Small Town News
Worley Lane Farms - The next generation
Part 2 - From dirt to dairy farm
We've looked at the 140 year-old history of Worley Lane Farms. Now, we look at the present and how the business became a fully functioning family operation again.
How does one go from a career in banking to operating a Grade A goat dairy farm, and eventually branching out to include a line of cheeses and specialty soaps?
For Cindy Worley-Howell and her husband, Tim, the call to a more simple way of living was the key to following a plan from a higher authority, and the faith to follow it through.
Add to the mix a desire for their three still-at-home children to learn the value of hard work and family values, a family pet from the past, and one named Dakota from the present and the idea for the Worley Lanes Farms transformation to a small dairy farm was born.
No one tells the story better than Howell herself which she wrote it for the Worley Lane Farms website and Facebook pages.
Here are excerpts:
"Like most people who live in the country, we planted vegetable gardens, apple trees, berry bushes, helped Daddy with his cows, and did other little things around the farm. But somehow it wasn't enough. There was a big piece of the puzzle missing, something else I was supposed to be doing, something that needed to be passed along, taught to my children. But what?"
That 'but what?' came by way of a birthday gift planned for their youngest son, Isaac.
With fond memories of her childhood English sheep dog Chum, the couple decided to find one for Isaac. Thanks to research and the National English Shepherd Rescue, the newest member of the Howell family, Dakota, soon joined the family farm.
"Dakota and I immediately been taking long morning walks on the farm while the kids were at school. As we patrolled around the fields, pastures and ponds, I started looking at the land with new eyes and felt a very real sense of belonging" said Howell.
"God used those walks and this young pup to make me realize I wanted this land to remain a working family farm with the inherent traditions and values that my family has held for generations."
The inspiration from Dakota and his strong herding instincts led Howell to the possibility of having goats, specifically dairy goats and thoughts of a dairy farm.
Howell approached her husband with the idea, who at first was not as "carried away" by the idea. However, a few months later when Howell mentioned the idea again, he agreed that it might be a good idea.
"I am truly blessed with a wonderful husband who supports me and my dreams, even if he doesn't totally understand my logic," said Howell.
And the wheels were put in motion for the start of a dairy farm at Worley Lane Farms.
After a great deal of research about every area of dairy goats, the dairy farm process, and hours of ground work by Howell, the family farm was soon to be transformed into another family business.
"God directed us to an experienced and very gracious "goat lady" in North Carolina. We purchased two freshened goats, or ones who had kidded and were ready to milk, who were purebred LaMancha does. Under [the woman's] guidance and patient instruction, our dream or my dream maybe, began to become a reality."
They now have four Lamancha does, who all have names. Buttercup, Annebelle, Birgitta, and Moondance join Bongo Bo Diddley, a LaMancha buck who makes it all possible, and are well on the way to becoming a first-class Grade A Raw Milk Goat Dairy.
But Howell didn't stop there, soon learning to use goat milk for other purposes as well.
Howell learned to make a variety of goat cheeses, and relearned the age old processes of making unique scented soaps from the same milk.
This is but a small part of the real story, as the story's heart lies in the Howell family themselves and their places, and chores, around the farm.
Spring brings out Tim to tend his honeybees, son Isaac with his chickens, the girls, and Mom and daughters, Nadia and Katya, to work the many sides of dairy farming.
Add to the mix the extra help of Cindy Howell's older sons, Nick and Patrick King, and the exchange students that join the Howell family during the school year, and you have a whole 'nother story of the Howell family. A story just beginning.
It truly is a "family business" at Worley Lane Farms. To learn more, see out the farm's Facebook page or visit www.worleylanefarms.com.
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