Family sets up small farm near Walton

Chad Frey
cfrey@thekansan.com
Carmen Weller, left, and her husband, Jason, moved to a small farm near Walton about three years ago. This spring the farrm, christened "Carm's Farm," has gone online with a social media presence and video channel to welcome visitors to the farm.

It almost reads like the plot summary of an episode of “The Waltons” — a family moves from the city to Walton’s Mountain seeking a simpler life.

But there are no mountains near Walton, and in the 2020 edition, the family has access to the internet.

The interent led to a Facebook page and YouTube channel used by Carmen Weller to document life on a small farm for a family of four and about 60 animals.

“We want to create a more self-sustaining lifestyle,” Weller told the Kansan. “We are working on gardening, and growing the meat chickens. We are just getting started growing our own food. I had no idea that is what we would do when we moved out there.”

She and her husband, Jason, both have jobs in “the city.” She teaches music at the middle-school level, he works at Millennium Machine and Tool. Both dreamt about the farm life, and three years ago were able to begin realizing that dream when they purchased six acres near Walton.

The first thing Jason did when they moved in was to start building enclosures for animals.

And then he started bringing animals home — starting with chickens and ducks. He brought home goats, and the six acres started getting busy.

“When we moved out here, I wanted horses, that was my dream. He wanted the chickens and the ducks,” Carmen said. “He was collecting animals that I did not even want. I was home for the summer and decided to help him out with the chores, and that turned into me taking everything over, basically.”

She did get her horse — and it was the focal point of one of her children’s recent birthday parties. City friends from school — a school in Newton — spent the afternoon on the farm playing with kids, both those with two legs and four.

The Wellers have found a bit of the country life they dreamed of — and now they are wanting to share.

“My belief is we have all of these animals and we live at a place that we don't want to keep to ourselves,” Carmen said. “We love when families come over to the farm and visit the animals. That is a highlight, when people come and share this dream with us.”

To contact the family, search for “Carm’s Farm” on Facebook. There, one can learn about how to get farm-fresh eggs — collected by Carmen’s children — and the family YouTube channel where they share life with a menagerie.

The social media presence and video channel were launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Carrmen’s workplace closed to the public and she found herself with a little more time on her hands. Encouraged by her friends, she named the farm and started making videos about life there.

“We have a lot going on here, in a very small space,” Carmen said. “It was not at all what I expected. We both grew up in the country, but we did not have all that here.”

She chose the name Carm’s Farm after getting suggestions from friends on social media. She says of all the things she considered, it “rolls off the tongue” the best.

“My friends on social media have really been supportive,” Carmen said. “We have started hatching silkie chicks and we have been able to sell those. There has been a lot of interest. My dream is the YouTube channel grows and can be a big part of our life.”

She also was able to stream the hatching of those chicks live when they arrived in the world.

The move to the farm, she says, was good for the entire family — though the move has not been what she or her husband expected. While both grew up in the country, neither had such a varied collection of animals to care for.

And, she said, involving the couple’s children has been a positive.

“This has been good for them. They have learned responsibility and they have done the chores,” Carmen said. “They collect the eggs, they sell them and they make the money.”

Donkeys, horses, goats, ducks, chickens and rabbits -- more than 60 animals -- are now homed at "Carm's Farm," a six-acre farm near Walton.