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CLICK TO ENLARGE I was born and raised on a farm in northern Illinois. I moved to a small town when I was 27, then on to Chicago, where I lived for nearly ten years. In 1993, I moved to northern Indiana, which abounds in lovely farmland at prices that seemed very reasonable to me, at least compared to the price of "black gold" farmland in Illinois. So I bought an 82 acre farm between Indianapolis and Chicago.


My mother, Charlette Siemers, who passed shortly before her 94th birthday, is still my inspiration. She always encouraged me to follow my dreams, even when she disagreed with them. When I told her I had bought a farm, she was appalled. "What are you thinking? You will get wrinkled like a prune sitting on a tractor seat! It is hard work! Why don't you just enjoy your retirement? Travel!"


"Mom," I said, "you still tend tub gardens from a lawn chair. I guess the acorn don't fall far from the tree!" She didn't have any smart answers for that.


There was no house on this piece of land, so I constructed my dream house - a passive solar house situated on the back of the property. It has a large atrium on the south side, bermed into a small hill. This is the solar collector, supplemented by a couple of wood-burning stoves. The north side of the house has a couple of decks that look out over the wetlands and Crone Creek, which runs across my land.


I got interested in biodynamic organic farming a few years ago. My farm is now certified organic by the USDA, and we apply the biodynamic preps each spring and fall. Using the preps has encouraged a tremendous growth in the earthworm population. I am using the biodynamic preps because it provides the best quality and tastiest organic fruit and vegetables that you will ever eat! It also improves the pastures for the dairy cows.


If I had $10 for every time someone has said something negative about my choice to move out here, I wouldn't have a mortgage. "Are you crazy?" "It's so far away from town." "What about clearing snow out of your drive?" "It's going to be lonesome." "It's a lot of work." "You're definitely crazy."


In September of 2014, I sold my beloved farm. I'm now a city dweller again, living on the St. Joe River. It's as good as I could get in town, and I do love it.