The Story of Belmont Farm

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Many who board their dogs with me are so enchanted by the farm and the life that we live here, so I am going to tell you more about it. In addition to boarding and taking excellent care of your fur-babies, my family and I also raise many other animals, including humanely-raised steers and pigs for meat. You can learn more about that here.

Our farm has been in the family for a long time and has a rich history. Here is the Cliffs Notes version of it.

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Murray Farm

My great-grandparents’ last name was Murray

While our farm is named Belmont Farm, many old-time farmers or just old-timers around here know it as the Murray Farm. My great-grandparents’ last name was Murray. Belmont Farm was a dairy farm that consisted of 211 acres and lots of buildings, most of which are still here. There was a large chicken house, which is now the building all of you know of as The Dog House – that’s where the name came from. The building used to house chickens and was called the Chicken House, so if it was going to house dogs I figured common sense says it should be called The Dog House. I bet most of you thought there was a much better story on how I picked the name, but nope I just used good ole common sense.

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What are the other buildings you'll see while you're here?

The Blacksmith Shop, the hog pens and the Ice House are all still here. The Ice House is the old white building all of you park next to. What do you think is the purpose of an Ice House? I will give you a hint: use your common sense … yup you guessed it, it housed ice! Back when my great-grandparents were running this farm there was no electricity. While many cities had enjoyed power for many years, in 1935 90% of all farms did not have electricity. Power companies just weren’t willing to put up poles and run all those wires over so much land. By 1945 things had changed and 90% of all farms did have central electricity. But in the meantime farmers needed a way to keep food from spoiling. This is what the Ice House was used for:  a building built over a large hole in the ground, layered with straw and chunks of ice chipped from the stream. They  would keep layering straw and ice – this was refrigeration before they had refrigerators.

The old carriage house is still here which years ago was converted into a small living space for various family members to call home. The old Dairy House is still here although I am unsure how much longer that will keep standing as trees have fallen and severely damaged the structure. A Dairy House is? You guessed it, a building that houses dairy. With no refrigeration and lots of milk containers full of milk to keep cold, a building was put over part of the stream. The building has a concrete moat around the outer edge that was used to direct the stream water into the building along the moat and out the other side. The full milk containers were placed in the moat and the cold stream water running around them kept the milk cold.

 

The big red barn is called a Bank Barn because it’s built into the bank. Hay and equipment go up top and animals go underneath. The bank and the warmth from the ground helped keep livestock warmer during the cold winter months.

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A Family Tradition

My sisters and I were raised growing up on this farm, so was my father, my aunt and my uncle. My grandmother was actually born here in my home in 1924. I have raised all three of my children on this farm. All of us grew up raising our own meat and sweating our butts off in the garden. Our hands would get burned from the acid of tomatoes as my great-grandmother, Mam-Maw, would have us canning a million jars of tomato juice. There were always chickens running around and eggs to collect. I grew up with chicken dinner. Back then that meant catching a chicken, cutting its head off, scalding it and plucking all the feathers off. I love being a farm girl, but I will say I am so glad I never have to pluck a chicken again. A scalded chicken is a smell you never forget and those who have done it know exactly what I am talking about. Trust me when I say it’s an experience you can just cross off your bucket list right now, you will thank me later….

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My sisters and I were raised growing up on this farm, and so were my father, my aunt, and my uncle. My grandmother was actually born here in my home in 1924. I have raised all three of my children on this farm. All of us grew up raising our own meat and sweating our butts off in the garden. Our hands would get burned from the acid of tomatoes as my great-grandmother, Mam-Maw, would have us canning a million jars of tomato juice. There were always chickens running around and eggs to collect. I grew up with chicken dinner. Back then that meant catching a chicken, cutting its head off, scalding it, and plucking all the feathers off. I love being a farm girl, but I will say I am so glad I never have to pluck a chicken again. A scalded chicken is a smell you never forget and those who have done it know exactly what I am talking about. Trust me when I say it’s an experience you can just cross off your bucket list right now, you will thank me later….

Anyway back to my story. When I was little my family slaughtered and processed our own meat right here on the farm. It was called butchering and most local farmers “back in the day” did the same thing. Being a kid you don’t pay much attention and you don’t really know what’s going on. One day we had 2 pigs named Ichy and Diggy and the next day we didn’t. Yes, we named the pigs, we were little we didn’t know any better. My parents would tell us some story like “the pig went to a nice farmer across town” and we believed it, kids will believe anything.

 

As I have gotten older I have come to realize that adults will believe anything also, especially when it’s a nicer better version to believe in than the truth. Do you know the truth about where your meat comes from?