Believe it or not, it has been a year since we started this blog. A year since we officially went underground! A year of so many changes, new friends, new places! It has been a year blessed!
We have had such wonderful experiences with the people who have stayed on our farm and who have fallen in love with the farm, the woods, the huts, the stars!
We have photographers (thanks Philip Murphy for this stary night). We have families, birthday celebrations and just weekends needed away.
It has been such an honor to host all these wonderful people and we have so many more on the way. So many people have taken on the farm as their own. People care for and feed the chickens, people try the new fruits and berries, even if they are not their favorite.
There is a feeling of a reboot from people that has made us all overjoyed. I like to think those who come stay with us might come to Forest Gully Farms for the “hobbit” huts but leave falling in love with nature. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you! This has been a year of growth, work and blessings! Come fall in love with the outdoors all over again and again! We can’t wait to see you all.
Our time at Forest Gully Farms felt nothing short of a gift. We live in an area ever-growing and over-growing, and the options for land and space seem to get further away every day. So yes, it felt like a gift to be handed 15 acres for a day and night and the welcome invitation to explore and enjoy. Not to mention it is 15 acres of land where creativity and beauty and bounty exude at every turn, and we didn’t even get to explore the whole thing!
Our stay could not have come at a more perfect time as my oldest daughter and I had begun reading The Hobbit together the month before. I read it in the 4th grade and have been a devoted fan since. My husband actually visited Hobbiton in New Zealand just last month and as he was showing me photos I noticed a particularly beautiful spot on the hillside and said to him, “I would have just sat there all day long” to which he said, “They don’t let you. They have too many tours coming in.” I thought about how disappointing it would have been to be in such a magical place and not get to drink in my surroundings but to be herded through without time to savor. And right there is the reason Forest Gully is so incredibly special for any Hobbit/LOTR fan.You get to savor, to imagine, to take time and make it the experience you want without rush without interruption, without distraction.
That being said you certainly don’t need to be a Tolkien family to enjoy the farm. We went with our 3 girls, only one of which had Hobbit knowledge so far, and they all had the most amazing time. We even had off-and-on rain showers all afternoon and evening the first day and it was still totally enjoyable. We brought games, made a nice dinner, played in the rain, and even got a decent fire going (thanks to the large umbrella provided). Between imagining at the huts, playing in the playhouse, visiting the chickens and collecting eggs (a definite favorite), to spotting a Tiger Swallowtail, a Zebra Swallowtail, a Rosy Maple Moth, a salamander, and a turtle, they were in Heaven. We all were. 4 days post-visit and today my middlest brought me a picture she drew of the hobbit holes. We are officially Forest Gully fans.
To quote Henry David Thoreau, “A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors.Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature.” So incredibly thankful for our unforgettable “one day”.
This past weekend, we were lucky to have one of our guest celebrate their birthday. Coming all the way from Knoxville, TN the birthday girl and 5 friends stayed a night underground. Not only did they explore our farm and the waterfall, but they also ventured to the Natchez Trace Stables for a horseback riding adventure.
We love hearing about our guests underground adventures and seeing their pictures. We are also overjoyed when they get to enjoy our wonderful community. With quotes like, “The waterfall was epic” and “Thank you for making my friend’s birthday perfect!” We are honored to have the ability to offer a little getaway where people can enjoy each other and nature. Happy Birthday and we look forward to our next guests!
“You know Forest Gully Farms is someplace special when five teenage boys describe their stay as “magical.” Maybe it was the quiet forest, the clear starry skies, or the charmingly realistic hobbit huts, but this place was even better than we imagined. The bedrooms manage to feel both spacious and cozy with light toned wood interiors and white bedding. The middle kitchen hut’s large table was perfect for a game night of Munchkin and Lord of the Rings Risk. A fire pit, complete with firewood and Adirondack chairs, made it so pleasant to roast S’mores and listen to the owls. The timbered bath house offers modern bathroom and laundry. Friendly owners provided a map with trails to the waterfall, great coffee setup, and farm fresh eggs. On the way home, we took the scenic drive through Leipers Fork down Old Hillsboro Rd. directly to Franklin, Tennessee. This is close enough to explore the hustle of Nashville by day and retreat to an unforgettable rustic setting at night. Think about the last time you heard teenagers say this about a place with no wireless or television: “I wish we could stay longer.” “I am definitely coming back here.” “I can’t wait to show this to my parents.” As parents, we felt that this was the best magic of all.”
We were honored to open a little bit earlier than scheduled to welcome some great 15 year old guys and their dad. A big Hobbit fan and his best friends enjoyed a beautiful night under the stars. We could not have asked for better first customers. There are so many great things I could say about their stay but their review above is so beautifully written, words escape me. Their underground story appears to be a success.
Seeing how things all got together faster than we expected, we have decided to go ahead and open our doors. After a wonderful 1st STAY, the next day we had a great farm tour.
“We had such a good time visiting Forest Gully Farm today. We learned so much about permaculture from Jon and Mandy. The place is beautiful even on a cloudy winter day. If you want to learn about sustainable living, you really should go by for a tour.”
Wanda, along with her husband and good friend, scheduled their tour and spent a nice afternoon with us. We learned some fun things and we hope they did too. It was wonderful to meet fellow farmers of the area and make new friends.
Today as we reflect on our weekend, we feel grateful for this opportunity and excited for what is next. The underground stories have just begun and we can’t wait to read more. Thanks to some wonderful people for a wonderful weekend.
It is official! We have set a date for April 22, 2017 to open Forest Gully Farms up to the world. We will have Farm Days, where you can get a tour, take a hike, bring your lunch and eat in the Green Hut and more. Our Farm Days will be Sundays – Wednesdays.
Thursday – Sunday, spend one night or 3 underground in our Gully Hut paradise. Enjoy the wildlife around you and when the season is just right, the fruits, veggies, eggs and berries.
We are very excited to be opening our doors and to hear your own “Going Underground” stories. Stay tuned for more events and schedules as we keep evolving our food forest and underground world. It is a great adventure!
Day 2 in this new year and we are hitting the ground running. Many exciting things happening this year at the farm. We are finally out of our huts and ready to set the Gully up! Although it might seem we are in an off season, the trees, bushes, grass and composts are all working underground. Since they do not get to stop, neither do we. We have been collecting leaves from neighborhoods and have been letting them sit in the sun, letting them break down to be a perfect dinner for our blueberries, veggie garden and more.
Chicken/Veggie rotation garden
Some other hard workers on the farm are these little ladies, our chickens. They have been on the left side of our chicken rotation and in the next week we will open the right side for them to forage through last years veggie garden. While they have been working on the left side, they have been providing manure and hopefully picking the not so nice insects out. We are rotating them to prevent the soil from being burnt and to let it rest for 3 to 4 months before setting up for the spring and summer garden. At the moment, we are trying a little experiment with mycelium from cold blue oyster mushrooms, cardboard and the composting leaves. We used somewhat of a lasagna method, starting with cardboard boxes flattened and spread throughout the left side, then mixed the mycelium and straw, sprinkled that over the cardboard and topped it off with the composted leaves. The goal is to attract earthworms and create a great nutrient rich soil for the spring. Again, it is an experiment so we will see. We love to try new ideas on the farm.
While these ladies continue to do their job, we will continue getting ready for our next experiment. Overnight stays on the farm. We are working to get everything lined up to open April 2017. Be sure to keep following us here and on Facebook to get your bookings reserved. Oh 2017 is going to be fun!!