Ruth’s new parking spot 4.0

After lots of adventures all across the country, Ruth (our Land Rover Defender) is glad to be back in Leelanau County. But she’ll be even happier when she’s in good working order again and can get back on the road, cruising along M-22 and the many scenic seasonal roads she loves in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National lakeshore.

She’s been tucked into the pine trees since our return to Northern Michigan, at Coastal Storage in Cedar, MI. It seems lately our whole life is here at Coastal Storage. We have most of our belongings tucked away into two units, plus Madre and I also have been renting temporary studio space in the loft upstairs over the garage. Although our living situation has become quite transient, our businesses are thriving and we needed a reliable place to go get work done, no matter where we lay our heads at night. We’ve been more than pleased with studio work accommodations and are sad to see that coming to an end.

While working here, I often think that there could be a reality TV series based out of this storage unit property. Scotty, the owner and his dog Prince are friendly and welcoming – chatting with those who come through. You never know who you might run into here. From trust fund brats, famous actors who have a vacation home here, to retired GM execs with a place in the Hall of Fame.

Down in the garage below, Scotty is always putzing with a vehicle, whether it be his mother’s golf cart, his son’s tractor, one of his sports cars, or a “project” that a buddy has dropped off. After Jackson had a recent conversation with him, Scotty offered to take a look at the Rover and pull her into the garage.

“Any vehicle lucky enough to enter this garage always comes out better than it entered…”

Meanwhile, we’re still looking for temporary housing and long-term property, and now new studio space. Let us know if you know of anything!

Related stories:

• Ruth’s new parking spot 3.0

• Seized Defenders – Our Story

• The Defenders Return


#thelandrovers #livewellrockwell #storyofRuth #follow #thedefendersreturn #hedrickrover #nomads

Farmers without a Farm | Hay Season

Step 5.

Find a barn/pasture for animals that can be leased long-term/year round, to run our farm business out of.

After a long winter around the barn in the woods on “Hlavka Mountain” we needed to find grass four our three calves to feed on through this spring, summer and fall. Just a few miles down the road from where we resided, Jackson connected with a “good ol boy” Bill Olsen and his son-in-law Travis. Bill Olsen’s grandfather resided at Olsen Farm, what is now the “Friends of Sleeping Bear office in historic Port Oneida, a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Our calves are now on pasture with his heard, earmarked so we know ours are ours. Part of the trade is that Jackson will be “on call” throughout Hay Season to be the guy on the trailer pulling out and stacking the hay as they drive down the field.

“Farming without our own farm…continued…”

IMG_2831 - Haying with the Olsen's

Farmers Without a Farm | Pt. 1

People frequently use the words Determination and Perseverance to describe a recent Grad, or an accomplished Athlete. I would use these words to describe Kevin Jackson, who feels he is called to farm and is going to make it happen, despite the hurdles in his path.

We came back to Michigan, choosing Leelanau county to make our home, knowing that we’d face some challenges to get our farm started. The bigger picture goal is to have land, pasture, outbuildings and the farm – that can be passed down to the next generation – giving them a business/homestead to get a start in a life on their own, beyond what we’ve been given. Bringing back animals from Kentucky, we’re kind of doing this thing backwards. We literally have a farm (the livestock) without a farm (barn/land/home). Read the previous post about moving from KY to MI and why. 

“We’re farmers without a farm.”

Step 1.

Secure a rental home to live in while we build our business plan and search for the ideal property.

Once the property is found we can put in an offer and complete the USDA Agricultural Farm Loan through their office in Traverse City to purchase. But in the mean time, we need to still live somewhere. Thanksgiving weekend, we moved back into the rental house we’ve called home for the last four years on Hlavka Rd. in Maple City, MI.

Step 2.

Secure a barn through the winter.

The barn we were able to use all winter long was off-the grid, and a half mile snowshoe hike away. We were at least fortunate enough to discover that barn did indeed have water (wouldn’t have stopped Jackson though) an old gravity fed well. All winter long Jackson literally hauled hay, 50 lb bags of feed and sometimes even Abraham, on a sled from the house to the barn…twice a day.

“No guts, No Glory.”

Step 3.

Ok, so our rental home SOLD.

Find new rental that’s in the area to stay close to our barn, in our monthly budget, that’s clean and not a mobile home.

Step 4.

Oh. If finding a new home location isn’t enough work, now we have to move barns/farm again! Ok. Deep breaths.

When we moved our farm into it this past winter the property owner was not interested in selling. Now we’re being asked to move everyone out. The property and barn you see pictured here, nestled in what we lovingly refer to as Hlavka Mountain, is now listed on the market for sale at a premium price.

Step 5.

Find a property and barn in the “Bohemian Rd” valley that can be leased long term, that we can reliably operate the farm business out of host our animals year round and allow us to store equipment, hay, feed, etc.

Next Post:

“Farmers without a farm | Hay Season”