Farmer hopes to inspire others with traditional lifestyle

Mary Dean Skipper makes soap

To mark the season, L.W. Paul Living Farm, which is devoted to preserving history, held their Spring Plowing and Planting Day.

For Mary Dean Skipper and other volunteers at the Living History Farm outside Conway, farming is best kept pure: no machines, no electricity, simply the tools they build and the soil beneath their working hands.

"It brings back the memories and the stuff that is done here is actually hands on," said Skipper.

Skipper has lived on a farm her whole life, once raising tobacco but now, corn, beans and potatoes.

"We raised all of our children on the farm. I have five children, all of them raised on the farm," she explained.

She said Saturday's Spring Plowing and Planting Day is a chance for people to see the way that life used to be years ago. Volunteers grind grits and meal while others blacksmith and Skipper teaches people how to make soap.

"I really think that they should know and I hope that they will take it to heart," Skipper said.

Doing this makes Skipper happy and she says she worries that one day this way of living will be gone.

"I am afraid that eventually it will get to where the little farmer, he just won't be able to make it. He'll have to go find work somewhere else," she said.

Which is why she continues to make soap and work in other areas of the farm; to inspire future generations to keep this way of life.

"I hope I do. I really hope I do because I know I've told them I don't mind telling them exactly how to make soap. I don't mind telling them how to cure meat, I just like the old time way," she laughed.

If you missed Saturday's event, the Living History Farm will be holding a number of other events including tobacco heritage day later this year.