Megan and Adam have created Spirit Level Farmstead to provide healthy food and an opportunity for a rejuvenating stay on our 10 acres in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Sharing our homestead allows us to work from our land and serves as a model of what a sustainable permaculture farm can be.
About our name: A spirit level is another term for a level used in carpentry. A little nod to our construction friends, but also just a nice pairing of words -a tongue-in-cheek way to describe our land (comprised of very un-level forested rolling hills) and a real description of our world view. The challenge of farming often calls for a certain levelness of spirit!
Our house, no lie, used to be a grain bin.
It's a basic little log cabin containing the requisite box elder and lady bugs that come with old homes in this neck of the woods. To approach, take the driveway that winds down a steep hill that levels out by the blue garage. The path to the house is up hill from there, and in summer before you see the cabin, you see the enthusiastic grapes that cover the front porch, hummingbirds zinging in and out of the vines. In winter, you wear "yaktrax" or other spiky shoe fittings to walk up. Inside there is one room and a loft. The kitchen and bathroom were added on, taking this structure from storage unit to dwelling.
This is what the typewritten note that gets passed owner to owner has to say about the cabin:
A BOHEMIAN-STYLE HAND-HEWN LOG CABIN
This cedar log cabin was originally constructed in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin in the 1880's. It was built to serve as a granary and sat across the barnyard from the large log barn and farm home on a parcel of land 1/2 mile north of County BB on Highway 163 near Tisch Mills.
One hundred years later the cabin was purchased by Alan Pope, who at the time worked at Old World Wisconsin. He scoured the state looking for well preserved examples of various styles of log cabins for restoration at Old World Wisconsin. He was familiar with how surviving cabins had been maintained and altered over the years--often being covered with clapboard siding.
This cabin had been sided with clapboard. The 18 by 20 foot structure was built on blocks about 1 foot off the ground and had a covered hay storage area on the left side.
We [the first owners, not known to us] purchased the cabin from Mr. Pope in 1982 and employed Ralph Lottig, a former colleague of Mr. Pope's, to assist us in marking the logs, disassembling the structure, transporting it to Ridgeway, and reassembling it on our foundation. Mr. Lottig completed his work in the winter of 1983.
So as you can see, we and this house both traveled a long way to be here and these unique circumstances are not lost on us. We count ourselves lucky to be able to operate out of a home base with so much personality and history.
My Alaskan Odyssey, a travel and adventure blog wrote a post about us here.