Seized Defenders | Our Rover Story

When the Sheriff comes looking for you…

Never would I have imagined a my mom, calling me in a panic, saying “The Leelanau County Sheriff was here looking for Jackson.” Of course little information was given and we had no idea why. So all we could do was call them and find out.

1984 Land Rover Defender, TheLandrovers.comIt’s the Spring of 2014. We were traveling frequently from MI for Jackson to begin his work on Gusty Branch in KY, while I was busy maintaining my business Rockwell Art & Design throughout the transition. In addition, we committed to attend various events and weddings last summer, not allowing us to be in one place for what seemed like more than two weeks at a time. With that said, you can see why we were “hard to find” from the Sheriff’s perspective.

They looked for us at our last know address. We could have been in either Leelanau, Brighton, or Kentucky. Later we found out that not just the Sheriff, but Homeland Security was looking – not for Jackson -but for our Land Rover Defender. Not only was Jackson not in Leelanau, but neither was the Rover. We had driven it down-state to Brighton, in one of our hauls on the move to KY. It happened to be parked in my in-laws’ driveway. Little did we know, that’s where our Rover would stay…for an entire year.

Bullet-Proof Vests & Guns in Holsters

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, a man named Darin gets his Rover seized.

“Dozens of the iconic Defender models were seized by the Department of Homeland Security after U.S. buyers purchased them from abroad and had them shipped here. Vehicles that do not comply with safety and emissions standards cannot be purchased from foreign sellers unless they are 25 years or older, and therefore exempt from the regulations” ~Fox, June 12th, 2015

Only by fate did Darin meet Will Hedrick, a lawyer that lived just 2 minutes down the road, whom he’d never met – until now. By fate, they met and Darin shared his story. Will wanted to help Darin, but didn’t want to charge him for it. Will slept on it and the next day decided, “If I’m going to help this one man, I need to help the others.” So with Darin’s support and permission, they agreed to take on this case of seized Rovers and all help represent ALL Defender owners across the country that were involved in this rover seized by feds

While we were pursued by a Sheriff and Homeland Security, by grace, apparently we had it easy. Some Rovers were taken rather violently, like Jennifer who reports,

“I had seven law enforcement officers block my driveway and take my Land Rover, with bulletproof vests and guns in holsters.”

Some Rovers that were seized, got almost totally wrecked from lack of care while getting impounded. While the Feds claimed these vehicles were initially imported illegally, failing emissions regulations, doesn’t this SWAT team type force, towards non-criminal classic car owners, seem a little extreme?

Helped by a Stranger

Not only did the Sheriff have a hard time tracking us down, but so did Will.

Fast forward to Winter 2015. On our way to church in Danville, KY one Sunday morning, we get a call from a stranger. “Hi, this is Will Hedrick, is Kevin Jackson there?” “Yes,” I replied. “Oh great! I’ve been trying to find you guys for over 6 months! Your Rover is the only one I’m not yet representing in this case!” Will said. While excited, and a little skeptical (what Lawyer wants to help you for free?), An exciting and uncertain journey with our Rover began, and a stranger turned into a friend.

While other defenders were getting taken by force, only by miscommunication and grace, was our Rover the only one NOT SEIZED. One department thought it had already been taken, while another department opted to drop out of the case.

Defended_Jennifer gets her Rover backFor most “personal property seizure cases” the value of the property gets far outweighed by the potential legal fees and the long haul of fighting a case that’s involved. Most people are forced to cut their loses and then opt to not fight it. So if it wasn’t for Will, and his choice to take on Goliath, there would be a lot of us across the country “cutting our losses” right now. Instead, he joined forces, and together we came out victorious, with the Government settling!

Final Score: Hedrick – 30 (Rovers). Governement – 0.

Here we are today. Will is still working on getting some of the Rovers back to their rightful owners, meanwhile, we’re working on getting our Rover back to Kentucky with us.

The Defenders Return!

#defendersreturn #hedrickrover #thelandrovers

the defenders return_Rover owners celebrate victory over the governmentRelated story: Celebrating the return of the Defenders > GO

Celebrating the return of the Defenders

IMG_1546_#thelandrovers #DefendersReturnThe Defenders Return

Jennifer, who also had her Defender seized, put on a great party on her property in North Carolina to celebrate our recent civilian victory against the government, with the return of our Land Rover Defenders.

Most of us who attended were meeting face to face for the first time. Over the last year, while we were in contact with our one common tie, Will Hedrick (our lawyer and selfless hero), we could not know the others involved or talk about the details of the case as it unfolded.

The party could not have had better weather or a location. It was catered with fantastic food, an unending supply of ice tea and lemonade supplied, entertained by the band Raffe Hollister, and even included swimming in a pool. By the end of the night, stories were shared, contacts and friends for life were made. We came together over our common passion…adventure + our Land Rover Defenders.

 A gift of Thanks

How do you thank a lawyer who racked up over $500,000 in legal fees while fighting for you?

How about a Defender 110 that was previously owned by a couple from France, that had patina from their own adventures across African soil? Collectively, as a gift of thanks to Will, the 25+ Defender owners he represented, went in together to get him his own Safari vehicle. It providing an unforgettable moment, a dream come true.

What’s better than the gift of adventure?!

#defendersreturn #thelandrovers #HedrickRover

Read related story: “Seized Defenders | Our Rover Story” > GO

MI to KY

Five years ago dear friends of ours were trying to sell their property and partially finished home in KY. Curious as we are, we ventured down south and camped on the property for a weekend to “scope it out.”

