New York City to , Texas
Driving on country roads through snow covered rolling hills in Waldoboro, Maine to get to Craig and Julie Letowski’s homestead, feels like you are driving through a holiday card from the 1950s. Passing historic barns and homes with candles aglow in each window; a bright blue mailbox with white letters reading Homesweet Homestead is the only driveway marker. It was a rough wintery Saturday in January and school had been canceled the entire week. Julie and Craig’s four-year-old son Gus was running wild after too many days trapped inside and they industriously fashioned him a rope swing from their staircase to help alleviate some of his bent-up energy. Julie and Craig’s home is a bright and creative place filled, flooded with golden light, even in the dead of winter. The previous owner had remodeled the home when his wife was diagnosed with seasonal depression and that warm and inspiring light is what sold them on the house when they toured the property in the winter of 2012. Julie and Craig left Boston to build a sustainable life for themselves and their son. It was a huge leap of faith because they literally knew nothing about farming or carrying for livestock, other than what they had read in books and off the Internet. They enthusiastically jumped in, using their minivan as their farm vehicle – hauling compost and chicken coops around their property with it. They bought a cow, planted their first garden, participated in their farmers market and, with the help of their neighbors, have been streamlining their processes and continuing to learn as they go. In just three years in they have transformed their small 10-acre-farm into an operation that provides a majority of their food. They have two dairy cows, rabbits, pigs, chickens, ducks, barn cats and an enormous vegetable garden each year. They make their own dairy products and learned to butcher their own pigs watching YouTube tutorials. Craig works full-time off the farm but spends every minute he is not at work, tending to the never-ending laundry list of tasks. Julie runs their new home business North Country Folkware, a creative collaboration combining Craig’s incredible pottery with Julie’s antler/ceramic buttons and fiber creations. They hope their business eventually allows them the freedom to stay on-farm full time so they can continue building towards their dream of a sustainable, functional farm, filled with a menagerie of animals and the laughter of their growing family. (Click here to jump to their interview)
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