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

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

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”

long haul to Boise

It is pretty desolate from Crater Lake, Oregon to Boise, ID. There are really only two major routes east and west through Oregon – the northern route or the southern route. Since we’re in a Land Rover, why not take the unbeaten path? On Forestry roads we went, roads that are too small for even a map, or an App! Gas up baby, cause you won’t see many cars, let alone towns or even gas stations till you hit the eastern side of the state.

Babe, can you look where the next town on the map might be? I’ve got to pee. While we pass, we might as well top off the gas.

Well, here’s one: Christmas Valley. Maybe we’ll see some good scenery! Christmas in a Valley. There must be mountains surrounding it. Just kidding. There’s nothing there. Open desolate farm land, houses and trailers planted in the middle of nothing. How do they even get water out here? A convenient store (no gas station), a post office, and a four way stop, with streets named Vixen St. and Snowman Rd. This is weird. Its a dessert. There’s nothing Christmas about it.

Read how an agressive salesman promoted Christmas Valley to retirees from California, falsely advertising it’s appeal.

Next, we played a car game as the sun set behind the dry and flat horizon, betting length of time until we would see another car on the road. It got dark and we continued our quiet and desolate haul until reaching a town in eastern Oregon before making the final haul into Boise, ID.

Skyler loves riding in the Rover with her head out the window, but this haul seemed to be taking a toll on her. There were more shoelace strings of saliva streaking the window than usual and she was a bit anxious, whimpering little cries every now and again. I chalked it off as too much water before she got into the vehicle. At the next pit stop she threw up her bowl of food on her bed in the back. We figured she had just had enough, or maybe the elevation played into it, or she injusted some bad water.

On this cold and frosty night, we finally arrived at the rental in the North-end of Boise, with a house key and some logs for the fireplace waiting for us – as the gas and hot water was not turned on yet. We set up the air mattress and sleeping bags in the middle of the living room and emptied out what we needed from the Rover. That night, we barely slept. Skyler was pacing, crying, dry-heaving, and trying to lay down but with discomfort. At one point in the wee hours of the morning, I laid on a cold blanket in the frosty grass next to Skyler while she cried and I had this flash of the scene from “Marley and Me” when Marley roamed to the base of the tree by himself to peacefully go to sleep. I cried and then as soon as we could, called a Vet we didn’t know anything about and got Skyler in first thing.

After taking a look, he said we had 3 minutes to make a decision. Either put her down, do nothing, or give him the okay to go in and do emergency surgery, with a 50/50 success rate. “There’s no way to tell if it’s too late or not for her”, he said. Her stomach had likely flipped. He described it like a baloon. The blown up balloon is the stomach, and the end had twisted, causing nothing to be able to go in or out of it, causing great pain and slowly getting larger in size. When they went in, her stomach

was purple, like a finger that had been tied off, with no blood flow. There was a chance that the organ was already dying and would not recover even after flipping the stomach and attaching it to her side to keep it from flipping again.

God provided again. He took us to a vet in town that was willing to come in before business hours, perform emergency surgery and charge us the cheapest rate in the Valley. Not only that, but after a few days of recovery, Skyler was given a clean and miraculous bill of health. The Vet said he did one of these surgery’s on a German Shepherd just last year and the dog didn’t make it. Our St Bernard’s life is a true blessing.