Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Many of you who have been following this blog, or our e-mail letters and postal letters over the years have occasionally heard me speak about our little farm in Wisconsin. After living mostly overseas for the past 20 years, Vivian and I are now again settled into that farm.
For a change of pace in blog posts, I thought it might be nice to give you a little tour.

I should first show you a photo of our house. Our home is about 135 years old (as close as we can tell). It is made from hand-hewed, squared logs. When we first bought it and when we were renovating it, we tore down several layers of differing kinds of paneling that the residents had installed over the years. When we came to the very last layer, we found that they had used newspaper to seal the logs. The newspapers were from the 1880's, a German language paper that was printed in Milwaukee for all of the recent immigrants of the time.
In the photo you can see by the lawn in the front how dry it as been here this year. However, we are not nearly as dry as many parts of the country.

Of course, every farm must have a barn. Here is ours. It has some structural problems that I will need to fix, but you can see that I put a balcony on it where we can sit. I am not sure why I did this, but it is pretty nice. I must like to sit on balconies, since we also have two of them on our house.

Our little farm only has three cows so far. Perhaps you read my earlier blog from some months ago (in April - City Boy Farmer) that told of an unfortunate loss we had of some baby calves. Only one of those survived, and that one we are raising for beef. Recently however, I bought two more beautiful pregnant cows that run heavy to the Scottish highland breed. These are wonderful cows and so tame they eat grain out of my hand. Their names are Agnes and Effie. The calf from earlier this spring is named Jerry.

 Here he is standing in front of the little byre where the cows can find shelter during cold or wet weather, although the highlanders mostly do not use barns,even in the coldest weather.

This is a project that I am working on in my spare moments. The boys and I disassembled an old log out-building on the farm where I grew up and I am now making it into a little Finnish-style sauna. It is a work in progress, but we hope to be able to take a sauna this winter. We didn't need it this summer, as many days were already quite sauna-like.

Here is a photo of my hammock. I am not ashamed to say that I took more than a couple of naps here on some hot, summer afternoons.

I must also like these old log buildings, since our garage is also an old building that I moved onto our property many years ago. It was the house on a nearby abandoned farm, but it has made a very nice garage for us. Vivian also has her art studio on one end of the building.

This is our blacksmith shop. It has a coal-fired forge inside that I bought years ago at my uncle's farm auction. Part of the front wall is on hinges and lifts up so the blacksmith can stand outside under a cover while firing the forge inside.

We have chickens too. They have just begun laying eggs and I built them a coop for the winter.  Does that white one look like she is outside of the fence to you? I think so.

We finally found a nice little puppy. Her name is Tilly (Matilda). She is an Australian herding dog (blue heeler) and a little active right now, but she is calming down and learning not to jump. She is calm around the cows, which is good, but you can see that she always wants to play with the cats. We have four of those. I think Vivian calls this one "sweetie pie." One was named "tiger striped head" by our grandsons, there is a gray one whose name I do not know, and the mother cat I call "the old bat," because she is like a crabby old lady.

Other features of our farm are a pond that is down in the valley. We once made a water slide from the top of the hill down into the pond, but that is no longer there. But I pump the water up to water the garden. 

Of course, no tour of our farm would be complete without a photo of the trebuchet. You don't know what a trebuchet is? It is difficult for me to imagine anyone living in the 16th century and not know this (or wait a minute, what century is this? I sometimes lose track when I am on the farm).

So, there is a short tour. There is more to see, but this is enough. Stop up some time and sit on our porch for a visit. Vivian and I hope to be mostly here for a good long time.


  1. Very idyllic, especially 3 seasons of the year. :)

  2. We are looking forward to that visit on your front porch soon!

  3. Look's so peaceful....would love to come and visit and sit on that bench one day.


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