SEKY December 2021 - Page 37

“ I always wanted [ to farm ], but never had enough property ,” Mills said as he sat , warming himself next to the handmade fireplace he ’ s built inside the barn on his property . “ Then that came up for sale back there behind us ,” he added , motioning toward the property out behind the barn . “ And I thought well , ‘ I ’ ll just buy it and do it .’ That was in 2017 I guess .”
Mills said that first year , he and a group of friends , who underestimated the amount of work that would be involved , planted about 500 trees . Some of the trees were already four years old when Mills and company planted them and have now grown upwards to six to eight feet tall . The ones that have survived are that tall , that is , as of the original 500 trees planted , about 50 have been able to weather the elements and wildlife and are now ready for harvesting . “ They ’ re doing really well if I could keep the deer out of them ,” noted Mills . “ The first two years they devoured everything . It was awful .”
Throughout the years , Mills , who now owns Mills Tree Farm & Honeybees , said he ’ s planted around 3,000 tress on his farm . He said he ’ s visited other tree farms that block plant their trees , and that he didn ’ t like that experience . As a result , Mills has planted his trees scattered throughout 6 acres of his farm . Throughout the week during the spring , Mills can be seen out on his farm in the evenings and on the weekends everyday for three weeks planting tree after tree . Mills can plant anywhere from 500-800 trees in a spring .
“ Half of them always die ,” he said , before quickly adding , “ Well
Mills and family began renovating the barn on his farm back in 2000 . | Photo contributed
Mills hopes to eventually turn half of the old barn into an area for local vendors to come and set up show .
| Photo by Jarrod Mills
AT LEFT : William Mills stands in a field on his farm . Behind him are rows of trees planted since 2017 . Mills predicts he ’ s planted close to 3,000 tress in that time .
| Photo by Jarrod Mills
December 2021 SEKY - Life in Southeast Kentucky • 37