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

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.

Baskets for Hearth and Home: Stop #12 on the Arts and Ag tour of Hickman County

 

baskets

Baskets for Hearth and Home

Baskets for Hearth and Home will be making their first appearance on the Arts and Ag Tour at the Grinder’s Switch Winery, stop number 12 on the tour map. Sherryl Sneed and Brenda Cashion, the founders of the group, were initially introduced to the art of basket weaving through a class at church, Brenda 14 years ago and Sherryl 4 years ago. Since becoming hooked on the craft of basket weaving, the two have committed themselves to the art of creating something that is both useful and decorative at the same time, while teaching others to do the same.

Baskets for Hearth and Home will have a large selection of handwoven baskets of various sizes available for sale at their booth. The baskets are made from a variety of materials, including rattan, white oak, honeysuckle, day lily leaves, and leather. In addition, the baskets are stained with a homemade water-based stain made from local walnut hulls. Aside from the wide assortment of baskets they will have for sale, Baskets for Hearth and Home will also be demonstrating basket weaving all day Saturday.

Stop by the booth for demonstrations.

Stop by the booth for demonstrations.

The baskets on display during Arts and Ag are also available at various other festivals throughout the year and at Baskets for Hearth and Home’s online store at basketsforhearthandhome.com. Their basket weaving classes are also available outside of the Arts and Ag Tour; Sherryl and Brenda teach a class each month at Cross Roads Cowboy Church in Bon Aqua and quarterly at Centerville United Methodist Church. Groups interested in basket weaving classes may also schedule a class at their location.

More information can be found on Baskets for Hearth and Home’s website or at their booth during the Arts and Ag Tour on Saturday.

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

One of a kind and custom designs by JP Creatives.

One of a kind and custom designs by jp.creatives

Jp.creatives will be displaying her unique and personalized creations at stop number 1–the Public Square in Centerville–on this year’s Arts and Ag Tour. Her second year on the tour, Janet Pierce, the artist behind jp.creatives, got her start working with puzzle pictures: first, putting a puzzle together and then gluing it to a surface to create a picture. Later, she made a frame for her granddaughter and, as she puts it, “the rest is history.” Even before her work with puzzle pictures, Janet Pierce has always had a love of the arts; as a child, she learned to play the piano from her mother, a pastime she enjoys to this day. Her artistic interests only expanded from there, first with crafting and later on, drawing.

In all of her many and varied pieces, jp.creatives strives for the challenge of creating something new. Each piece she makes is unique, no two exactly alike. At her booth during the Arts and Ag Tour, jp.creatives will have decorated frames, coasters, trinket boxes, ornaments – paper mâché stars & hearts and glass globes in different sizes – letters, wall hangings, crosses, and possibly some pieces of her father’s hand-carved, folk-lore style ornaments, pins, barrettes, and earrings.

One of a kind and custom designs by JP Creatives.

One of a kind and custom designs by jp.creatives

Outside of the Arts and Ag Tour, jp.creatives’ work can be viewed occasionally at the Farmer’s Market at Riverpark in Centerville, from June through the end of September;  at the Grinder’s Switch Music and Arts Festival on September 10th; at the Autumn in the Country Arts & Crafts Fair on October 1st, and at the Christmas Time’s a-Comin’ Arts and Crafts Fair on November 19th. Jp.creatives also has a regular booth at the Centerville Marketplace on the Public Square and takes custom orders throughout the year. Further information will be available at jp.creatives’ booth during the Arts and Ag Tour.

Kim Cary: Stop #1 on the Arts and Ag Tour of Hickman County

Necklace

Necklace made by jeweler, Kim Cary

Kim Cary’s handcrafted jewelry will be making its debut appearance on the Public Square in Centerville–stop number 1 on the map–during this year’s Arts and Ag Tour. She first began her journey into silversmithing and bead weaving thirty years ago as a single mother to young children. Since then, she has further developed her craft, spending many hours beading ornate and intricate designs. She pays special attention to the design of each of her pieces, carefully selecting each color and incorporating natural stones in such a way as to compliment the person wearing it.

Kim Cary’s booth at Arts and Ag will feature hand-made jewelry in sterling silver and 24k gold, beaded jewelry using natural gems like rubies and emeralds, and rose petal beads that keep their scent. She will also have homemade peanut butter brittle for those who have a sweet craving while perusing.

Kim Cary’s workshop is at her home, and, in her own words, “people are welcome to come and see what I do; I personalize to people’s requests and generally love a good chat.” More information will be available at Kim Cary’s booth at the Centerville Courthouse during Arts and Ag.

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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