New farm bloom with blessings

Sunflowers are still in bloom at Batts Blooming Blessings Farm, which is located just off of U.S. 58, in the Critz community. (Contributed photos)

By Debbie Hall

One of Patrick County’s newest residents is ‘experiencing the simple life’ in Patrick County after parlaying her love of farming into a new hobby and business: Batts Blooming Blessings Farm.

Kathleen Batts also makes goats milk soap and other goodies.

Kathleen Batts, an Oklahoma native, said that she and her husband, Kyle, moved to Patrick County about a year ago from what they thought would be their forever home in Florida.

Kyle Batts’ job prompted the move, she said, adding that her husband is employed with Duke Energy and accepted a position at the Belews Creek Power Station in North Carolina.

“With the power plants, we’ve moved around quite a bit. We thought Florida was going to be our home, but when he told me” about the transfer, Kathleen Batts said she decided “I want a farm. I grew up on a farm in Oklahoma.”

As the family prepared to relocate, and “when we started looking, a realtor was showing us small properties in North Carolina,” she said of properties that ranged from two-to-five acres – not nearly enough for her to pursue her passion.

Last spring, the Batts family sowed more than 40,000 sunflower seeds at their farm in Critz.

Eventually, “we found the perfect farm here”, she said of a 26-acre parcel of property that is situated near Hopkins Lumber Contractors Inc., just off of U.S. 28 on Vias Orchard Road, in the Critz community.

After planting more than 40,000 sunflower seeds last spring, Kathleen Batts said “we ran out of seed and I went out and bought birdseed, and planted some of those seeds too. We have some areas that the deer ate,” but overall the flowers have thrived.

Kathleen Batts takes a break to enjoy the goats – a centerpiece and main attraction to many who visit her family’s farm.

The farm also is home to poultry, dogs and small livestock, Kathleen Batts said, and explained that she and her family primarily tend the farm. “My husband helps a lot,” she added.

This season, “we’ve got sunflowers, goats, chickens and dogs. We also have beehives here,” and currently are using pigs to clear areas that will be future pastures for a growing goat herd, Kathleen Batts said.

Additionally, “I make goats milk soap and stuff like that, wool dryer fiber balls and other assorted wares” as well, she said, adding that the family also is busy converting a small building on the property to what will be a shop to display her wares.

“It’s not done” yet, but the farm is open for business, she said.

Visitors “come and hang out. They walk through the flowers and we show them around. Petting the goats, that was their favorite part,” Kathleen Batts said. “We had a family of 10 here this morning,” she said Thursday. “I took them out to play with the goats, feed the chickens and to see the pigs.”

As adorable as the goats are, the family also was “even interested in cutting the flowers,” Kathleen Batts said, adding the cost for cut flowers is $1 per stem.

“We will probably have flowers for another week or two, but we’ve just reseeded. Maybe we will have more flowers in the fall,” she said.

Beehives and the honey produced are among the offerings available to farm visitors.

As she settles into this new life that incorporates her roots, Kathleen Batts is keeping an eye on the future.

Eventually, “my plan is to grow it into a ‘you pick flower farm,’ and have more (varieties of) flowers than sunflowers,” Kathleen Batts said, adding that she has no plans to leave the area.

“We love Patrick County. Everybody is so friendly. My first impression” came during a trip to Walmart, she said. “I told my husband I was surprised at how friendly everyone was. It’s great. We love it here.”

Those who are interested in visiting the farm are asked to make an appointment by contacting Batts via the farm’s Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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