When I first came in the drive of the pasture in the picture, I said "I am home". The fences were rattly, the pasture was mostly broom straw, the big old house needed paint and the sheds were scattered, including a smoke house and a chicken coop! But the porch was enormous on north and west side and there was a big old barn and corn shed. The spillway on the dam was washed out, but the dam still held water and the overflow pipe was intact. Open bucket well in the yard, but running water in the house was limey. 3 bedrooms upstairs and 1 master bed room down stairs. 1 bath upstairs and one down. Living room, dining room, parlor, kitchen, pantry. Wife left the first night and took both children! Plenty of hell and high water since, but I was still there when the house burned down 11 Feb 2019 but have rebuilt a down size for Nancy and me on the site where we are now.
Took major hours on bush hog plus hand pike and lever to move stones out of pasture. Truck loads of chicken litter to make the lush sward you see now. I had a beautiful Purebred Charolais herd in the pasture until turning over operation to John Will who keeps them at "Pretty Valley" part of New Hope Farm. He visits me with yearlings you see grazing in the picture. Pond is rebuilt and we pump clean water to the grazing cattle. Fountain going in soon. You should see "Pretty Valley".
I built an abattoir and sold it to Abdul Chaudry who operates it much more profitably than I did. Also sold tractor company courtesy of USDA building rules. Learned lots of lessons about agriculture over 50 years and the USDA that advises farmers is very different from the USDA that regulates meat processing. Too painful to tell you about switching to hog processing and loosing the 3rd farm to the pig seller.
Chairman of Siler City Chamber of Commerce Committee on Health Service, 1983
Chairman of Chatham County Commission for the Developmentally Disabled, 1972-1977 - evolved into Chatham Trades currently thriving with leadership of Shawn Poe providing jobs for dozens of fine people with various disabilities as well as exquisite staff.
Board of Directors, Siler City Arts Council, 1984
Member, NC Cattlemen's Association - Write occasional special column for the "Carolina Cattle Connection" monthly publication.
Member, NC Beef Cattle Improvement Program - Top Gaining Charolais at 3 NC Bull Test Stations
Member, American International Charolais Association - National Stewardship Award
Member, Siler City Rotary Club 1967 to present.
Charter Member, NC Sheriff's Association to present
Member Chatham County Agriculture Advisory Board 2014-2019
Design & photographs by Nancy Van Camp and John Dykers