My husband and I have land outside of Florence in the woods with a small pasture where we built a home. He had rescued four wild mustangs that moved to the home with us. Caring for these animals was a new experience for him and me. We started without a plan. The horses were wild, and I had absolutely no experience with horses (or other farm animals, for that matter). This situation created many challenges that I had to address. Overcoming fear was my biggest challenge. I also had to understand how to address the fear the horses had. I learned that love is universal medicine. We overcame a lot together because I cared for them with my heart and gave them a good life and good care. Over time, we bonded. Food and TLC tamed them as they started to trust me – and I was able to trust them.
That was just the beginning. Unplanned by us, our hearts opened up, and we gave a home to many animals in need. As I mentioned earlier, neither of us had any farm experience and lacked knowledge of how to do it. We just did our best and are still learning.
It all started in 2011 – now we are 11 years later and have so much to be thankful for. When the heart is in the right place, much can get accomplished. With the knowledge we have gained over these past years, we can now share it with others.
We started with mustangs, and over time we added more horses, longhorns, sheep, goats, chickens (they lay the best eggs), stray dogs and cats, donkeys, a mule, and lots of bees who make delicious honey. This growth meant we needed more land!! Luckily, the land next to us became available, and we could purchase it. There was a house on the new land that we didn’t need, and someone suggested turning it into a B&B – good idea, why not!! Four years later, we opened up the Farmhouse Sanctuary B&B.
With the times changing through the pandemic, we received feedback from people who stayed with us. The main compliment was our guests telling us they experienced peace while staying with us. They love meeting the animals and seeing how they trust and feel safe with us. One guest recently said: “This place is like a Shangri-lah – a place to find peace and comfort, an oasis.” Unplanned by us, we can now share this little piece of heaven with others as it reminds them of what’s important and how peace feels. We can share this amazing gift with others while serving them and the animals. Yes, it is a lot of work, but also very rewarding. None of this was planned but came organically… one piece at a time, with everyone contributing. The animals get along – dogs, cats, chickens, sheep, donkeys, horses – as they mix and mingle. I want to add some photos of Gerard Brister, who recently visited the farm and brought his fabulous camera equipment. Enjoy! By serving others, we enrich their lives and ours! All our animals, our guests, and us caretakers play an important role – each one contributes: we care for the animals, but they also care for us – a wonderful circle of life!
Here is a music video I made with photos of our babies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c52Ss6LLgg
By Ute Bonn Pitts
– Ute Bonn Pitts
Ute Bonn Pitts and her husband, Conrad, live on a farm in Alabama. She, a singer/songwriter, and he, a lawyer, started the farm with rescued animals. They opened a B&B on their property in 2017. www.FarmHouseSanctuary.com. Ute was born and raised in Germany and moved to the States in the early nineties. Conrad was born in Orlando and has been living in Florence, AL, since 1981.
What a lovely tribute to your farm life! I imagine being there, one day in the future, to fulfill my raincheck debt to my dear friend, Ute.