Briar Rose Farm has been our home since 1993. We're imports from the
Chicago area and love our new home in the mountains of North Carolina.
The main farm consists of 98 acres and we have added another 60, then
89 acres, plenty for you to roam and explore. We encourage folks to
wander the gardens, pastures, and slopes. We enjoyed playing in creeks
as children and invite your kids to do the same. We invite you to use the
picnic table and fire pit area down under the willow tree by the creek and at
each of the log cabins.
Look in our greenhouse to see how we grow our Butterhead lettuce
hydroponically. If you come in summer, we invite you to share the
produce from our vegetable garden.
The deeds to this farm go back to hand written documents in the Madison County courthouse in Marshall,
North Carolina. George W. Davis brought his family to the land in the late 1800's and built the cabin where he
and his wife, Lydia, raised four children. He cleared the land and built the log barn and several of the
outbuildings. Lydia sold the farm in the late 1940's to Herman and Inez Freeman.
It was the Freeman's who built the large tobacco barn and moved the Farm Cabin to the approximate site
where it stands today. They then had the current farmhouse built in 1951 for the sum of $495. Electricity
came to Spring Creek in 1954. George and Herman both worked the farm with horses. Our neighbor, Roy
Mathis, worked his farm with mules, Bert and Queenie. These mules often spent some of their summer
grazing our pastures across from the Farm Cabin.
Looking across the creek to the east, you can still see the crop rows where corn had been planted on the
steep slope. Tobacco was raised on the lower portion of the hayfield opposite the Farm Cabin. It was the
main, and often the only, source of income for these families, as it was for most families in the area.
According to Ruth Davis, who was born in the little cabin, she and her sister made mud pies and "baked" them
on the rocks in front of the main house. They also used "cowpies" to warm their feet while they were bringing
cows down for milking in the colder weather. A pencil received as a Christmas present was a prized gift.
These rural farm families went to town only once a year.
Ruth remembers Native Americans camping in the lower hay field. Many arrowheads have been found as that
field was plowed and made ready for the young tobacco plants. Several arrowheads have been found
recently in the upper barnyard.
It wouldn't be a farm without animals. We love all our animals, they keep us going sometimes just because
they must be fed and cared for... but mostly because we love watching them.
Hands down, the goats are the greatest! There is nothing that can make us laugh out loud as the baby goats
do in the spring. Their philosophy seems to be: "Why walk when you can bounce or spring?" Even if it is two
feet over to Mom, they are cavorting and practicing. The word capricious we understand very well here at
Briar Rose Farm. It is a joyful word!
While we have had sheep and cashmere goats in the past,
we now have our favorites: The friendly, funny, sweet, and
We keep them for milk, cheese, and the goat milk soap that
Judie makes. The milk can also be used for hand cranked
ice cream! Dairy goats are almost always people friendly
and need to be milked twice a day unless the kids are nursing
. ...Yes, EVERYDAY!
Like all mammals, they begin producing milk Learning to Milk
when they "kid", or deliver their delightful babies. It is the
best time of year in the barnyard when the kids arrive!
We raise Belted Galloway Cattle, a relatively rare breed of cow having their roots traced back to the 11th
century in the former Galloway district of
Scotland. Hardiness was necessary in this rugged
and hilly seacoast region. Known today as the "Oreo
Cookie Cows", they are black with a wide white belt,
making them particularly wonderful to just look at as
they graze across the slopes. They are short, stocky,
docile cattle producing excellent and very low
cholesterol beef. Instead of the layer of fatback that
most cows require, belties have a double coat of hair
that grows to some length. They are thrifty, good
producers that will eat rougher pasture than some
breeds. Our beef is hormone, chemical, and antibiotic
We keep a variety of chickens: Rhode Island Reds, Araucanas, Black Sexlink, and white Leghorns. All
have different attributes but are layers, not setters. We like the looks
of a dozen eggs, with all the colors: dark brown, light brown, blue,
green, and white! Like most eggs produced on small farms, our egg
yolks are bright orange and stand up above the white when opened.