Fast forward to 2014, we needed to find a new direction to move in and were offered an opportunity to work, live and start farming on the very same property in Kentucky.

Jackson is now the sole general contractor and property manager of Gusty Branch. Since we moved to KY last Spring, we’ve also partnered with the owner to begin raising animals. The variety and numbers continue to grow and we’re excited to start living out some of the sustainable lifestyle farming has to offer.

#Kentucky #thejacksonshouse #livewellrockwell #sustainableliving #farming #family

Christmas tree adventure + meaning

IMG_9857_photo of father and son bringing in a fresh christmas treeSince this year, we’re living among the rugged hills of Kentucky, we decided it was appropriate to cut down a tree from the property. Kevin toted Abraham in the backpack and we set out on a hike. With carrots in our pockets, we walked the hills till we came across the horses and fed them a treat. On our way back we kept an eye out for a decent looking cedar tree (that grow in abundant clusters throughout).Geared up in goggles and ear muffs, Kevin chainsawed down just the right size tree. IMG_9867_father and son decorating the chritmas tree
We wrapped it up in a tarp with bungees, and together, we hauled the tree, Abraham and the chainsaw up the steep hill to the house (wish I had a picture of this part). We set it up and let it dry out for a day, then decorated it the following.

IMG_9869_vintage retro decor real christmas tree

After simplifying life, we have just one 30 gallon rubber-maid of Christmas decor this year. Now the tree gets decorated with a collection of vintage ornaments, started by what was passed down to Kevin from his late and dear Grandma Florence Jackson. We received the first few from her, and since, have collected a few more vintage ornaments (in their original boxes!), some given to us and others found. Decorating the tree is now more meaningful and treasured than ever!

“She’s a beaut!” ….so we wanted to share it with you!

Make it a most cherished and thankful Christmas season! Let your lights shine.
The Landrovers!
~Kevin “Jackson,” Raquel “Rock,” and Abraham “AA”

Our story, continued.

Kevin Jackson and I both grew up downstate Michigan. But after beginning our lives together there, we soon realized that our larger goals and dreams were not going to happen where we were at – so we had to make a change. We sold our first home in Howell, MI, sold a lot of our belongings in order to simplify our life, and headed West in the Land Rover, for the adventure of a lifetime.

After having our first son Abraham in Boise, Idaho where we stayed for 6 months, Our search became to find a place where we could obtain property, live as a small community to farm, where we could live a self-sufficient lifestyle, providing not just for ourselves, but a place for others in need.

So our search continued. The next step towards farming, was going to be education along with work. Jackson applied to many positions on farms across the country, but just so happened to get a Farming Internship in Leelanau County, where our trip began, at a Certified Organic Farm, Isadore. So back across the country we headed.

We first moved to Northern Michigan in a friends bunkhouse above their garage, in Glen Arbor. Next, to a lovely rental home up a hill in the woods in Maple City, where we’ve been at for over a year. We believe that the next step will take us to a larger place on some land here in Leelanau County: A place where we can find some roots, begin to start a farmstead, grow a small business, grow our life, grow some food, raise our son, and eventually help grow our community.

Dreams happen by taking action on a passion, and for Kevin, it started years ago with an unfamiliar burning in his belly. Now he is leading us to farm, raise animals and food organically, sustainably, and responsibly. We’re traveling towards unfamiliar territory, but living our life with more purpose.

Pad Thai | takeout at home


I’ve discovered a super easy dinner that is AH-mazing! This is one of our favorite go-to meals if we order Thai food out. I never realized until recently that we could make it cost-effectively at home and a no-meat option too with added protein!
My recipe Serves 2-4 depending on the appetites! Serves 2 people generously and could have seconds or left-overs.


Pad Thai Ingredients

Box of Natural Unbleached or Organic Capellini Noodles
“Brick” of Temepeh – usually found by mushrooms and lettuce in refrigerated section of produce aisle
Could substitute Tempeh for a couple Chicken Breasts for a meaty option
One medium onion, chopped
Optional but recommended veggies : Chopped Zucchini, Mushrooms, Thinly Sliced Carrots!
Olive Oil
Tamari Soy Sauce
One Bottle of Thai Peanut Sauce
Unsalted Bulk Peanuts
2 Happy Free Range Chicken Eggs


Bring a pot of water to boil (to cook the pasta.)
Use a brick of Tempeh, cut into bite sized pieces.  In a Wok or Fry Pan, Pour in some olive oil, Tamari Soy Sauce, and a couple Tablespoons or so of Peanut Sauce over medium heat.
Cook Noodles al dante, as directed on the box. A box of Capellini is great, it’s a bit smaller than spaghetti.
Cook chopped onion till opaque, and add optional one or any veggies you have on hand like: carrots sliced thinly, mushrooms, and zucchini. Add the cut pieces of Tempeh. Stir in to cover in juices. Add more soy, olive oil, or peanut sauce as needed – the Tempeh will take on the flavors of what is around it. Crack an egg or two over everything in fry pan and stir until cooked.
Pour about 1/3 of the Jar of Thai Peanut Sauce onto the noodles and mix in.
Plate up your serving of noodles and top with a generous amount of the goodies in your fry pan.
Place a handful of peanuts on top of the noodles, Tempeh and veggies, then pour another tablespoon or so of Peanut Sauce atop the plate for looks and added flavor.
Easy and delicious. Like having take out at home, but Organic and cheap.
We have it almost weekly for dinner now.
Let us know what you think!