Malarie McConaha and Tim Hunter: Stop #10 on the Arts and Ag Tour of Hickman County

Malarie McConaha

Malarie McConaha will be performing with Time Hunter at Duck River Rose Farm both days of the tour.

When Malarie McConaha moved to Nashville in 2014 to launch her career as a singer and songwriter, she began hitting the local music scenes around the city most evenings while during the day, working at a Broadway boot store to pay the bills. That story is a familiar one for many music hopefuls, but for her, that part didn’t last long.

She had been hearing about a small town outside of Nashville, where many of her music icons live and play music in casual settings almost every day. A local open mic night seemed like a simple stop, but it would be the first of many that would change her life.

She quickly met friends and became close with many of the famous and not-so-famous talented locals who have become mentors, sponsors, dear friends, and fans.

“At first, I was a little star-struck, but that wears off pretty fast when you realize that they are normal people living normal lives,” says McConaha. “Being surrounded by great talent inspires your own growth as an artist.”

But don’t let her humility fool you. There’s a reason why the music veterans like working with her. She has a style that blends hints of Janice Joplin and Bonnie Raitt with undertones of Linda Ronstadt. But her style is all her own as she tells stories of conviction, love, mystery, and adventure in her original, unique music. She underscores her soulful voice and story telling ability with raw acoustic and electric guitar.

Her talents extend beyond music. After suffering a broken wrist one afternoon after playing a show, she developed a love of making jewelry, which she sells at every show. Her jewelry is also sold in shops across the nation under the name Copper and Clay.

McConaha will be joined by Tim Hunter to perform for two days at the Duck River Rose Farm on the 2016 Arts and Ag Tour of Hickman County. They will play covers by Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac, John Prine, Bob Dylan, and Guy Clark, as well as originals including McConaha’s “Smooth Talker,” and Hunter’s “Til the Hurricanes Are Gone,” which is currently on hold for George Strait.

Heritage Reclaimed Farm: Stop # 14 on the Arts and Ag Tour of Hickman County

Cows grazing at Heritage Reclaimed Farm

Cows grazing at Heritage Reclaimed Farm

Heritage Reclaimed Farm will be a part of the Hickman County Arts and Ag Tour for the third time this year.  Established in 2012, Heritage Reclaimed Farm has all Middle Tennessee has to offer; rolling hills, open pastures, ponds, creeks and  springs. The Charles and Shona Shough family moved to middle Tennessee for the purpose of being part of a community of faith, establish better food systems, and to help serve their neighbors. Along with their two sons, Isaac and Valor, they are working hard to reclaim the land and the heritage of their homestead.

In their commitment to better health, and good stewards of the Land, they raise and sell Grass-fed Beef & Sheep, Organic Pastured pigs, and organic pastured chickens.

On Saturday of the Hickman County Arts and Ag Tour, they will be featuring a French Market and preparing their signature Organic Pork Stack Fry Bread Plate with slaw and French Beignets topped with Organic Jam.  You can purchase Organic, rustic, artisan bread, organic raw milk grass-fed cheese from an Artisan Cheese maker and purchase their meats directly raised on the farm. When visiting the farm, you will enjoy the scenic beauties of Middle Tennessee, and speak to one of their farm-hands and discuss grass-fed rotational cattle, chicken grazing and low infrastructure farm endeavours.

You can take a self-guided tour of the farm, or we can take you on a hay ride. You will be able to see and meet the animals that are a part of their everyday life. This day is sure to be memorable, and they invite all to come and take a stroll around the farm, and garden and enjoy the beauty of special homestead.

heritagereclaimed

Craftyus: Stop #1 on Arts and Ag Tour of Hickman County

Wood Burning by Craftyus

Wood Burning by Craftyus

Craftyus, longtime vendors at the annual Banana Pudding Festival, will be appearing for the first time on the Arts and Ag Tour at stop number 1 on the Public Square. Getting their start by combining a love of woodworking with an interest in polymer clay, Craftyus creates a variety of polymer clay figurines, wood crafts, and wood burnings. Seeing these end results is the most satisfying part of the process for Craftyus, that and the enjoyment their crafts bring to others.

 

 

 

Wood Games by Craftyus

Wood Games by Craftyus

At their booth during Arts and Ag, Craftyus will have a wide selection of their crafts available for purchase, including beautiful and unique bird houses, wood burned plaques, carpenter bee traps, polymer clay ornaments, charms, and figurines. Many of the materials Craftyus uses are either from the area or from the USA.

