We are a family of 5 from Rural Slinger, WI. Slinger is about 30 minutes northwest of Milwaukee. Liz went to school in Burbank, CA for Fashion Design and Jesse went to school in Milwaukee for Graphic Design. We lived in Milwaukee and then got married in 2007. One week after the big day we moved out to Slinger where we had dreams of kids, animals and building a home. We bought this 12 acre tree farm with Liz’s parents and we started building what we thought would be our temporary apartment in the Barn on our part of the property. Little did we know we literally would be building our home with our own hands and we still haven’t killed each other yet!
Our house began as a temporary apartment that we were going to live in until we had money and time to build a dream home. I’m not sure where we had the idea that we could completely take a bare bones barn and turn it into a liveable space but that is exactly what we’ve been doing. We do remember encouraging words from Liz’s parents telling us of course it’s possible. I’m not sure if they really believed we could pull it all together, but they gave us the confidence to try. We’ve lived with no bathroom, drywall dust and open holes in our walls for future windows or doors. There were many moments where we couldn’t go on and thought it would never be finished. When our first Son Stone was 6 months old he was starting to crawl and there was drywall dust and nails and insulation everywhere. It is funny seeing our second son Crosby crawling all over the place and thinking how when Stone was that old the only safe/clean thing he had to learn to crawl and roll on was an orange rug in our makeshift living room. He would roll or crawl to one side and we would have to put him back in the middle.
Our first summer we were living here we made the big jump to turning the old tree farm into a sustainable farm by getting 3 chickens. We literally have zero farm experience so there were many nights of watching Youtube videos and discussing what to do next. Our 3 chickens soon turned into 15 and now on average we have about 60 laying hens. We now have pigs each summer and Liz has taken on the endeavor of raising Nigerian Dwarf and Kinder goats so we can give our kids fresh antibiotic free goats milk every day. Our plans to try and live sustainably and raise and grow all our own food is happening one day at a time. We can all our vegetables from our large organic garden, we compost, raise bees for honey and raise and butcher our own chickens and turkeys each year.
We have no clue what is next for us but for now our dream is to be able to raise and eat sustainably and learn many more things.
Liz, Jesse, Stone, Crosby & Ruthie Maule