Best of America

Why Your Next Girls’ Getaway Should Be at This Peaceful Crafting Retreat

Dad loved sharing his farm with others, and his family carries on his legacy.

Farm & Ranch Magazine

My father, Gene Meads, purchased this 101-acre farm 1989. It was rundown and neglected, but Dad had a vision of the beauty it could have. He set to work tearing down and restoring buildings, completely remodeling the house and making two overgrown ponds into one. He worked hard to accomplish his dream, and put his heart and soul into this farm.

My husband, Les, and I have three children, Laura, Michelle, and Michael. We built our home on the property in 2000, and my dad and I began to work together running the farm. We raised heifers and corn, soybeans and hay. Of course I was basically the hired helper, but it was wonderful that we could share the time we did together.

Farm & Ranch Magazine

In December 2010, my dad suffered a stroke and was gone within three days. It was such a shock, as he was the hardest-working 75-year-old I had ever seen. We had worked together that whole day, never imagining it was the last day of life as we knew it.

Knowing what the farm meant to him, and having lived here for 10 years, it was a no-brainer that I would carry on with the farm. Dad had already contracted crops for 2011, and those obligations needed to be fulfilled. I really wished I had paid more attention to the details of running the farm. I was determined to not only run the place, but also make it succeed.

Luckily I have great neighbors and friends who helped me, showing me how to do everything from running the hay mower and manure spreader to telling me what was needed to produce a crop to sell in the fall. Les works in the computer technology field. He helps out on weekends, and does a great job with the mowing and otherwise keeping the farm looking nice.

I am very grateful to be part of a small farming community where the people truly care for each other. I know my dad would be overwhelmed by the generous assistance and support I have received from his friends.

I remember the scary feeling going into that first spring, wondering how I would ever pull this off. I have learned a lot—and still have lots to learn, I know—but now instead of being afraid, I am actually excited to face a new growing year. If I could survive the drought in 2012, I think I can make it through anything.

I have been told I should just rent the land and not have the worries, but I enjoy applying what I’ve learned. A little confidence sure makes a difference!

It was hard to decide what to do with Dad’s house. Since I was on the place every day, running the farm, it was hard to imagine renting it and having no access to it. My dad loved entertaining and sharing his beautiful farm with others, and I decided to follow his example.

Farm & Ranch Magazine

In December 2011, I opened Memory Lane Crafting Retreat. It is a girls’ getaway, where women get together to craft and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Quilters, scrapbookers, stampers, and church groups have stayed here. The crafting room overlooks a picturesque pond and beautiful rolling hills.

Content continues below ad

Everyone loves the beauty and peacefulness the farm has to offer. I have found our guests are intrigued by what goes on at the farm, whether it’s haying, spring planting, fall harvesting, or anxiously awaiting the birth of a foal.

A favorite attraction on the farm is our huge, friendly pet cow, Blosom. My guests love her. She has become the ambassador of the farm and likes to have her chin scratched and ears rubbed.

Posted by Memory Lane Crafting Retreat on Saturday, December 31, 2016

Blosom has lived here from the time she was a calf but could never have a calf of her own. She was special from the day she came to the farm, always loving people.

The Journal Standard, the local newspaper, recently wrote a story about Blosom, and the Associated Press picked it up. Now she’s been featured in newspapers all over the world. Michelle and I are also writing a children’s book about her. Blosom even has a Facebook page!

Farm & Ranch Magazine

While the crafting retreat was my idea, my dad gets all the credit for the way the farm looks. It was far from the prettiest place in the country when he started. I am just maintaining it as his legacy, continuing his love of sharing it with others.

Now that I own the place, I understand the pride that comes from caring for something that holds a special place in your heart and soul.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.