SEKY December 2021 - Page 38

Boxes containing bee hives are painted to differentiate which year Mills first got the group of bees . He currently has 32 hives and hopes to grow that number to 50 by next year .
| Photo by Jarrod Mills
A hand-made fire place built by Mills acts as a center piece and a source of warmth in the Mills ’ barn .
| Photo by Jarrod Mills maybe not half , I ’ m making that up , but a lot ,” he clarified with a laugh . “ And then some of them are like me , they ’ re just going to be ugly , that ’ s the way they are ,” he joked .
Mills says he ’ s planted several types of trees just to see which kind grew the best and the fastest on his property . He says he ’ s found that White Pines and Virginia Pines seem to grow the best , but he ’ s planted Douglas Firs , Norway Spruces , Concolor Firs , Redpines , and Loblolly Pines just to make sure .
“ I love the heck out of them ,” Mills said on the loblolly trees . “ But I ’ ve not quite learned how to sheer them yet . They ’ re real dorky looking ,” he added . “ I think kids will love them just because of the name , loblolly , it just sounds fun .” Mills said the other types of trees grow , but that they typically don ’ t grow as quickly as the Virginia Pines and White Pines he ’ s planted . Outside of the 50 trees ready for harvest this year ,
Mills said the others planted that first year won ’ t be ready for another four or so years . As a result , Mills said his farm would only be able to sell the 50 or so trees he sees fit for consumers . He hopes that by next year to triple that output and sell around 150 trees . Then the following year , he wants to see that number increase to about 200-300 trees .
But trees aren ’ t the only thing Mills has growing on his farm , which also features several bee hives . Mills said he originally only wanted two hives , but before he knew it , the number of hives had grown to 32 . That can make the spring months even more hectic for Mills , who said the bees start kicking up around the same time new trees are delivered to be planted .
“ I say I live in a constant state of triage because I ’ m only doing what needs to be done right now ,” said Mills . “ I ’ ve never been caught up and I don ’ t
38 • SEKY - Life in Southeast Kentucky December 2021