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Perched on a little ridge among the hills and hollers of southern middle Tennessee, Top of the World Farm is home to the Sanders family—and their cows, horses, mules, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, goats and pigs.
In 1999 our whole family—nine adults and four children—moved from Shelby County to Wayne County. For years we’d been moving away from the city and toward farming. Each of the four or five times we moved over 20 years, we’d end up with a little more land and a few more animals. We’d add a horse here, a dog there.
But when we made the Big Move, everything was different. We went from hobby farmers in the Memphis suburbs to gotta-get-up-every-day-and-milk-the-cow farmers. Our lives changed. Don’t get us wrong though, it wasn’t for the worse. Here, among the farm animals, we’ve learned many things we would have otherwise thought impossible.
We’ve seen pigs dance just before the rain, whirling for joy. We’ve found out that lambs float. Happy, in the morning, running through the field, they’ll jump high in the air, extend all four legs and actually hover.
What about the cows? They’ll herd pigs if they get out. Really. And the horses? The horses paint the perfect picture of who we are and why we’re on this earth. When you ride behind them on the mower as it sings along, laying down the hay on the crisp pasture and their big hearts push their huge bodies forward to accomplish what you’ve asked, you know why you’re here.
Today our family has expanded to include many more children and a few more adults. What began as an effort to provide clean food for our extended family has, over the years, blossomed into a farming business in which we raise and offer for sale not only grass-fed (and grass-finished) beef and lamb, but also GMO-free pastured pork and chicken.
Interested in hearing more about our family and the as-it-happens story of how we returned to farming? Don’t miss At Home in Dogwood Mudhole by Franklin Sanders. Volumes One and Two now available in paperback and digital editions!