Leigh and Olin Funderburk’s 15-acre farm in Williamson County has a creek with a stone bed that winds almost through the entire farm and lends its identity to the name of their property: Stoney Creek Farm. In the spring they have about a quarter acre of yellow daffodils (otherwise known as buttercups) growing all around the creek. In the summer the native Yucca plants bloom a field of white. They are abundantly rich with native wildlife, trees, and plants and it’s a beautiful and peaceful place to live. One side of Stoney Creek is mainly rock ledges and cedar trees which they use for their goats to pasture. The other side of the creek they use for their home, U-Pick Garden, Rental Gardens and horse boarding – taking full advantage of the rich cherty soil (mainly limestone).
The residence is actually a pole barn design, complete with steel beams and stained concrete floor, finished inside as a house. Olin has always enjoyed repurposing and recycling materials, and this barn/house was the perfect experiment for him. One of their biggest conversation pieces is the pair of 100-year-old barn doors lining the dining room wall. He also built two full 12’x60’ porches on the front and back of the barn for more outdoor living space, and a three-car garage on the end of the barn with lots of room for a freezer, extra refrigerator, and storage. Later, Olin finished the upstairs hayloft into a large bonus room, bedroom, and third full bathroom in the barn.
Leigh grew up on a small farm in West Tennessee and Olin spent Summers on his grandparent’s farm in Collins, MS. Olin has always wanted a farm of his own, so they bought a property in East Williamson County in 2005 and developed the bare land into the sustainable farm it is today. They opened to the public with the U-Pick Garden and Rental Plots in 2010. They discovered a love for teaching others sustainable life skills and developed classes like Canning 101, Sourdough Bread Making, Gardening 101, and so much more. New classes are developed each year from customers’ suggestions and all education revolves around sustainable living and homesteading topics.
Leigh and Olin had both grown up around traditional farming with herbicides and pesticides. Leigh’s uncle died in his early 50’s from cancer, most likely from all of the pesticide use in his farming operation. They decided they did not want to use pesticides or herbicides on their farm and started researching organic methods to control pests. They began growing specific flowers to attract beneficial insects into the U-Pick Garden for pest control. Olin researched methods of capturing rainwater to sustain gardens and animals. They fell in love with their simple, sustainable life and worked hard to pay off debt, so they could have the freedom to quit their jobs and be on the farm full time.
The biggest challenge they faced in 2005 after buying the farm, revolved around researching methods for sustainability. They were both working full-time corporate jobs while developing the farm, and there were only so many hours in the day…
Today there is a plethora of research and information concerning sustainable living practices, so it makes it much easier to find solutions.
The sustainable practices they focus on for their farm are:
- Rainwater capture
- Use of Beneficial Insects to Control Pests
- Cover Crops to regenerate the soil
- Conservation of the small wetlands area which feeds into Stoney Creek