Kentuckians, even if they have never lived on a farm, are well aware that a farmer’s work is never done. Despite the hard labor and uncertainties that surround such a life, farm families seldom would trade it for the proximities and conveniences of city dwelling.
Burlington author, farmer and Owen Electric consumer-member Michaela Adam turned a farm dream into reality when she and her significant other, Mathieu, purchased a small parcel of farmland four years ago. What began as a “what if” conversation partnered with some casual viewings of properties for sale gradually grew into the life of her dreams. She shares the process in her book, Willow Run Stables.
At the time of the initial discussions, Michaela explains, “Mathieu and I were most definitely not in the real estate market. We had only been dating a short time, and the permanence brought by land ownership felt premature.” When the first few properties viewed failed to meet Michaela’s requirements, she felt deflated. Temporarily distracted with a health emergency involving their dog, Willow, the couple sidelined their plans.
The distraction, along with a good dose of patience, paid off. The pair had admired a 5-acre parcel but felt it would have inadequate pasture after constructing a house. The adjacent property, owned by the airport, was vacant but not for sale. The risk of airport development so close was unappealing, so they crossed that property off the list. However, the airport later decided to sell the land, and Michaela and Mathieu took the plunge, buying both properties and naming the farm Willow Run Stables.
When Mathieu proposed, and Michaela accepted, they decided to marry promptly, holding the event at the farm. Michaela rode down the aisle on her favorite horse, led by her father. As she stood by Mathieu, Willow occupied the ground between them, barking her approval.
In the years since, the work has never stopped, with the couple acquiring, clearing and fencing more land parcels, one of which held an existing home. They improved the land and renovated the home themselves, investing many hours of sweat equity into building their dream life.
To that point, Michaela reasons, “We are lost when there is no work to do; there is pleasure that comes from actively pursuing our goals. When there is no target, we have no direction. Willow Run Stables is alive, and it grows and transforms, and it changes us.”
Michaela Adam, and husband Mathieu, a French jockey, hope their story embodies the possibility “of entering the world of farming without a family history in the industry, nor a 100-acre property and thousands of dollars to invest in equipment.” The couple also illustrates proper care and management of the land with their cleanup and salvage efforts.
Michaela has added ducks, chickens, an apiary and a fruit orchard to the farm’s production. Connect with Willow Run Stables on Facebook.
Willow Run Stables, $15.99, can be ordered from your local bookseller or Amazon.