Tim and Nicki Farmer’s country home sits “out a ways” in Franklin County along a scenic drive with the twists and turns of Bridgeport Benson Road. Turning into the driveway, Christmas lights twinkle on a fence guiding the way to the house and surrounding land.
Welcoming Christmas music plays outside, mixing with the lowing of the cows and the trickling water from a rock waterfall feature. Dots of colored lights danced pleasantly across the house and wooden toy soldiers stand at attention on either side of the front door.
“We have an extreme love of the Christmas season,” Nicki explains laughing. “If I’m going to put this much up I want time to enjoy it. And we definitely do enjoy it! The kids come out and we do a lot of entertaining during the holidays.”
“We used to put everything up as early as September — it got a bit ridiculous,” Tim says. The two now have what Tim calls a “binding contract” about Christmas decorations. “We shook hands on it!” he remarks. “She can’t start decorating until she hears the Christmas horn. I promised it would always be before Thanksgiving. It’s all in good fun.” The Christmas horn, according to Tim, is an old cornet that has been in the family for a long time.
In 2015, Tim retired after more than two decades as the Emmy-award winning host of the acclaimed “Kentucky Afield” TV show produced by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. The outdoor adventure series is the longest continuously running show of its kind in the nation. The following year, Nicki retired from her position running a doctor’s office as well. “We decided we just really liked spending time together.”
The couple, who have been in the house for 12 years, are far from retired. They currently produce and host “Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen” for KET, run “Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen catering business and Tim does public speaking engagements. “Thankfully, we film for ‘Country Kitchen’ at a cabin right here on our land so we don’t have far to go to work,” Tim says.
Deck the halls
The three-level stone and glass home with warm, comfortable furnishings makes a stunning backdrop for the couple’s eleven Christmas trees, numerous lights and garland. Every mounted deer, fish, wild boar or various other animals throughout the house sport a Santa hat. “Everybody gets a Santa hat,” Nicki says.
The front door opens to an enclosed porch filled with large plants brought to winter indoors. Christmas trees and decor also share the space.
In the main level sitting area, a Christmas tree glitters with white lights and hunting-themed ornaments. In the kitchen and eating area, the table is set with a distinctive wildlife china pattern and beautiful centerpiece. “I like to leave this table set for Christmas,” Nicki says.“We’ll both cook Christmas dinner. It’s such a wonderful time of year!”
A built-in pool decked out with lights sits behind the house, with grazing lands for livestock just beyond. They say that the pool, added last August, has been a great place to hang out since retiring. “It’s our ‘staycation,’” Tim remarks.
The property is large enough to support the couple’s animal managerie, too. Tim and Nicki looked at each other to count their animals, going back and forth between them. “We have four dogs — three Pyrenees and one Border Collie — 12 sheep, four chickens, a rooster, a guinea hen, a cow and two calves, two ducks and an alpaca. Maybelle is a cow we will have forever,” Nicki says. “She needs a Christmas stocking!”
An open, log staircase with garland-wrapped railing leads to the second level with Tim and Nicki’s master bedroom, a bathroom, Tim’s office and an extra bedroom.
A full black bear skin, a javelina and wild boar are a few of the trophies that hold court on the walls of the master bedroom. Tim remembers, “I shot the javelina in Arizona, the wild boar in Michigan and the black bear with a bow and arrow in Canada.” (Tim lost the use of his right arm many years ago in a motorcycle accident, and learned to shoot a bow and arrow with his teeth.) Appropriately, the Christmas tree in their bedroom is outfitted with acorn and hunting ornaments.
Across the hall is Tim’s office and beyond that is a guest bedroom. The office is set up with a couple of cushy chairs, a desk and an electric fireplace. The office is a reflection of Tim’s personality with raised topographic maps that he collects from the late 1800s and art deco pieces. A large mounted fish hangs high on a wall.
The office gets its fair share of Christmas decor, too. A fishing-themed tree stands in a corner and a long row of stockings representing each family member line the mantel of the fireplace. “We have five children between us,” Nicki explains. “Elizabeth, Lindsay, Rebekah, Kelli and Nicholas. We have three grandkids, too. And our children have spouses and fiances. Everyone will come to celebrate the weekend before Christmas,” she says.
The lower level of the Farmer home houses their recording studio, bar and media room. “Since we’re empty nesters, this is our play area,” Tim says.
His “Kentucky Afield” work is memoralized in photos that fill an entire wall in the studio including Ted Nugent, Bobby Osborne, Rascal Flatts and Don Everly of the Everly Brothers. A music-themed table top tree with Elvis ornaments sits on the bar. Keyboards, guitars, an accordian and even a harp fill the room. Tim plays several instruments and Nicki plays keyboard. “Maybe I’ll learn to play more on the harp now that I’m retired,” she says laughing.
The media room, completely wired by Tim, is set up for a total movie experience down to the old-fashioned popcorn machine. In keeping with the theme, there is a Christmas tree complete with popcorn ornaments. A interesting, full-sized sarcophagus opens to hold movie DVDs.
Bringing the outdoors inside
During Christmas, Tim and Nicki celebrate by enjoying and sharing their home during the holiday season in their own special way. Love of family and living as good stewards of the earth is apparent in their hearts and in their home.