Bobby’s poem opens with, “I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.” The simple truth is this–Bobby has always been a farmer. From bartering with his father for his first cow when he was just seven years old to teaching agriculture in public schools for 32 years, farming has been Bobby’s lifelong passion.
In 1978, Bobby purchased property that adjoined his parents’ farm and laid the groundwork for what would become 3 Hills Farm. In 1982, Bobby married Debby, and over the next 38 years, the farm grew into one of the largest Border Cheviot sheep farms in Tennessee. Throughout the years, 3 Hills Farm Border Cheviots have competed on local, state, and national levels with multiple winners. Today, however, Bobby is focusing the farm’s efforts outside the show ring by providing quality lamb to consumers and restaurants throughout the area.
Whether he is out on the farm working with his sheep, training his dog, or educating grandchildren and visitors, Bobby remains true to his roots. He is just a farmer, plain and simple.
Growing up in a subdivision outside of Cincinnati, my childhood consisted of watching the Reds, attending concerts, and shopping. It did not include anything that remotely resembled a farm. But God has a sense of humor, and whether the joke was on Bob to have to put up with me, or the joke was on me for living on a farm, here we are.
A few years ago a friend called me; she wanted to get the new farmers’ market off the ground. She knew I worked with essential oils and asked if I would come down and set up. Over the next year, the market’s focus was on actual products grown on the farm. With this vision in mind, I began to seek new ways to represent our family farm. While traveling with Bob to sheep shows and visiting vendors’ booths there, I was able to see the potential that was actually in our own field. We began with wool dryer balls and eventually ventured into felted soaps.
In the midst of this product development, we had a sheep that had to be hand milked by Bob. (It is worthy to note here that the Cheviot breed is not a milk sheep.) When he brought the extra milk to the house, I said, “Hey, I think we can make soap from that.” Had I ever made soap? Nope, but the year before I knew nothing about wool