When the Reynolds family arrived in Campbell County, Virginia in 1972, a landmark caught our eye – a big white L-shaped house with an old cabin and two high barns on State Route 24. Four years later we had the opportunity to purchase that farm. The farm originally encompassed 2,000 acres, but is now fifty-nine acres, the heart of the original. A portion of the land may have been a Revolutionary land grant to John Webber. The cabin and farm are easily documented to 1820 and are eligible for state and national historic registry as “The evolution of a farm from 1820-1946.” County natives refer to it as the Webber Farm, the Old Shannon Place, the sheep farm, or when so and so lived on the hill. When we needed a business name we decided to use “The Hill.”
Daughter, Kathie, always interested in animals, took vocational agricultural courses in high school. Her mom didn’t want chickens. Her dad didn’t want pigs. So her Vo Ag project became sheep. We purchased two mixed-breed black sheep, Pricilla, and Abercrombie. These two and their solid white lamb Obadiah became the beginning of the flock. The flock gradually expanded to include Angora goats and llamas as additional sources of fiber, enjoyment, and work. We have rescued a “crew” of Great Pyrenees, big white dogs who take their animal guardian position seriously, keeping coyote, and other predator threats to a minimum. Son, Phillip, became Dad’s helper with fence repair and more of the non-animal chores.
Over the years we have enjoyed visits from school groups, home school groups, daycare, and day camp kids to meet the animals and learn about the various stages of fiber processing, from shearing to wearable clothing. A history lesson is usually slipped in, along with cookies and lemonade.
Now that the rehabilitation of the Old House is near completion, Ron and Nita have plans to enjoy having groups visit for farm tours, presentations on fiber processing and how things were done prior to computers and high technology. Plans are in the making to invite the local Senior facilities to bring residents out to just rock on our porches, reminisce, and enjoy a little elbow room.
The Reynolds also plan to offer classes and weekend workshops with spinning, dyeing, needle felting and other fiber related skills, as well as porcelain art, and classes taught by visiting artisans. Nita specifically wants to open her studio to visitors on an appointment basis.