Season one of the hit video series “At Home With Massey Ferguson” introduced us to Garrett and Jennifer Davis, a young couple rediscovering their rural roots on a small patch of land in Georgia. Building fences, condensing households and even meeting the neighbors, Garrett and Jennifer welcomed viewers into their lives as they went about converting a 25-acre cow pasture into a home.
With season two debuting in March 2022, we caught up with Garrett to talk about the joys and challenges he and Jennifer have overcome as they work to make their version of the American dream a reality.
MF: In season one of “At Home With Massey Ferguson,” you and Jennifer both express you knew you were meant for the country life. What is it about that lifestyle that calls to you?
GD: I knew as a small child I would live in the country one day. I used to daydream all week during school about when my grandmother would come and pick me up on Friday and take me to their farm in northeast Georgia. The cows, feeding hay, playing in the creeks and ponds, helping my pawpaw repair old farm equipment, chop firewood, all the good meals — it was heaven to me. Everything about that place was magical, and I have always been determined to recreate that life for myself one day.
With Jennifer, I am so thankful I found someone who wants the same things, because one thing I can tell you is that the “feel” of the farm I longed for doesn’t come from the land, equipment or animals. That feeling comes from the family that lives there. When my pawpaw passed away, the farm was never the same. I had many opportunities to purchase land in the past, but I always held off until Jennifer and I got together because I knew that the land, animals and all that was only a part of what I was looking for. Jennifer completed the package for me. We’re building this dream together, fence post by fence post, and slowly but surely, it’s starting to feel like home.
And we’re not alone. Thousands of Americans are returning to the land, whether they grew up with farming families like I did or the lifestyle just calls to them. They’re buying land, putting down roots, building homes just like we are. That’s where the idea for “At Home With Massey Ferguson” came from. We want to show the world that we’re just like them. We have struggles and victories on our land just like they do. We love our machines just like they do. We wanted to ditch the commute, get away from the city, just as they do. And now we want to reach out and highlight more families around the country just like ours in season two.
MF: What was it about this particular piece of land that inspired you and Jennifer to sink your roots here?
GD: It’s beautiful. The grass is lush and green year-round. We have awesome neighbors. I never get sick of the view. We’ve got these gentle rolling hills that are navigable for both tractors and horses and a quiet dirt road with no traffic or litter. Sometimes you wonder if this is all worth it because building and maintaining this place is tough; it would be so easy for us to sell out and move into a neighborhood with a big house on a small lot. There wouldn’t be fences to build/maintain, eight hours of mowing every other week in summer, driveways to maintain, etc. But, when I wake up each day and look out over the pond to see the sunrise burning away the morning fog (and frost in winter is beautiful then, too), I remember why I’m here. This is the most beautiful place on earth to me, and we love it.
MF: What kind of improvements have you made so far, and what remains to be done?
GD: We knew going into it that we had a lot of work ahead of us. By purchasing a cow pasture with fencing that was in severe decline, we were literally starting from scratch. A blank slate to build our dream homestead.
We cut a driveway with a 40-foot entrance for trailers, drilled a 300-foot well and ran 1,000 feet of water line. We built a shop with a lean-to for equipment, tools and temporary living/office space. For the horses, we built a 200-by-150-foot riding arena and 40-foot round pen.
And then there was the fence. After tearing down and cleaning up the original fence rows, we installed half a mile of board fencing.
We learned a lot along the way. We knew it was going to be more difficult to start from scratch than buying an existing farm, but it has proven to be even harder than we’d imagined. The fence, for example, turned out to be quite the undertaking. I grew up helping build fences on my grandparent’s farm, but they used a different type of fence, so I was totally green to this horse fencing. We got the hang of it pretty quickly, though. I will say when setting out to build a half mile of wood fencing that requires 360 posts for one pasture, go ahead and buy the post pounder for the tractor to save yourself the headache of having to pack post holes by hand.
We’ve got a ways to go yet, but we’re happy with our progress. There’s a bit of fencing to do this year, as well as planting some trees and landscaping around the shop. The next major step is plans for the house and barn, but that will take some time.
MF: With full-time jobs away from the farm, animals and new construction, how do you find time for it all?
GD: That’s a tough one. We don’t have many animals here — just two horses and two chocolate labs. We’re planning to add some cattle and chickens along with a large garden soon, so our responsibilities will be expanding. But, even now, we work for an hour or so every morning before our office jobs and every day at 5 we head out the door to feed, water and check over the horses. Jennifer usually works and exercises them while I mow, spray weeds, service equipment and vehicles, etc. There is never a shortage of work to be done. We’re getting better about setting realistic goals each day so that we come inside with enough time to cook healthy suppers and get settled down for the night at a reasonable hour.
MF:: What is your favorite Massey Ferguson product at home?
GD: It’s hard to pick a favorite! If I have to go with just one, it would be the MF 2600 H Series. That’s what I bought for our farm. In my opinion, it’s the heaviest, most straightforward and capable tractor on the market today for the money. When you look at your horsepower per dollar ratio, you’ll see that the 2600 H is a great value.
But, really, Massey Ferguson has such a diverse lineup perfect for small to midsize operations. Even if I didn’t work for them, they’d be my first choice because I grew up on them! My pawpaw only ever had Massey tractors, and he never had a minute’s trouble out of any of them! I’m very proud to be on a team that brings quality farm machinery to families like mine that make this “back to the country” movement possible for so many.
MF: What can we expect from season two of “At Home With Massey Ferguson”?
GD: We’ll be hitting the road! Jennifer and I have big plans for our farm, but we’ve got a little time before we’re ready for the next steps. So, I’m taking the opportunity to learn from others. This season I’ll be visiting Massey Ferguson owners across the country to see how they tackle some of the projects Jennifer and I have in mind.
Catch up on Garrett and Jennifer’s progress in season one here and get ready for season two of “At Home With Massey Ferguson” next fall! And for more on Massey Ferguson’s line of straightforward, dependable compact utility equipment, contact your local Massey Ferguson dealer!