Welcome to the neighborhood!

This post was a long time coming…mostly because I’ve been a little busy lately. But buying a feed store that’s been around for generations means I really need to introduce myself to the community. So consider this my introduction!

It seems like everyone wants to know where I’m from and where I live, so I’ll start there. I live in Ball Ground, and I’m a Georgia girl, by way of Alaska. What?!? Right…so here’s the geography lesson. Hold on to your seat belts and get your toboggans on, because we’re headed North.

I was born in Soldotna, Alaska and while I had no clue about what we were doing at the time, the truth is we were homesteading. We had an amazing garden with a fence perfect for sitting on with friends. The chickens weren’t far away, and I have a vivid memory of walking into the kitchen, overhearing Dad tell Mom, “Don’t tell Heidi, but this is her rooster.” He was holding up what was soon to be our dinner. Life in Alaska was about survival, even though we lived near “town.” There’s a chance I ate moose meat or bear before I tasted hamburger, but maybe that story belongs to my sister’s life. We fished for salmon and dug clams for a chowder that would put Boston to shame.

Heidi in the pea patch
Heidi and Dusty in Alaska.

But, like so many families, ours was split up by divorce. My parents returned to the lives they knew before they met in Alaska-Dad to Iowa, and Mom to Georgia. So halfway through my childhood, I found out that there are some places in the world hot enough that if you leave your crayons on the dashboard, they will melt into the speaker holes.

Mom, my sister and I moved to Ringgold, Georgia, a few hours north of most of Mom’s family, but close to where my grandmother lived. We settled in a neighborhood, and I spent my days alternating between softball tournaments, marching band practice and time with hot rollers and curling irons. I graduated from Ringgold High School with a larger hairstyle than I anticipate ever having again.

I spent the next decade or so pursuing an education-first a BS in Biology from East Carolina University, and then an MD from Brody School of Medicine. I traveled to Arkansas to train in Pediatrics and then to New York to work in private practice. Along the way, I got a masters in fiction writing and worked as an administrator for a medical insurance pilot program. But I never stopped living like the homesteader I was born to be.

raspberries from Dad’s garden

I spent time in Iowa as well, visiting my family there and learning about farming on a large scale.

In rural New York, just outside the Adirondacks, we owned a farm with horses, goats, chickens, rabbits and the resident fisher cat who kept all our livestock on high alert. I raised a few PMU foals and learned how to get around a hunter ring and a dressage arena.

Heidi and Adirondack Blue-TB/Percheron X
Picking blueberries on Flat Rock

We canned our own food and foraged for blueberries, blackberries and found local farmers to fill in our produce (and fungi) gaps.

maple goodness

We tapped our own maple trees for syrup and we raised chickens for meat and eggs.

Oh, and along the way, I had some wonderful children and decided to homeschool.

Hiking in the Adirondacks

The next part of my life is where you all come in.

We moved back to Georgia so our girls could grow up around family. Their grandmother lives in Canton and now they can spend an afternoon with her on a whim instead of only getting together after someone buys a plane ticket. I still work as a doctor, but on a part-time basis at a hospital in downtown Atlanta. We still homeschool. And one day, not too long ago, I drove by a store in the community and saw a sign…”Business for sale.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Business for sale

Enough for now. You guys are going to help me write the next chapter.

2 Comments on “Welcome to the neighborhood!

  1. I loved reading about your past! My family is excited to be a part of your future! You are an excellent role model for many! You are doing a fabulous job!

  2. Welcome! We are so happy that you bought Clayton Feed and kept the name Clayton in it, and continue to run the business like the original just with a modern twist. Every year we would buy mulch and garden fruits and veggies, and we were bummed to hear they were closing, because we love to support local and not those big box stores. We wish you the best and can’t wait to shop at your store.

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