In the beginning farms across America provided us with food and fashion. Today they also provide us with alternative energy sources, skin care products, candles, furniture, woven baskets and other home decorations. Farms are undeniably the most critical and important industry in the United States.
During the last decade farm owners and operators started opening their farms to visitors. They are giving those of us who have never experienced country living a glimpse into a self-sustaining lifestyle. They also provide a venue for artistic workshops, entertainers, a place for children to get to know the animals, and a place to just get out of the city and spend a few hours in the peaceful atmosphere of the country.
This weekend I had the opportunity to visit a very unique farm which was on the 2016 Sheep and Fiber Farm Tour. What makes Windswept Hill Farm so unique is that much of it was built in De Stijl, which means “the style” in Dutch. De Stijl became popular in the 1920s and 1930s and was made famous by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. The style was an abstract using basic geometric forms and primary colors. It’s interesting that this style became most noticeable in architecture. The other feature that makes this farm so unique is that most of it was built with re-purposed materials.
The first thing you notice when arriving at the farm is “The Little Free Library”. We have all seen the little library houses as we drive through neighborhoods in the city, but this one is different. The Wustenbergs thought of everything. There is a bench for you to rest a bit, and if you have your dog with you there is water for your companion. The little library is an old ice box with geometric formed doors and painted in primary colors.
Continue up the long driveway and all of a sudden you are drawn to a burst of color which is, in my opinion, a true example of Piet Mondrian’s vision of art.
“The emotion of beauty is always obscured by the appearance of the object. Therefore, the object must be eliminated from the picture.” Piet Mondrian
In front of us was the most wonderful structure that made the field come alive. The object, the sheep barn, was lost in its color and “emotion of beauty”.
Wendy Wustenberg designed the MondriBarn and it is built with re-purposed building materials and cast-off steel siding, and, of course, it has been painted primarily in primary colors.
Wendy and Bill Wustenberg have spent years building a farm that is practical and sustainable and implements environmentally friendly practices. How does a family decide to build such a farm. Wendy explains it here:
“Our daughter Lauren (BA Environmental Science-Northwestern) is the conscience that prompted us to spend a decade remodeling the farm with re-purposed materials, best practices in energy efficiency, and a constant eye toward conservation practices with the animals and land. We have forested the 12 acres over the past 25 years, adopted pasture rotation, barter hay for beef with a neighbor to keep our pastures clipped, and practice “eat local” almost all year with free-range chickens, a small orchard, and raised-bed vegetable garden.”
Here are the sheep who are privileged to live in that amazing barn.
THE ICONIC HARMON KILLEBREW (DECEASED)
“Harmon Killebrew – The beloved English Leicester who had extraordinary crimp in his fleece. That close-up is of a raw fleece showing the “zipper” of the long wool fibers that are characteristic of this breed. It locks together very well for handcrafts.”
Skeins of Wool bear the name of the Sheep the wool came from.
One of the handicraft projects that took place at the farm was making angels out of fleece. The fleece was dyed breast cancer pink and participants made angels to give to survivors or to keep in memory of a loved one.
This house, located on the farm property, obviously has inspirational vibes that inspire the Wustenberg family – Wendy, Bill, daughter Lauren and son Russell are all spirited, creative, free-thinking, talented people.
Here is just a glimpse of what you will see as you stroll around Windswept Hill Farm….
So here you have sustainable, practical, beautiful farm, and there is one more thing you need to know about this farm — it is magical. If you look real close among the flowers, shrubs, or maybe on the back of a horse or sheep you just might see a fairy.
Stay in touch with Windswept Hill Farm by liking them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWustenbergs/?fref=ts
TO FIND FARM TOURS IN YOUR REGION GOOGLE: FARM TOURS
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