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WESTERN KENTUCKY (11/16/13) – Purchased in 1952 at $2 an acre, Dr. Norma Shepherd and Burwell Keith, Sr. had a vision and a mutual dream of owning a working farm and building a home. The couple combined their names and the farm became known as Burdoc Farms of Crofton, Ky.
Native to Omaha, Neb., Shepherd started a family medicine practice in Hopkinsville, Ky., where she covered Christian County and made house calls. Originally, a native to Lexington, Ky., Burwell Keith Shepherd Sr. was an attorney that practiced law in Hopkinsville. One night, Shepherd made a house call to a sick Burwell Sr. and six short months later they were married.
With the vision of owning a self-sustaining farm, they purchased American Shorthorns and operated the cattle farm for more than 40 years. The farm was eventually taken over by one of their sons, Burwell Keith Shepherd Jr., his wife Sara Shepherd and their three children Jessica, James and Jackie.
After the death of Burwell Jr.’s parents, he decided to get out of the cattle farming business. With a degree in forestry from the University of Kentucky, Burwell Jr. began to concentrate on planting trees, creating a hardwood tree farm and having a Stewardship Farm.
“We took over the farm in the 1980s, which is 700 acres of secluded woods, and is a mile off Highway 41,” said Sara Shepherd. “We got rid of the cattle and since my husband had a degree in forestry, we went into a different type of farming. There is more to farming than just cattle.”
Both Burwell Jr. and Sara had many discussions on what kind of home they were going to build. A friend of theirs gave them a magazine solely dedicated to log cabins and decided that was the way to go. They then purchased a saw mill so they were able to cut their own logs. Every piece of flooring, molding and stud walls of their home and any work done to the barns are from trees Burwell Jr. cut down from their farm and built with his own hands.
“We also were able to get a Gazebo. We do the whole recycling, reducing and reusing,” said Shepherd. “We are really big on being green.”
Later, they decided to build another small log cabin guest house behind the main residence where family and friends would be able to visit. After their children grew up and moved out, they decided to turn the small cabin into a bed and breakfast.
Burwell Jr. then began to clear trails for visitors to bring their ATV’s, take nature walks, ride horses and mountain bikes and enjoy eight miles of a scenic outdoor trail.
When Burwell Jr. and Sara’s oldest daughter decided to get married, she wanted to have the weddings on the farm. Burwell and Sara began to fix the land to accommodate a wedding.
“The barns were just sitting there not being used,” said Sara Shepherd. “Two years ag,o our youngest child wanted to get married on the farm so we cleared everything out and converted the farm to be able to accommodate a wedding.”
To prepare for the wedding, they turned their hay barn into a venue and later turned their tobacco barn into another venue. After their daughter’s wedding, Sara got the idea from family and friends that she should do this as a career. Sara took their advice and hasn’t looked back since then.
“Last year we had 12 confirmed weddings and we already have 16 weddings for 2014.” said Shepherd. “We get a really strong reaction from our grooms more than the brides. They say they feel at home, very comfy, and a lot of wide open spaces. They love it. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get where we are at, but it has been worth it, I love it.”
Shepherd says that turning their farm into a wedding venue has be a fun experience and loves being able to share with people their beautiful home and land.
Photos provided by Amber Averitt
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