this is how we live

Bountiful Acres Naturals uses every single resource on this Watertown, TN farm

 

By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Autumn McDowell

 

Nothing is wasted.

The farm produces almost everything that goes into every product: bees are kept for the beeswax, honey, pollen, and royal jelly, goats raised for the milk, and sheep for the wool (which is sold raw, single-washed, or hand-spun into yarn that is dyed with berries grown on the farm). Various plants are grown wild on the property to be used in the herbal products: catnip, hyssop, plantain, peppermint, marshmallow, Echinacea, rubekia, lavender, rosemary, loofah, roses, and many more.

For Sue Dickhaus, who works the farm and makes the product by hand with her husband and sister, Bountiful Acres Farm is a dream come true. It’s a dream that’s been literally thirty years in the making.

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“I’ve been making herb products since I was 19 years old, 1984,” says Sue. “I started because my mom had multiple sclerosis, and we were seeing sores that would develop from sitting in a wheelchair—the pressure sores—and the doctors couldn’t do anything. And I started reading about garlic and honey and how those were supposed to help. So I started trying it, and it started helping.

“And that just really piqued my interest. So I studied more and more, and I was just sure. Yep! I want to be a farmer.” She laughs. “I’ll do it all, and live off the land, you know! Well, that didn’t happen for a while.”

Sue lived in Chicago for most of her life; she met and married her husband in Florida, and it wasn’t until 2005 that they moved to Tennessee and bought the farm in Watertown.

Their product line, Bountiful Acres Naturals, started with soap. But it has progressed far past that.

“Right now it seems like everybody is making soap when you go to craft shows and farmer’s markets,” explains Sue, “and I would never trash another soap maker, but we started to realize that that can’t be our main focus like it was for a long time. So we started really coming back strong into the herbs, and concentrating more on that.”

Now, in a list of their most popular items, soap gets completely lost. There is the Stop Buggin’ Me spray, with catnip as its active ingredient (clinically proven to be 10x more effective than DEET). There’s the soothing Lemongrass & White Thyme Crème Deodorant (also in a roll-on), with probiotics among the ingredients to improve armpit health and odor naturally over time. There are various skin masks, and a lip balm made from olive oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter.

Then there are the salves: Bye-bye Pain salve (for general aches and pains—the active ingredient is basil!), Sittin’ Pretty salve (for hemorrhoids), You’re So Vein salve (for varicose veins), the Drawing salve (which draws toxins and splinters out of skin), and Skin Soothe salve (exactly what it sounds like). Then, of course, there are soaps. These products all range from $3 to $10.50.

Most of the product is sold at barn sales, craft fairs, and the like, but there are also a handful of wholesale providers in Tennessee (the closest spot for Wilson County residents would be Heaven Scent in Lebanon).

If buying them isn’t enough for you and you want to get your hands dirty, classes are regularly held at Bountiful Acres Farm. You can take a few hours and learn soap making, or you can take the full day and learn it all: how to make salves, lip balms, lotions, scrubs, deodorants, and more.

“This is how we live,” says Sue. “I’m from Chicago… if I can do it, anybody can do it.”

For more information on products or to sign up for a class, visit www.bountifulacresfarm.com.

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