 

 

 

Polymer Figures by Craftyus

Polymer Figures by Craftyus

Outside of the Arts and Ag Tour, Craftyus’ works can be viewed and purchased during Autumn in the Country on October 1st on the Square in Centerville and Christmas Time’s a Coming  on November 19th at the East Hickman Elementary School in Lyles. They also sell their crafts from their home. More information can be found on their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/craftyuscrafts, or at their booth during Arts and Ag.

Tottys Bend Soap Farm: Stop #8 on the Arts & Ag Tour of Hickman County

Friendly Goat at Tottys Bend Soap Farm

Friendly Goat at Tottys Bend Soap Farm

Tottys Bend Soap Farm will be joining the the Arts and Ag Tour on Friday and Saturday, for the fifth year in a row, as stop number 8 on the tour map. There you can see firsthand how owners Nate and Vanessa Davis raise their goats and make a variety of skin care products from their goat milk. The Davis’ moved to Hickman County from Atlanta, GA in the summer of 2006. The couple was immediately drawn to the idea of raising dairy goats for milk and cheese. Soon they had a small, productive herd of registered Nubian goats. Neither Nate nor Vanessa had any experience with goats or farming of any kind. They relied on advice from experienced goat farmers and did much of their early learning through trial and error.

Tottys Bend Soap Bar

Tottys Bend Goat Milk Soap

In 2010, with a few years of goat farming under their belts, the couple decided to experiment with making goat milk soap. At first they gave their handmade soap to friends and family but soon they began selling their goat milk soaps at the Centerville Marketplace, a shop on the square in Historic Downtown Centerville, just a few miles from their farm. This was the perfect place for the Davis’ to try out different styles and scents of soap on local shoppers. Within the year, the Davis’ created what has become their signature goat milk soap, a four ounce rectangular bar embellished with a decorative Celtic pattern. It was in the fall of 2010 that Nate and Vanessa Davis founded Tottys Bend Soap Farm.

Totty's Bend Soaps

Goat Milk Soaps hand made by Nate and Vanessa.

The following year, Tottys Bend Soaps hit the shelves in several Tennessee Whole Foods stores. While the exposure at Whole Foods has been a blessing to the small company, the Davis’ agree their favorite venue is still Centerville Marketplace for its local charm and loyal customers. They also enjoy setting up a booth and selling their products directly to their customers during the Arts & Ag Tour. “There is nothing more rewarding than to talk to our customers in person. At the Arts & Ag Tour we can share our story and talk about our handmade goat milk soaps. People love to meet our goats, and learn about the nourishing benefits of goat milk, and the natural ingredients that go into our products,” says Nate. In addition to their goat milk soap bars, Tottys Bend Soap Farm also offers handmade goat milk lotions, shaving soaps, talc-free body powder and all natural lip balm. “We make over 25 different scents from recipes that are gentle on sensitive skin,” says Vanessa.

Goat Milking Demo at Tottys Bend Soap Farm

Goat Milking Demonstration

Goat expert Pam Hethcote from Possum Hollow Farm and owner of Star Brite Goat milk Soaps and Lotions will also be there with her handmade items. She and the Davis’ longtime friendship developed from their mutual love of raising dairy goats. “We goat people stick together!” says Hethcote. Brenda Estes, another fellow goat farmer, will also be onsite doing milking demonstrations. Early visitors are invited to milk one of Brenda’s dairy goats. Goat cheese and fresh goat milk samples will also be available to visitors of Tottys Bend Soap Farm during the Arts & Ag Tour.

JoAnne’s Creations will be set up with her beautiful handcrafted jewelry and fabric creations as well as homemade jams and sweets.

See www.TottysBendSoaps.com  or go to Tottys Bend Farm on Facebook for more information about Tottys Bend Soap Farm.

Green Acres Farm and Old Mill Creek Smithy: Stop #17 on 2016 Arts and Ag Tour of Hickman County

New on the tour this year is Green Acres Farm and Old Mill Creek Smithy. With a drive across a shallow spot in Mill Creek, getting there is half the fun!

Picture of Mill Creek

Green Acres Farm: Getting there is half the fun.

