Recognition Award Winner
Year of Award: 2004
Original Use: Cattle, Dairy
Current Use: Hay, Other
Ralph's grandfather bought this picturesque farm in 1937 after moving to northern Michigan from Chicago. The property consisted of eighty acres, a small log barn, an 1874 farmhouse and a blacksmith shop. His plan for the farm included building a dairy barn. He skidded fresh cut logs during the winters of 1944 and 1945 to a nearby sawmill and worked there for pay in lumber. The finished barn measured ninety-five feet long and forty-six feet wide, rising to thirty-eight feet at its peak.
In 2000, Ralph and Tammy and their two young daughters wanted to restore the barns which had suffered over the years due to leaky roofs and heavy snow. With hammers and nails, fresh lumber and paint, the barns are now displaying, storing and selling farm products to local customers. The entire project was done for $6,705, much less than the $85,000 estimate received on a comparable metal building.
It was word of mouth that transformed the former dairy farm into a viable business of farm fresh fall assortments; pumpkins, gourds, squash, ornamental corn, etc. There had always been a garden on the property and when the dairy stopped operation twenty years ago the garden grew into a business now eight years old.