While our chickens are not free-range, they get a great variety of
foods to eat and are hormone, chemical, and antibiotic free.
Guineas are the "wild" fowl that roam freely at Briar Rose Farm. They eat bugs, including fleas and ticks which
makes them a helpful addition to the farm. They lay
their eggs in large clutches of 10 to 20 eggs, sit on them
for 28 days, then take off running with the little chicks
behind them. Unfortunately, some get left behind or fall
prey to predators, but they are stout little birds and many
do survive to call the farm home. We enjoy watching them
grow and watching the adults "glide" across the hay field in
mass. Our guineas are black, gray, and white. Males and
females look very much alike. Females have a two syllable
call while the males make a single sound. Yes, they are noisy at times, but we find it a nice comfortable "farm"
In 1997, we acquired a Mighty Mite saw mill from central Florida. This sawmill was made in the pacific
northwest and made to "drop" into forested areas and cut
trees up to a 6' diameter. It runs on a Volkswagon engine
that does not need to be altered to fit the shaft of the mill.
What makes this mill different from others is that with a
30" vertical blade and two 13" blades mounted
horizontally, it can cut two boards at the same time. The
largest board we can cut is 12" by 4" with a normal cut.
However, by turning the log, larger cuts can be made.
When the blade returns to the operator, it brings the cut
boards with it, drastically reducing the amount of pulling
and lifting needed. It is truly a one man sawmill! Most of
the wood used in the rebuilding of the farm cabin and the
decks and porches of the log cabins was sawed from trees
on our property using this Mill. Tom invites you to watch as
he makes flat boards cut from round logs.
|Briar Rose Farm - Vacation Cabin Rentals
91 Duckett Top Tower Rd., Hot Springs, NC 28743
Thank you so much for sharing
;your wonderful place, your
animals, your delicious bread,
vegetables, knowledge, and
views. I savored every minute
of this experience. I hope we
can return again and again.
- D and W; Greensboro, NC
I really liked how you taught me
how to drive (the 4 wheeler)
and let me pick potatoes and
- William, age 8
Your farm is beautiful. I loved
picking the eggs from the
hens. It was also fun to watch
Judie milk the goats. I loved
every moment of this trip.
- Caroline, age 10
I had so much fun staying with
you at your farm! The goats
are so friendly and nice and
the chickens and the guineas
are pretty funny. The cattle
drive was awesome and so
was going on the ATV. Thank
you so much!
Thank you ,Tom and Judie, for
a much needed reprieve from
the city life! We loved it our
here and couldn't have asked
for a better place to
honeymoon. We loved the
goats, their kids, the chickens,
and Katie! She waited outside
the door every morning for a
belly rub. Tom, it was nice
doing chores with you., you
should have had us baling hay.
- P and L; Chicago, Illinois
Thank you so much for your gift
of hospitality. Your farm is
wonderful and we think you are
geniuses! We loved feeding
the calf, all the animals, the
hiking, the hot tub, and the
views. Your farm gave our
family some very special
bonding time away from the
daily routine to experience
something new together.
Judie, you're a great teacher
and Cheryl really enjoyed
gleaning from you knowledge
about chickens and goats.
Tom, you are a great storyteller
and we could have listened to
you all day. Great
- S,K, C & J; Virginia
Located on over 240 acres
with a variety of animals and
crops,. We invite you to
wander. Look here to see
some of the sights on the farm
and things to do right here!
Located on a high Knob, total
privacy and an incredible
view! Sleeps up to three.
Briar Rose Farm 828-622-7329
Sweet Briar Cabin
Located above the main farm,
offers privacy and peace, it
sleeps up to three.
Located right on the farm,
close to creek and animals,
sleeps up to five.
About Briar Rose Farm