The Amazing Hen House

Inside The Hen House. Photo provided by Ron and Becky Calfee.
Inside The Hen House. Photo provided by Ron and Becky Calfee.

By Ralphine Major

It felt like I was stepping back in time as I walked inside.  In a way, I was.  I had only seen Becky once since our high school days in band.  Two and a half years ago, I saw her at the Wrights’ 70th Anniversary (Focus 9-4-12).  She had made cupcakes decorated with farm animals, and I thought she made her living as a baker.  I was wrong.

The former Becky Turner and Ron Calfee have been married for 43 years.  The Gibbs graduates are owners of Calfee Farms where they raise Spanish goats and a llama.  Becky started a project five years ago as she was coming to a crossroads in her life.  Presently, she is a critical care paramedic and the current coordinator/manager and educator in Emergency Medical Services Continuing Healthcare Education at Roane State Community College.  The crossroads that Becky is facing is called retirement, as she wraps up a 34-year career in the healthcare industry.  How does someone go from saving lives to retirement?  “I did some soul searching, and I have the answer,” Becky said.  She found it in “The Hen House.”

I went by to see what was going on at The Hen House, a business and community building, as Becky and Ron opened their door to the community just before Christmas.  It is a fun place filled with lots of antiques and creations.  Much of the merchandise is on consignment.  Bakery items, candy, and coffee are always available; and orders for baked goods are filled by local bakers.  I got to sample some of those delicious baked goods!  An area is designated for groups to hold meetings, quilting, and basket making.  Also, monthly meals will be prepared for the elderly.  “We teach old fashioned skills from the past,” their business card reads. There will be fun classes every month for adults and kids.  Teaching teenagers and children to cook and bake homemade biscuits may seem like a daunting task, but the Calfees are experienced hands.  “All three of our boys know how to cook,” Becky said.  I could not keep from thinking about the deep family and community connection of the Calfee family.  All three sons are Gibbs graduates.  Ron’s late mother, Helen Calfee, taught Home Economics at Gibbs High School for 23 years.  She was my teacher in 1969, my freshman year.  Helen’s father, Professor H. G. Loy, was principal at Gibbs High School and later at Central High School.  I know his name well—our father was forever talking about the influence he had on him to finish high school after the Army.

As winter turns to spring, The Hen House will host other events including classes in gardening with children, Pinterest classes, and cake decorating.

The Hen House is located at 7917 E. Emory Road, Corryton, just a short distance past Harbison’s Crossroads.  It is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (for winter months).  “Or, if you can’t make those hours, call us and we will open up for you to visit,” Becky said.  Ten percent of all proceeds will be contributed to Clapp’s Chapel United Methodist Church.  Learn more at www.calfeefarms.net(look for the link to the Hen House Antiques and Creations) or call (865)313-5033.  What an awesome way to give back to the community and enjoy what you are doing.

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