on the way home we agreed that the house was just not right for us.
A couple of months later the sellers dropped the price a bit, and we took Wendy, (my sister) and Jim and Kathy (Jerry's parents) out to see the place. Now that it was in our price range, maybe it would be something we could work with. It was worth another look.
Long story short, we decided that the house and 5 acres was exactly what we wanted, even though it was a little odd. (We can admit it when we're wrong :) ) There were some strange events that unfolded with the property that I won't get into here, and by some miracle, we ended up with just over 21 acres at a price we couldn't believe! We had no clue what we'd do with the extra land, but more land couldn't be a bad thing, right? It turned out to be our dream home after all.
We moved into our new home June 30th 2016 and had our first family celebration here on July 4th. It was fantastic to have all this space for family, friends and fireworks!
In September we decided that our wedding date would be May 6th, 2017. By the end of October we had 2 additions to our family, Biscuit & Gravy. They were just what we needed to round out our home!
(That's Gravy on the left, Biscuit on the right, aren't they the cutest!?!)
The condo reno was still going on. Jerry was going back and forth constantly and putting in a lot of long hours between work and reno work. I was working on getting our new home unpacked and settled.
In January 2017 we listed the condo for sale, and the first people to look at it made a cash offer and purchased it. Everything seemed to be going our way!
Time for a reality check. Nothing goes this smoothly for long! Mid March 2017 the news came from our company that they were relocating our department to South Dakota. We were offered the options of keeping our jobs if we wanted to relocate, or if we were willing to stay through February 2018 we would receive a severance package. After a lot of discussion we decided we were staying put. Our friends and family were all here, the new house was awesome, and neither of us had any desire to move to South Dakota. Our jobs were going to be there for almost a year, and then each of us would get a nice severance package. We decided to get through the wedding before making any life decisions.
Wedding day was amazing. It was a gorgeous day. The flowers were lavender, yellow billy balls, oats and dried daisies so it smelled fabulous. My colors were pale yellow and lavender. My sister and both my daughters were there with me as bridesmaids and my son gave me away. Jerry had three of his best friends standing up with him, and one of our close friends got ordained and performed the ceremony on our land with our favorite people. After months of hard work and tons of help from Jim and Kathy, Wendy, my kids and grandkids, the place looked beautiful. Everything went off without a hitch. We had a reception right there at our place as well. It was just a wonderful day.
Mom and Dad McCabe moved in to take care of Biscuit & Gravy for a week and we were off to Jamaica for our honeymoon!
...to be continued. Coming in part 2, time to make a plan.
Deidra Peterson —
My Mom and I are starting a Lavender Farm in Greeneville, TN. Our first 500 plants will be ready to pick up the first week of May. We were looking into how to do the mounds. Your posts are very helpful.