First Posted: 12/27/2008
After spending much of her life in the central and eastern parts of the state, Dawn Rowe came back to her roots a few years ago and is enjoying life on the farm.
Rowe was born in Winston-Salem, but spent her life growing up in Rocky Mount after her fathers truck-driving position with Carolina Freight in Winston ended in 1973. Her dad had to choose between Rocky Mount and Cherryville, so when she was 4, the family moved to Rocky Mount.
There was nothing special about growing up in Rocky Mount. We lived in a neighborhood, and the only animals we had were a dog or cat and at one point some bunnies, said Rowe, who now owns a small farm full of animals.
We would come up here to King and Fancy Gap to visit my grandparents a couple of times a year, said the manager of the Edward Jones Investment office in Pilot Mountain.
While many may have had the opportunity to go off to college following high school, Rowe chose to continue the path she started while still in public school.
While I was in high school, I worked for the old Planters Bank, which later merged with Peoples Bank to form Centura. I worked as a copy girl there. I did all the photocopies for the bank, she explained as she reminisced on her start in the banking and securities industry. I left the bank for a short time after graduation, but then came back into word processing.
From word processing, Rowe transferred to the portfolio division of the bank where she worked closely with the portfolio manager.
He encouraged me to get my first securities license. After the merger (into Centura), I went to BB&T in Wilson and worked in their securities area and helped with the start up of their discount brokerage center, she said.
Around the same time, in 1992, Rowes daughter, Taylor, who is now a junior at West Stokes High School, was born.
When BB&T and Southern National merged, my position was transferred to Charlotte, so I got a job in Durham as an equity trader with CCB (Central Carolina Bank), but I only stayed about a year because of the location and changes that were being made in the bank, she said.
After eight years as a registered sales assistant for Morgan Keegan in Raleigh, Rowe and her daughter, who was in sixth grade, moved to her familys land in King in 2003 when she took a position as manager of the Pilot Mountain Edward Jones office.
Where I live in King is only 10 to 15 minutes away, so it works out great, Rowe said.
The animals werent added immediately to the farm, but she has been working with them for a while.
We actually at that time (when she was still living in Wake County), I showed my border collie in agility (dog show competitions). My friend had cows, and that was probably Taylors first exposure to farming. She was 8.
After moving to Stokes County, Rowe got Taylor her first show lamb for her 12th birthday in September of 2004.
There was a 4-H group that started for the Pinnacle/Pilot Mountain area, and through that group, she was exposed to horses and sheep. The group only stayed together about a year, Rowe said. I had always wanted sheep to allow my border collie to herd and, as Taylors interest grew and she wanted to show sheep, it was an excuse for me to buy sheep.
The first of her flock came from a lady they met through their involvement in 4-H. I bought three when I started, and from there, we bought more. The lady wanted to thin her flock because of her own health reasons, so we ended up buying several.
Hickory Springs Farms became the name of the land where her grandparents lived and where she now resides with her 35 sheep and goats, llama, pet turkey, pet guinea, 15 chickens, three cats and five dogs.
Yes, the family has a pet turkey named Tom. When I open the chicken gate in the morning, he races us to the front door of the house to eat the cat food with the cats, Rowe said.
We started our own breeding program. Because these are wool sheep and we sell our wool to usually handspinners we call them spinners flocks we decided to add angora goats for their mohair, Rowe said.
Prior to entering the sheep industry, though, chickens were the first farm animals added. One of the first things, when we first moved here, Taylor wanted was chickens. The property already had a little chicken house so someone gave us chickens. Taylor made a sign for the side of the chicken house with her hand prints on it, and it now hangs in my barn with the sheep, she said.
We ordered 25 biddies from a hatchery in the Midwest, and she spent every afternoon with the chickens.
But Taylor wasnt the only one who liked having the animals around. I enjoy working with the animals. The type of sheep we have are very friendly and enjoy being petted. They all have upkeep, but these are not terribly needy because they are very healthy. They are good lambers as well.
So we all enjoy taking care of them. Theyre almost like pets to us.
And farming is a good break from the financial world Rowe spends most of the day working in. In my mind, I grew up in this business. Its always been banking or finances. No one every knows every aspect of markets or trading, there is always something new to learn every day, and thats what keeps me interested.
Sometimes people make it more technical than it has to be. Many times the golden rule is to buy things you use and support or make investments that include those companies, she explained.
At one point, I wanted to became an accountant. I always enjoyed numbers and figures, and after working at Planters Bank and getting my securities license, if you leave the industry for more than two years, you have to go through recertification. At the age of 19 or 20, I had my first securities license and was trading for clients of Planters Bank.
While most people in the trading industry have four-year degrees, Rowe believes that isnt always necessary. I also think that at times that education makes you overthink the basics of the stock market and whats going on.
Rowe said her future will continue to include work at Edward Jones, she hopes until retirement. I love my clients, the people of Pilot Mountain. Theyve been great to me, and Ive made great friends in this job, she said.
As far as the farm goes, my daughter will age out for most of the shows we attend at 18, but I will keep some kind of sheep. Weve worked real hard on our breeding program for the sheep, and each year when we have lambs I put bows on the fence. Well have people stop and ask to see the lambs, or people will stop me at the store to ask about the bows. We have kids come visit with the lambs and sheep who might not have the opportunity otherwise.
Cows may be a later addition to Hickory Springs Farm, but only a handful.
Weve tried to keep the family land together and try to take care of it, she said. Hickory Springs Farm got its name because a natural spring is the back property line and on one end of the property is a huge hickory tree that my grandfather hunted from and he called it the line tree because it was on the property line.
We live in my grandfathers old farm house that weve been trying to remodel and repair, and weve done a lot there. He and his friends built the house in 1947, and the barn was built by other family members before the house, she said of her home.