Historic Dreams and Forward Thinking

Trip Start Jul 15, 2009
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Trip End Jun 01, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Sunday, September 20, 2009

Arriving in Wykoff, Minnesota is a little like stepping back into the earliest part of this century for me, but for most it would be stepping back into the early part of the 20th century (1900s).  DreamAcres is a farm started by good friends of mine Todd and Evie, now accompanied by their two sons Chester and Stanley and the farm, with a dog, four horses an ox and chickens and two cats.

I worked as an intern at DreamAcres in 2000 and 2001.  During that time I lived winters in Vermont (mostly on my snowboard) and the growing season from April to late October I lived at the farm.  What makes DreamAcres different from most farms today is the use of methods used historically in the early part of the 20th century including farming with animal power.  The structures are all timber-framed, pegged together not a nail used in the construction of the frame.  Solid timber structures.  The stove in the house burns wood and the sink requires pumping if you want water from it.  The fields are plowed with horse power, and that is not a number written on the side of the gas tank.  There is a blacksmith shop and a woodworking shop filled with tools that do not have plugs on them. 

Using new technologies the farm is powered by solar panels in many of the buildings.  A new commercial kitchen was just installed and contains a beautiful wood fired pizza oven.  The farm also hosts to a CSA, which is a membership system of growing and sharing (buying and selling) food.  Also many classes (through Tillers International) and perfroming arts camp (Flourish) also are hosted by the farm.

Attached here you will find some images from the farm.  It is a place that inspires me to believe that life can be lived in a more sustainable way. That rural living is vibrant and full.  As usual I arrived at the farm not to find a lonely family, but a number of farmers sitting around a table eating wood fire pizza and sharing their life in rural Minnesota.  a number of kids chased each other in the pasture.  The evening ended that first night with a little fire. The pace of life includes hard work but also a taste of freedom not felt in other lifestyles.

I remember my summers there, it was hot in summer, there was drought and there was flood, and any number of gorgeous summer days.  I spent my days that first year in the garden and siding the barn, building the stalls in the basement as well as a chicken coop for the chickens to retreat to in the night time.  The garden was a long strip down the center of the field and was surrounded by field crops on either side.  The second year we raised three more buildings and finished an area of the barn that now houses interns for the growing season.  I visited the swimming hole this time around but only got my shoe wet while swinging on the rope with Stanley. 

An office in a few trees was added to the property.  Dreamacres is not only a farm but a community with a few people that own the farm together.  The idea of growing community and enjoying rural life seems ever present in a my mind when I am around the farm.  I loved hearing Todd and Evie talk of all the same people in the area as  when I was there before.

We stayed at DreamAcres for a couple of nights, helped process some tomatoes and ate some wonderful foods.

Peace and health to all,
and thank you
Mark
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