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Are you interested in HOMESTEADING LIFESTYLE?  Then you might find one of these Homestead.org articles handy:

Homesteading vs. Smallholding: Observations from Both Sides of the Pond by Katy Runacres

Homesteading Failures by Magdalena Perks

Learning Curves on Rural Roads by Diana Boeke

Adam vs. the Post Pounder by Sue Dick

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - Country Neighbors: a Mixed Bag by Sue Dick

Beat the Vacuum Tyranny by Magdalena Perks

Homesteader vs. Survivalist by Sheri Dixon

A Country Girl's Best Friends (Vinegar & Baking Soda) by Adrianne Masters

Redefining Neighborhoods Back on the Land by Barbara Bamberger Scott

Fergus the Red by Sue Dick

Waste Not, Want Not by Adrianne Masters

Gimme Shelter (And I’d Like it to Look Like…a House, Please) by Sheri Dixon

Homestead Prepping: Buying a B.O.L. by Doug Smith

Homesteading for Retirement by Brenda Curkendall

 

 

 

Lilac Moon

Homesteading in Northern Minnesota

by Sheri Dixon

A good while back I read a book, whose author, and even title, evade me now, but one segment of the narrative has stuck with me.  It was a telling of how a particular area had been settled.  Prospective farmers would be issued a deed to a piece of land, they would timber it, plow it, plant it, harvest it, and repeat, 'till it was used up. Then they would move on to the next piece.  It was a badge of honor to say "I’ve wore out (X number) of farms."  The signature of the hand of Man on the land is generally an ugly one.

But there is a place.

A place where the goal has not been domination, but co-existence with the land—and both the land and its residents of all species have flourished.

Come with me to Lilac Moon in northern Minnesota.

Now normally, when you think of a homestead that is powered by the sun, regulated by thermal mass and as lush a piece of Eden as can be imagined by the mortal mind, the first hundred or so geographical choices do NOT include Northern Minnesota.

And yet, here it is.

Exiting the Interstate highway, for the four lane, through mid-sized towns, thence to the two lane that wanders through smaller hamlets, and onto the gravel road into the bosom of the state forestlands... it’s very easy to drive right past the unassuming gate marked with the tiny lovely sign “Lilac Moon”.

Winding down the soft drive lined with generations of leaves and pine needles is the closest a motor vehicle will ever come to "padding on little cat feet".  At the end of the drive, once the engine is turned off, the silence is deafening.

Here in the middle of this forest is a clearing that looks not so much "cleared", as "gently borrowed".  A vegetable garden naturally fenced and gated, produces wildly and with abandon, punctuated with riots of flowers.  An elderly apple tree shelters a solar shower, sink and soap.  Next to the garden is a well placed hammock with a view of both the garden and the forest which lies just beyond a wide edging of native flowers.  A fire pit ringed with stones awaits cooking duty, followed by being the focus of good company and, perhaps, good music.

 

The caretakers and human residents (I balk at the use of the word owners) of Lilac Moon are Bruce and Cheryl, who have been here since the early ‘80’s.  It’s apparent in the many touches and forms here that this place has not so much been built, as has evolved.

This in itself is genius, and worthy of extreme merit.

Let me momentarily digress...

Most of us, when planning our homesteads, especially our residences, are wont to think, "I need X,XXX square feet of living space, because SOMETIMES we have people over for shindigs, and SOMETIMES I have to do canning, and SOMETIMES we have overnight guests."  Here’s the genius part.  Bruce and Cheryl have several DIFFERENT structures, all within sight of each other, all built completely differently and all with a different purpose.  Therefore, the only living space that they need to employ at any given moment is what they are actually using at the time. 

Genius! 

Back to Lilac Moon... 

Let’s start with the main house.  Where your average residence perches atop the ground like a boil on a giant bum, this home is part of the land itself.  Banks of windows, facing the sun, peek out from under a roof of earth, shaded by lushly meandering squash vines.  The exposed stucco surface is shielded by mounds of blooming plants, beckoning towards the interior.  Remember how cozy that blanket tent under the kitchen table was when we were little?  Same feeling. 

One of the main arguments against earth-sheltered homes is the assumption that there must be a cave-like feel to them. With the warm wooden beams and paneling, all harvested from this very piece of land forming the ceiling and walls, and the sun streaming in the windows, the word "claustrophobic" does not even enter your mind.

  Continued on page 2   >

 

 

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