Lazy C Farm has been in Kallie Hicks’ family for a long time, but something new is going on at the facility these days.
The farm originally belonged to her grandfather, Vance Cline, who Hicks said was the first person to build a house on Scott Road many years ago and who was a well-known plumber in Burke County and a member of the “Old Men’s Club” at Tastee-Freez. Following Cline’s death in 2013, Hicks and her husband, Steven, bought her childhood home on the farm in 2015.
Her grandmother, Doris Cline, still lives in the farm’s original house. And after doing some renovations to the farm, Hicks has operated the farm and led its many activities since it opened to the public last year.
“I never left Morganton, but whenever me and my husband got married, his grandpa had a house and my parents were still living in the house we live in now,” Hicks said. “They had a place up at the lake as a vacation home. They kind of went up there and never came back.
“So, we ended up buying their house. It’s my childhood house, the house I’ve lived in my whole life. We’re right here on the farm. My grandmother lives right beside us in the original house. We just all kind of work together to keep everything running.”
Among the many things offered at Lazy C are summer camps, horseback riding lessons, birthday parties and a mobile petting zoo that can be set up onsite or taken to other locations for parties and events. The farm also makes and sells goat’s milk soap and teaches children how to make that product at the end of its summer sleepover, as well.
The farm has three large horses, a miniature pony, a potbelly pig, four goats, a Patagonian mara (similar to a large Guinea pig) and three rabbits.
Hicks previously worked at a therapy barn in Morganton for about 3 ½ years, but she came to a point in her life where the hours weren’t working for her anymore and she wanted to do something different. Her husband encouraged her to teach her own lessons. Hicks was hesitant at first because of the hard work involved, but eventually decided to take a part-time job and do lessons on the side.
“I absolutely love it. I love having kids out here and showing them the farm,” Hicks said. “I love seeing how much they enjoy it and seeing them get to progress in their horseback riding lessons. It just makes me so happy. So, we just kind of kept going and kept adding things to the farm. We just blossomed, I guess.
“That’s one of the major things I wanted to do here was make it kid-friendly and make it family-friendly. I want families to feel really welcomed. We’re not like a big fancy farm. We’re a small home farm. I think that whenever people come here, that kind of helps them feel at home and makes them feel like they’re not under so much pressure to be a horseback rider. I think they just feel comfortable, and that’s really what I pressed for.”
To that end, the farm has a play room for smaller children while older siblings or friends are taking horseback riding lessons. Kids on the farm also have been known to go to Hicks’ grandmother’s house for a snack.
Hicks has children of her own, and she hopes to one day be able to pass on the farm and all of the memories she’s made there to the next generation of her family.
“It’s amazing (to be back). There are days when I realize how hard it is and that I put a lot into it, but there’s other days that I sit back and know it’s really amazing that I built this,” Hicks said. “I think of how proud my grandpa would be of I’ve done and seeing this farm still be a farm.
“That’s what really hits home for me. I was my papaw’s girl. I was always with him, and he’s the one who had the farm and did all the animals. Nobody in my family was really an animal person except for him and my mom. He wanted this farm and really put a lot into the farm. So, whenever we took it over, I wanted it to be progressive and I wanted it to be here for my kids and their kids. I just try to think about the future and that one day, whenever my kids need a job, I can be like, ‘Here you go.’ That’s what this is here for me.”
Justin Epley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-432-8943.