Gary and Nancy Kelley and their two sons, Jonathan and Christopher had grown weary of suburban living and were longing for the country, so in 2012 they moved from Nashville to this 28-acre slice of rural paradise on Mill Creek. To the Kelleys their farm is more a source of play than a source of income. Gary still has a day job in Nashville, and Nancy and their high-school-aged boys spend their days homeschooling. In their spare time they all enjoy learning how to farm and are taking on new projects little by little. They will enjoy sharing their successes, and failures, with anyone who’d like to stop by and chat for a while on Friday.

 

Homemade Maple Syrup has been one of their family farm projects.

Homemade Maple Syrup has been one of their family farm projects.

One of their success stories is having learned to make maple syrup from the trees on their farm. Gary did the research, built an outdoor cooking station, and enlisted his sons’ help with tapping trees, bringing in the sap, and boiling it down to a finished product of golden goodness. They were pleased and proud three years ago when the first batch turned out just as they’d hoped, and they’ve cooked up a supply of the sweet stuff every year since. It has turned out to be a great winter project for the men of the house. Gary will enjoy sharing with you the nuances he’s learned for how to make great maple syrup. If you’re a seasoned syrup-maker, he’ll welcome the opportunity to learn a new tip or two himself.

The Kelleys have also had success with keeping their 40-plus blueberry bushes thriving, supporting the free-range lifestyle of a dozen or so chickens (who in turn support them with fresh eggs), and raising their two head of cattle, affectionately named Victor and Briscoe Darlin’.

 

Blacksmithing

Blacksmithing Demonstrations will be given on the hour during the tour on Friday.

The most recent addition to Green Acres farm is the handsome side-draft forge fifteen -year-old Christopher has built. Chris has named his forge “Old Mill Creek Smithy,” and he enjoys crafting an array of hand-forged items there. “If I do say so myself,” Nancy says, “he’s quite good at it and has the touch of an artisan.”  He will offer blacksmithing demonstrations every hour on the hour and will be selling his hand-forged items. After the tour Chris’ wares will be available at Centerville Marketplace in downtown Centerville.

Seventeen-year-old Jonathan enjoys leather craft and also has an artist’s touch.  He will be happy to show you some of the techniques he has learned for turning a piece of leather into something elegant and useful.

Next door is Gary’s mother, tenderly known as “Granny.”  She joined the Kelleys on the farm three years ago, and they say she is a treasure to have close.  She will be displaying her large collection of quilts, and she looks forward to your stopping by for a visit. The quilts were handmade by her mother, Lucille, who was born in 1915 and lived to be 100 years old.

Also at Green Acres on Friday will be Shalom Farms selling their homemade teas, precious handmade dolls, and other items. Terry Day of GiGi’s Rag Rugs will be there, too, selling her one-of-a-kind rugs and demonstrating how she makes them.
At the end of the tour on Friday, you are invited to join the Kelleys for some casual, family-style praise music, produced by their own sons and young friends, down at the circa 1899 cabin by the creek. They’ll share some worship songs you may know as well as some originals they’ve written. Bring a blanket and join them on the lawn for an hour or so of music starting at 6:00 p.m.

 

Country life is suiting the Kelleys just fine.  Gary’s city job is one in which he spends all day at a computer “aligning ones and zeroes,” as he puts it.  He relishes the opportunity back on the farm to get his hands on some dirt and do something tangibly meaningful.  There’s a similar draw there for the rest of the family. They all say they love Hickman county.  They love the dirt roads, having to drive through creeks to get where they’re going, smelling the honeysuckle along the way, seeing a hand go up to wave as they pass.  Life, they say, truly is better in the country.

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2016 Arts and Ag Tour Guide

The 2016 Arts & Ag Tour Guide and Map is now available for pickup or download.  Explore the beautiful back roads of Hickman County on this free, two day, self-guided tour of farms, art and music. Many favorite stops from previous years will be returning, as well as some new stops and new vendors to meet. Printed guides are now available at the Hickman County Chamber of Commerce on the Centerville Town Square and at each stop on the day of the tour.  In the meantime, you can download a full version of the tour guide here.

 

CALL TO ARTISTS, MUSICIANS & FARMERS

The Fifth Annual Arts & Ag Tour is coming up May 27th and 28th!

If you are interested in participating as an artist, crafter, musician, or as a farm on this back roads tour through Hickman County, please contact us at 931-628-0215 or email us at artsandagtour@gmail.com. More info and applications available to download and print from the link below. 

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity! Participate on Friday or Saturday or both days. Stay tuned on Facebook, too!

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