Monday, October 6, 2014

Farming & Family: The Bolt's

Welcome to day 6 of our 31 days of Farming and Family!  
Each day we are featuring a different farm family.  Today's family is special to me.  Not only  are they fellow South Carolina farmers but we are lucky enough to call them friends as well.  Marie and I actually both grew up in Georgia showing cattle, so we have "known" each other for years but it wasn't until after college, marriage and kids that we actually became friends.  It's wonderful to have a friend who is walking in the same shoes you are, especially when those shoes are covered in mud and cow poop.  As a wife and mom who works full time and helps on the family farm too there aren't many women who can relate, but Marie always can!  So please take a moment and learn a little more about today's featured farm family! 



1. Who are you and where are you located?
We are the Bolt Family of Bolt Farms located in Anderson, SC.

(L to R) Marie, Chat, Audrey Kate, Brian & John Grady



2. How did your farm begin? 
Our farm began over a hundred years ago as a row crop farm and then became more diversified with time and added livestock.  Through the years the farm has done row crops and raised cows, chickens (layers), sheep and pigs.


3. What does your farm produce?
Currently on our farm we raise beef cattle and sheep.  The only crop we produce on the farm is hay.

 We work hard at growing high quality forage throughout the year in order to provide pasture 365 days of the year.
   
4. What is the busiest time of year for your farm?

The busiest time of year for us would be calving season (we calve both in the late fall and early spring, resulting in 2 calving seasons on the farm). 

 Spring and summer months are busy months as well because of hay season, but generally our workload from animals decreases during the summer months.

5. How do younger generations help on the farm?
We take our kids with us to do daily farm chores.  Both my husband and myself work off of the farm so chores are done when we get home.  Generally Brian checks cows in the morning before leaving for work during calving season and then we all check in the afternoon when returning. 

 John Grady is at an age where he is beginning to be more involved on the farm.  He is learning to drive equipment and can help move bales of hay with the skid steer, open gates, help work on fence, etc.  He is never alone in these task, but always guided by an adult.  Our two youngest are still at a young age and are limited in what they can do on the farm.  They like to help feed the lambs, pick up eggs, check water, and ride through the cows.  

They love riding the tractor during hay time.  We try to take the kids with us whenever possible so they will learn what we're doing, how to care for the animals, and the importance of doing a good job and hard work.


6. With all there is to do on a farm, are you involved off the farm?
Yes, both my husband and I work in the field of agriculture off of the farm.  Brian works for Clemson University in the Animal Science Department and I teach high school agriculture at the Anderson Five Career Campus.  We also participate in numerous different agriculture groups and organizations on both a local and state level.


7. What's your favorite activity to do together as a family on the farm?

Checking cows is our favorite activity to do together.  We are all in the truck together riding through the pastures looking at our cows.  We have some serious times and some silly times together.  

8. Why is family important to your farm?
Family is important to us and to our farm.  Our farm started as a family and we hope it always is ran as a family.  As farmers our lives are not a "normal" life.  

When we get home from school, work, sports, etc, we still have the farm and animals to attend to.  If we don't do it as a family, some afternoons we wouldn't see each other.  We believe the life lessons our kids learn on the farm are lessons they will be able to apply to everyday life for the rest of their life.


9. What's one thing you want non-farm families to know?
I want non farm-families to know that the decisions we make on our farm are those that best suit our animals.  They are based off of animal needs, family needs and operational needs.  We work as a family on the farm and take pride in our work.  We truly love the farm, our animals, and the life we get to live on the farm.  It's not easy, but it's rewarding and enjoyable.  

10. Do you have a blog, a farm Facebook page, twitter, etc where people can find out more about you and your farm?  

I do have a blog, however I am not active about updating the blog.  Facebook is an easier place to follow me (You can add me as a friend or look for our Bolt Farms Facebook Page, which will be coming soon!)

A big thank you to the Bolt Family for sharing about their farm. If you have a question for them please feel free to leave it in the comments.

Until next time...may God bless you & keep you.

Caci