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Michael & Patricia

In 1973 Michael was looking for a place to live, something like an old farmhouse on a few acres, when he happened upon a forty acre timber. It is a testament to the powerful importance of trees in his life that within a week, he was the new owner. While starting a house that year, he met Patricia. They were married in 1974 while building the house, and they began planting trees and studying sustainable forestry immediately.

Their lives have many deep roots in the natural world. Michael is a fine art landscape photographer (www.michaeljohnsonphotography.com) and Patricia writes about their family and their gardens. They grow vegetables and flowers, and they manage an heirloom apple orchard and a 

70 acre timber, which is really just gardening on a different scale. They kept bees for 17 years.

The sawmill business is an extension of caring for the timber, like canning vegetables or producing cider from apples. It provides them an opportunity for constant research, education, and physical work. Michael works in the forest, runs the mill, and manages the equipment. Patricia runs the “board room,” works with the customers, and manages the office.


Roxy, The Walnut Expert

Roxy joined our team about a year ago as a rescue from Safe Haven in Elizabeth, Illinois. Her two previous adopters returned her immediately for being too energetic. That’s not a problem here, for she has sixty acres to roam and a pond to swim in. She may howl at you when you arrive, but don’t worry – it’s just her way of greeting. Sometimes she thinks she is a mountain goat.