Life the way it used to be….. Preserving history and honoring tradition by working a sustainable farm, producing handmade products, and educating the public on the value of self-sufficiency, craftsmanship, and a strong sense of community.
Located on three acres in the northwest corner of the historic village of Mooresville, AL (pop. 54), 1818 Farms is named for the year Mooresville was incorporated, one year before Alabama became a state. The happy animal residents on our little farm include Babydoll Southdown sheep, a Nubian goat, cats, hens, a pot-bellied pig, mini pigs, and two Great Pyrenees guardian dogs. In an adjacent field, lavender and other herbs are grown for use in hand-made beauty products and for wreaths and bouquets. Heirloom produce and flowers are also grown for local restaurants and vendors.
Parties of all types are hosted in the garden and adjacent Garden House. Children’s birthday parties, supper and garden club gatherings, and “Farm to Table” dinners hosted by some of the area’s top chefs all take place on our farm. The Garden House is also home to a series of classes including: raised bed gardening, food preservation, seed starting, raising backyard chickens, knitting, and wreath making. Additionally, the landscape of our historic farm makes a beautiful backdrop for wedding and special event photo shoots.
1818 Farms’ bath and beauty products contain some of the farms’ lavender and herbs. Featured on the labels are some of the more popular farm animals from Farrah Fawcett’s Bath Tea and Clover’s Lip Smack to Sweet Pea and her scented Shea Creme. These products are all handmade, hand-packaged and include all-natural ingredients. Our products are now available in spas and stores throughout the United States and online.
Natasha explains how 1818 Farms came about:
“The idea for this family project originated with my middle child, Gamble, who fell in love with the Babydoll Southdown Sheep that he met at a petting farm we visited in October 2011. Owning a Babydoll was all he could talk about, so, thinking this would be fun and educational for our family to do together, I began researching where to buy a few lambs to raise as a family project on our land here in Mooresville. And then, as Gamble, my 8 year-old entrepreneur, began to plan what he was going to do with his sheep: sell the wool, sell the manure to garden shops, charge for photographs, and even stage a Nativity scene at the church if he could find a baby, I began to dream my own plans for a small profitable farm where we could teach our children to appreciate the land and animals and to be good conservationists. We also wanted to teach them the importance of being self-sustaining.”
Once I committed to raising sheep and chickens, I had to research and plan carefully to ensure a successful farm project. Many thanks to the people who helped me complete the following tasks in December 2011 through March 2012 before we could welcome our animals:
- Find a good match with reputable and experienced Babydoll sheep breeders. We bought two lambs from Flying Newf Farms in Braden, TN, and two from Bluegrass Babydolls near Lexington, KY after they were weaned.
- Search for a guardian animal. The choices were a donkey, a llama, or a Great Pyrenees dog. I found a trained dog in California through workingLGDs Yahoo Group.
- Find transportation for the dog. Tab at Paws N Claws Pet Transport in Somerville, AL
- Talk to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge about boundaries and have a survey done.
- Talk to Farm Service Agency about land management and cross fencing.
- Talk to Limestone County Extension Office about rotational grazing.
- Clear the encroaching Wildlife Refuge vegetation. Brad Newman of Newman Backhoe in Hillsboro, AL.
- Build cross fencing for grazing rotation – Gene Hamman of Quality Farm Fencing in Danville, AL built an excellent wire field fence, electrified and with creosote posts in concrete.
- Choose paint and stain colors for barn and garden house/classroom – Sammy Stone at Gobble-Fite Lumber Co.
- Repair and paint existing barn and run water for the restroom – Stuart South of The Landscape Company and his men were tirelessly involved in every aspect of this project. In addition to repairing the barn and running water to it, they remodeled the hen house, built window boxes, prepared the lavender fields, dug irrigation ditches, planted sod, built a compost bin, and built the raised garden bed. I’m sure there will be many more opportunities to make improvements. I will be eternally grateful for his time and effort and great ideas!
- Design the garden house/classroom to fit architecturally with the existing barn. Clyde Schmedeke of Carriage House Garages, Inc.
- Stain and paint the barn, hen house, and garden house – Tommy Walker of Walker Painting.
- Build tables out of reclaimed wood for garden house/classroom – Alyson Cartner.
- Receive advice and help with animals from Pam and Marguerite at Pam’s Pet Grooming and Boarding.
- And, last but not least, thanks to my supportive dad, Ralph Cunningham of Florence, AL, who knows everything and can do anything!