Chasing after a dream. Living for simplicity.
Valuing family. Creating a natural order.
Chasing after a dream. Living for simplicity.
Sarah and her husband Christopher and their two boys loved living in their vibrant Minneapolis neighborhood. They were a traditional American family going to work and school and participating in activities. But it wasn’t enough. Or truthfully, maybe it was too much.
Chris worked out in Menomonie and made the hour long commute every day to teach. Family time was limited, schedules were packed, and the Freeman clan felt far from the family structure and lifestyle they had dreamed about.
Talking with Sarah, she admitted to wanting to live outside of the city but it always felt like a dream, a lofty dream that followed the idea of, “Someday in the future, wouldn’t it be wonderful if . . . .” The hobby farm was always, at the very least, years down the road of reality. However, in a quick turn of events, a small five acre wooded hobby farm became available in the town where Chris teaches, and before they could second guess themselves, they bought it.
That was almost two years ago, and they haven’t regretted a moment of it. The Freeman family saw patterns in their life that they weren’t happy with, and they made a decision to improve upon them for the quality of their life together. When you talk with Sarah, you see her face light up as she talks about how much stress has been eliminated from the move out to the country. She made sure to tell me that everyday stresses still exist, but letting go of the energy and expectations of the city has freed them and settled their hearts.
They are no longer busy running to and from activities. Her boys help with chores around the farm. She has created her own job by starting the general store. She loves being home and working the land, creating and fostering life out of the land for which they uprooted themselves. She loves and craves its simplicity. In her beautiful honesty, she revealed that the transition was harder on her oldest son with school and friends. He, however, has grown to like the change and has recently found his footing with new friends. Sarah and her family have been rewarded with a richer and deeper life experience with their intentional move out to the farm.
Living on the farm has given time back to this family. Sarah gave up her job as a sought-after florist here in the Cities to embark on this homesteading venture ~ a venture that prioritizes family, time, and local and homegrown food. They have a stronger vision for living off the land. They tap the maple trees on the property, harvest apples, raise chickens, and are working on a hopps arbor for next year.
They incorporate natural elements into their home’s design. Instead of curtain rods, sticks from the property are used. Wild flowers and greenery fill vases throughout the home. All kitchen tools double as decor in her beautifully crafted kitchen. When I asked her about how she creates the space in her home, Sarah replied that she simply wants to be surrounded by beautiful things. She scours thrift stores and second hand shops to find treasures that are forgotten, treasures that can find new life in her home.
Sarah has admitted to looking at simple and clean magazines and wrestling a little with the simplicity of their space, vs. the overly colorful and sometimes over-the-top style. Being in her home, though, doesn’t cause stress as you first might think. It inspires beauty that you want to chase after even in your own life.
Going back outside, you see that Sarah has transformed her barn not only into a General Store, but also a gathering space with a full bar and working wood stove. She opens her shop on weekends where she sells hand crafted gifts and home grown canned goodies. She has moved beyond canning basics and now also includes bath salts, lip balm, sunscreen, lotion, toys, and jewelry. With her research on such products, you can be guaranteed that they are all natural and high quality. Her products make perfect stocking stuffers or all-year-round tokens of love.
The Freemans have found a way to make their dream a reality. When Gatherhaus went to interview Sarah, we arrived at a picnic laid out for us, situated right next to her garden where the chickens roamed freely at our feet. The apples at the table were fresh picked from a neighbor’s tree, the cheese came from a local co-op and served with homemade salsa using items from her garden. The plates we ate on were from Sarah’s childhood, and the story around them inspired some great conversation about parenting and travel. This is how Sarah creates. She takes bits and pieces from every corner of her life and combines them beautifully.
She has crafted an inviting, open, and creative home, one that leaves you feeling warm and inspired. Sarah is so lovely to visit with, and you are drawn into the world she has created. When you leave, you realize you are taking treasures of insight and beauty with you.
This family desired simple living, and found a way to make it happen. I admire that kind of thoughtfulness and bravery and dedication. It was so inspiring to listen to Sarah retell her story. I encourage you to “like” The Freeman General Store on FB (https://www.facebook.com/freemangeneralstore ) so you can stay updated on shop hours. Meeting Sarah has been a highlight of my time at Gatherhaus, and her maple syrup and jam has been some of the best I have ever tasted.
Gatherhaus is the enchanting reality of bringing these rare and beautiful pieces together.
People, places, art, and food that inspire us and make us chase after
dreams of deep, rich community and fulfillment.