Penny, Mitone, and Lacy

I first met Penny in June 2006 when I came to Galax, VA to do a summer enrichment project with the kids at Galax Elementary School. I am not sure who was more enriched—–the kids for creating two wonderful Jack Tale plays—- or me for meeting some very generous and wonderful people in Galax.

Penny and her daughter Mitone—-anad Mitone’s daughter Lacey—-have encouraged Stephen and me in this whole process of finding a home that meets both our needs.

I am a professional storyteller and director who works with kids and adults, and Stephen is an agriculture teacher who grew up on a ranch near Douglass, KS.

We prayed for two years for an idea of where we should go and what we should do.  I didn’t want to keep leaving Stephen to return to Philadelphia to perform every two months, but it was the only way since Kansas is so sparsely populated.

It was Penny who came up with the idea of agritourism during a wintry evening in January 2010. As soon as I heard the idea, I knew it was the answer to our prayers.

But oh those land prices!

In May, Penny and Mitone and Lacey drove us all over Carroll and Grayson Counties searching for a farm. We had arrived on a weekend and time was tight. I was due back in Philadelphia to finish a spring tour and Stephen was due back at his college to finish the semester.

But miracles of miracles, Penny told us that she thought she had found a possible farm. It was 19 acres— listed in  a real estate book we had collected for this adventure. I must admit the picture wasn’t very great and 19 acres seemed small after hearing about Kansas farms that have thousands of acres.

“You don’t need thousands of acres in Southwest Virginia,” said Mitone.

“It rains and you can grow anything here!,” Penny stated matter of factly.

Stephen agreed. And better yet, he was interested.

Penny and Mitone and even 5 year old Lacey spent the morning brainstorming things we could do with the farm as we  promoted agritourism. They encouraged us and gave us insider information that saved us weeks of leg work!

So we drove out to Fancy Gap and saw the most beautiful farm in the world. It had everything we had prayed about: Rolling pastures, a growing place, a stream, woods, and a barn. And a moldy house —-but that is another story for later!

And it was in our price range!

Surely this was a gift from God!

The only problem was —-convincing Stephen to act quickly on something half way across the country!

In the end we bid on the farm on May 31.

“Now how’s that for a second anniversary gift?” Stephen said.

My practical husband had just done the most daring act of his life!

He is —as always—- my hero.

And Penny, Mitone, and Lacey are our very special friends whom we love dearly!

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