About Us: meet "Bear" and "Thistle"
As with any new enterprise, there has to be a beginning. After all, great
things don't just happen overnight; ya' gotta start somewhere.
In January 2006, that is exactly what we did. Following an intense Internet search and several site visits
to see properties, we were very fortunate to find and purchase a beautiful 128-acre hilltop pasture farm surrounded by hardwood
forests in south-central Kentucky, which is on its way to becoming a small-scale, sustainable, horse-powered family
farm. The previous owners, Bobby and Alene Humphress, agreed to remain on it as caretakers until 2009, keeping the
grass mowed and the lights on until we could finish our "regular" jobs and begin the next phase of our lives as
Well, only one of us wants
to be a farmer, actually - that's me, Kay. The other, my husband Derril, is a tool guy, electronics technician, and
handyman extraordinaire, capable of fixing anything and figuring out solutions to the toughest problems. He'll
certainly lend a hand when the task is too large for even the most determined Scotswoman, but he's happiest left alone in
his shop with something to build or repair. I'm the Taurus, the digger of earth and maker of compost, the lover of chickens
and cows and draft horses, and the workaholic. So far it's proven to be a good combination.
Our farm's name is a derivative of our combined cultural heritages. I
wanted a name for the farm that was unusual, memorable, and had symbolic meaning to us. I ran through lists and lists
of potential farm names without any of them striking quite the right tone, and then one night, searching for words that
included parts of both of us, I hit upon "Bear" as the Old English meaning of Derril's middle name, Arthur,
and "Thistle" which represents my Scottish roots. It stuck, and the Farm had a name.
Our primary home was
in San Diego, where Derril remains hard at work for the Navy, counting down the years remaining to his "second"
retirement. While I was still active duty we made working visits to the Farm when we could, tackling fencing
projects, maintaining the roads and buildings, and managing the beginnings of an ongoing pasture improvement
program. I retired in December 2011 and moved to the farm the following July; these first couple
of years have been a whirlwind of activity but my blog, Thistledog's Farm, keeps the story going, as best as it can.