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

Pork Sausage Nachos

Using our delicious and healthy pasture pork sausage (Italian or Pork flavor) you can make a quick, simple and delicious gluten-free dinner, even the kids will love.

Ingredientscooking pork sausage - New Belgium Snow Day beer

1 lb of Jackson Station pastured pork – Italian or regular pork flavored sausage will both work

1 Bag of Organic Tortilla Chips – yellow or blue corn are both good!

1/2 lb of shredded cheese

1-3 cloves of garlic

1/4 of a large red onion

1 bell pepper (optional – your choice of color or type)

1 can of Organic black beans

We like to buy natural and organic, and use local ingredients when possible.

Cook the sausage, using a plastic or metal spatula to crumble as it cooks. Add a splash or two of your choice of beer (I like to drink the rest) to the meat once it’s almost finished cooking. If you use beef or pork from the store, you’ll need to strain off the excess liquid and fat after cooking, but using our meat, you’ll find it’s lean as can be and won’t need to strain.

Next sauté chopped fresh onion and garlic. If you have any green or red peppers, add chopped peppers to the recipe also.

Open a can of black beans and dump into a cereal size bowl. Season with Chili powder, garlic powder, Himalayan or Sea Salt and cumin. Mix well.

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil for easy clean up. Evenly coat the pan with your choice of tortilla chips. Next add the black beans to the chips (if they’re too wet, they’ll make the chips sauggie and you don’t want that!) Then evenly sprinkle the cooked sausage. Next top will sautéed vegetables. Then top with shredded cheese (our local food co-op has great bricks of raw cheddar we can buy and shred ourselves, but you can also use a bag of pre-shredded cheese if you don’t have access to a better option).

Place in oven and bake at 250-300 (depending upon how hot and even your oven cooks) degrees for about 10 min or until cheese is completely melted. I make myself hang out by the oven so I don’t overcook it. Nachos cook quickly so I recommend not walking away.

Serve with a side of sour cream and salsa at the table. We’ve found that we like the flavor, texture and price of Aldi’s brand of Organic Salsa, that comes in Mild or Medium hotness. Like a little extra heat?  Jackson and Abraham love to top theirs with Sriracha sauce.

Pork Sausage and Black Bean Nachos

 

Made with love and glad to share,

Rock.

livewell. rockwell.

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” 

KY to MI

KY was a great adventure, full of new terrain (literally and figuratively), plenty of character building (don’t think I was ever going to get use to no cell phone service for a radius of 10 miles or the poisonous snakes) and got a few more tools in the tool belt (literally). Kentucky launched us into the next chapter…back to Northern Michigan.

IMG_1220

Kentucky provided humbling experiences, living among history of our great country’s’ beginnings. There were rock walls on the property that were built by slaves, muck boots became a required piece of apparel, copperheads and rattlers could be lurking near by, seasonal swarms of lady beetles, and stepping in a cow pie on the way to your car door – were all commonplace. All of this provided perspective, acceptance, strength and growth.

IMG_6040 Jackson station at Gusty Branch

We had a great opportunity to work and live in the same place. Jackson got to work on a historic replica of a Toll House, located in central KY, about an hour and half south of Lexington, in the rocky, hilly hollars. A gorgeous home built down the creek, .5 mile up a nob and back into the woods. He acquired tools of the trade, on-site education and became quite the craftsman. He did everything from finish plumbing and electrical, to creating his own trim, bead board and solid wood doors.

IMG_8651 Jackson wood working; processing wood paneling

If the job itself didn’t keep him busy enough, he also started a farm. The job-site property was set on hundreds of acres, providing the chance to start what Jackson has been waiting to start for years. If not now, never? Right?! So it was. Farming, here we come! We raise hair sheep, goats, turkeys, cows and pigs. Fencing mishaps, runaway goats, disappearing turkeys, and plenty of births provided more than a few stories along the way.

IMG_1206 raising hair sheep

Oh, and we got pregnant and had a baby too!

One of our biggest life lessons Ky provided was “you can’t do it all.” It’s better to invest your time and resources into a few things and do it really well, rather than be eager to achieve, spreading yourself too thin. So, we downsized and re-prioritized.

While we built friendships, two church families, gained experience (and some farm animals), we decided at the end of the day what’s really important to us: investing in sustainability for our  future generation and being close to family/community – in a place we feel like home.

Leelanau County, here we come!

moving back to MI_truck gusty branch KY_IMG_1584

 

welcoming Levi James

We welcomed Levi James Jackson to the fold November 4th, 2015!

He was born at our temporary home, on Gusty Branch Road, by the creek, near the hollows and rolling green hills of central Kentucky.

The labor came on strong and fast, giving us nearly no time to use any of our at-home preparations. Our midwife was on her way over, on speaker phone, as Jackson and Madre competently delivered the new baby, with our other son Abraham at my side. Fortunately, she had prepared us for such a scenario. Before we knew it I was loudly announcing….”This baby’s coming!”

Gods grace and provision surrounded us – I believe due to my surrender and obedience, to be open to a home birth experience. Everyone is healthy, happy and flourishing!

FYI – We are heading back home to northern Michigan to live, work, give and love very soon!


#homebirth #naturalbirth #livewell #thelandrovers #rockwell #thejacksonshouse