Old Farm, New Plan

On our way to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we stopped at a little family farm we’d found through Harvest Hosts. This one’s a bit like parking in some stranger’s paddock by their barn instead of at an actual business, but thank goodness for small farms and small businesses like this one.

We didn’t go for an official tour because the one present member of the couple who lives and works here was busy feeding the chickens, watering the hogs, and working in the garden, all with her toddler on her back. Watching her from a distance while I sat and knitted reminded me keenly of all the things I used to do with Finn in a sling on my hip or in a backpack or strapped up front. Everything do everything but cut the grass, and man did that frustrate me because then it never got done!

Here they don’t cut the grass much, either. According to the description on the Harvest Hosts listing, this young couple is revitalizing this rundown old farm (named Danu Hof) with organic and ethical farm practices. There are egg-laying chickens and poultry chickens, plus hogs and several gardens. They sell from their farm store here where we’re parked, and the other partner was manning a market stalls across northern Michigan when we pulled in.

We did visit their store (a small outbuilding with a few shelves and coolers; available meat was listed in chalk on the cooler lids) and bought sausage and pork cuts.

We also walked the perimeter of their 160 acres, which turns out to be not very much walking, although lovely. We’re definitely in the north woods here, with short pines and spruce and hemlock and white cedar and paperbark birch, and that crunchy kind of moss underfoot that makes me feel like I’m walking on coral. We saw remnants of the old farm as we walked: survivor cherry trees from an orchard, overgrown Christmas trees in scattered rows, and the ubiquitous piles of junk dumped in a ravine that seem to be part and parcel of all old farms.

Banjo has been beside herself with excitement over the wandering roosters and the mysterious sounds coming from the pig sty. Center on her radar is the black farm cat who follows the mom around during her chores. I don’t think Banjo got in a wink of napping all afternoon and evening as we sat outside. Her nose was constantly at work and she whipped her head from side to side the whole time. We kept her close; I wasn’t worried about the farm cat, but one wandering chicken came mighty close to settling in the shade under the trailer.

We’re continuing to head north after this one-night stop, over the bridge at Mackinaw and into the UP and northern Wisconsin, where you can see from all my blue icons that we spent an active, lovely summer last year. This year though we’re staying in place only for the July 4 weekend and one last howdy with Tracy’s extended family up here. Then we’re headed west along U.S. Highway 2, the northernmost highway in the U.S. that goes through an area called the Hi-Line, adjacent to the old Great Northern Railway. We’re both so looking forward to that.

Just so I don’t end this post with a photo of a map, here’s a straggler from Waterloo Recreation Area that we just came from, southeast of Lansing. Banjo and I were walking our morning walk and caught the sunrise before anyone else was up; in just a couple of hours that beach would be teaming with families. This though is my favorite time of day.