New Beginnings as a Way of Life
When I lived in Connecticut I subscribed to Yankee magazine. It offered interesting stores and yummy recipes and one joke I remember to this day:
What is a Yankee? In the rest of the world, a Yankee is someone from North America, In North America, it is someone from the United States. In the United States, it is someone from the North. In the North, it is someone from New England. In New England, it is someone from Maine. And in Maine, it is someone who still has an outhouse.
We love to poke fun at other people. Here in Huntington I have often heard how people in Wayne County, particular those from “Out Wayne” are just…..different.
Tinia always knew she wanted to own land and farm. Growing up in Lincoln County she knew her family was considered a bit odd with a colorful history, but she also had confidence that she would make her way to her goal, After graduating from Marshall, marrying John, they were able to purchase about 25 acres of cleared hillside and woods in Wayne County outside Lavallette. And so, Lucas Farm was born.
Tinia says she is not a planter; her gardens are never her main focus and the harvests show clearly their lower priority. What fascinates her and holds her passion are her animals. She specialized in heritage breeds as a way to help improve and increase the breed but also because it just might be the best animal for the ecosystem of the region. She makes an effort to purchase the best stock she can find.
She has 3 Dexter cows. After a short experience with a Jersey she soon realized that she needed a breed that was better adapted to the West Virginia hills. Tinia has been raising Dexters for some time now and is very pleased with that dual-purpose breed. Not only does the cow produce milk but the smaller framed breed has a better meat to bone ratio than the supposedly superior Angus. She finds she can have 3 Dexters on 2 acres without damage to the ground, and only supplements with hay once the grass stops growing in the fall.
The dairy goat herd of 20 is a mix of Nubians, Saanens and Nigerian Dwarfs. She keeps the 3 males separate to control the breeding process. A huge part of Tinia’s business is providing pedigree animals so the breeding process has to be monitored to maintain bloodlines. She keeps only a few goats in milk; her family drinks it and a local soap maker, Enchanted Bath, produces goat milk soap.
Tinia has found that selling heritage breed fertilized eggs and day old chicks has become a better business than just selling eggs or meat with her chickens. She has a small flock of Blue Laces Wyandottes and Silver Laced Wyandottes and incubates the eggs as those breeds are not setters. Tinia recently lost 5 chickens in one day to a fox and is trying to solve that issue. Her two dogs are not good at guarding and while her two donkeys generally are helpful, they didn’t provide protection when it was needed.
Finally, Tinia also operates the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, a nonprofit 501(c)3. Together with other members of her board of directors, they have rescued over 100 horses, often needing to nurse them back to health and has placed 95 in new homes. Her photos on her Facebook page clearly show how the health of these animals are so challenged when she obtains them and how beautiful thy become with proper nutrition and loving care. They are selling calendars as a fund raiser and Tinia’s skills as a photographer have also grown in the process. If you have a horse lover in your family buying one of these calendars would not only be a great holiday present but would be helping a great cause.
Tinia and John Creamer
3368 Plymale Branch Road, Huntington, WV