Have a passion for animals and plants? Wondering if local and sustainable
agriculture might be an ideal lifestyle for you? Looking to stay active and be outdoors this
summer? Want to build skills in the
farm-to-table movement? If these ideas
appeal to you, then a summer internship at North Star Homestead Farms, LLC
might be an exciting opportunity for you.
Tucked in the boundaries of the Chequamegon National Forest
in northern Wisconsin,
North Star Homestead Farms is a model representative of small-scale, intensive,
sustainable, humane, and wholesome agricultural practices. Our pursuits include pasture raised poultry,
sheep, and hogs, as well as a large market garden for CSA and Farmer’s Markets,
honeybees, fruit production, herbs, aquaponics tilapia and produce, and a
fully-licensed Farmstead Creamery & Café (which includes food processing,
bakery, grocery, and dairy plant). Because
this is the Café’s second season, we have an internship position available this
summer for an enterprising person who wants to focus on food preparation and
customer relation skills related to local, sustainable foods, as well as our
Our focus is on building
community, connecting people with the land, maintaining transparency, and giving
great service. Owned and operated by
three enterprising women, North Star Homestead Farms, LLC offers a constructive
environment for personal growth, learning, teamwork, and humor in the everyday
rigor of farm living.
2013 is going to be a busy season
at the farm, and we are in search of eager hands and positive attitudes to help
make this season successful. While
previous farm or garden experience isn’t necessary, we’d love to hear your
story and why you may be interested in being a part of our farm’s
enterprise. We are looking for interns
who are available for four months (approx. mid May through mid September),
though we are flexible for extenuating circumstances, such as beginning or
ending college semesters. Due to
changing labor laws, applicants must be 18 years of age or older. A modest stipend is available to interns, but
the real value you will receive from this experience is
learning-by-doing—building real knowledge and skills in this exciting food and
Accommodating rooms are available
in our renovated farm house, and most meals will be shared with the Berlage women. Wi-Fi is available on the farm campus, as
well as unlimited long distance phone service (within reason, of course). Our goal is to help you have a fully
integrated experience of homestead living.
In return, we expect our interns to work eagerly alongside us, to listen
to our council and advice, and to practice responsibility and self motivation. Small scale, localized food production offers
an environment to gain personal skills that can serve you in any field,
including problem solving, public interface, teamwork, leadership, work ethic,
and meaningful goals.
We hope that the opportunities
available to summer interns at North Star Homestead Farms, LLC are exciting for
you, and we would love to talk with you further and introduce you to life on
the farm. Please contact us at the above
information to receive an internship application, and we are of course happy to
take any questions you may have.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Laura, Kara, and Ann Berlage, North
and Ann Berlage
11117N Fullington Rd.
Hayward, WI 54843
Posted by Ann, Laura, and Kara
@ 01:03 PM CST
On these blustery cold days and shivery cold nights,
sometimes we can feel a bit cooped up in our homes, huddling by the wood stove
with a dog or two close at hand for added warmth. Chores begin by encasing oneself with copious
amounts of wooly or downy armor against the frigid winds—leaving only one’s
peering eyes with frost-edged lashes open to the elements. Even the chickens huddle as puffed-up balls
in the coops, their taloned toes firmly tucked inside their down.
Winter can create its own sense of isolation, as if
everything outside stops, hunkers down, and waits for the warmth of springtime
to reawaken. I think the “settling in”
of winter happens to everyone up here in the Northland, burst open at times by
the overwhelming sense of “cabin fever” needing release.
Things have been quiet on the farm and at Farmstead Creamery
& Café as well. This allows the
luxury of leisurely chats with the brave clients who do venture forth amidst
the ice or wind. Except, that is, for
the days when cabin fever reigns and the Creamery is unexpectedly packed by
community member who simply cannot stay inside any longer.
Back in the day, cabin fever was tempered by the knowledge
that winter was the time for “visiting.”
Farm families would finish up the morning chores, hitch the team to a
sleigh, and go off to spend the day with neighbors—share a hearty meal, play
games, tell stories, or bring over a favorite portable instrument and dance
Grab your fiddle and
grab your bow
Circle round and
First to the right and
then to the left
Then to the one that
you love best.
Get outa the way for
old Dan Tucker
He’s too late to get
Supper’s over and
dinner is a cookin’
Old Dan Tucker just
a-stands there lookin’.
Having something to do together was helpful as well—maple
sugaring in the early spring, splitting wood in late autumn, quilting bees in
between. And even if a particular
project wasn’t apparent, bringing over a fresh pie or needing to borrow a cup
of sugar could make an excellent excuse for spending the rest of the afternoon
in good company.
Today, as I drive home from an evening event, I can’t help
but notice that the glowing rectangle of wide-screen TVs appears to be the
company we keep in wintertime. No wonder
cabin fever abounds! Turn off that
chatterbox and get neighborly again.
Here are a few practical ideas to get you started.
Invite a friend on a snowshoe hike in the woods (or other
quiet recreational activity). Few people
like going out alone in the winter, but with a friend there’s plenty of
thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams to share as you enjoy the outdoors
Find a way to swap work.
Everyone has a project they’ve been meaning to get to but it just works
better with a helper or two. Whether
this is painting a room, finishing a quilt, cleaning out the garage, or hanging
new curtains, offer to help a neighbor with a project if they’ll help you with
one as well. You’ll both be active, have
company, and feel good about making progress on the “to do” list.
Offer to help an elderly neighbor. Winter is tough for everyone, but it’s
hardest for our elders. If you can, lend
a hand with shoveling walkways, pick up a few extra things for them in town, or
just stop by to give them company. If
you are an elder, invite folks over for a hot drink and “a little something”
while they help make the winter a little easier for you. Remind folks that it’s good to have a break
from the normal business of their lives.
And, of course, there is the tried-and-true method of
stopping by with a freshly baked homemade pie.
In farm country, you can’t hope to go visiting without either bringing or
receiving something to eat (if not both).
Sharing nourishment is part of sharing the camaraderie and trust that is
part of neighborliness.
Not convinced? Well,
you’re certainly welcome to improvise your own methods for breaking cabin fever
with the folks who live near you. Throw
a party, host a house concert, pick a day each week to meet at the kitchen
table with tea and a deck of cards—whatever appeals to you as good,
old-fashioned fun together. If you find
yourself wondering who some of your neighbors are, winter might be an opportune
time to find out. Remember, hot pies or cookies
with a smile open doors.
Sometimes we get to know our neighbors by accident. Recently, friends of ours whom live down the
road a bit were heading in to town for a live performance. There were four tickets but three attendants
(the fourth was ill), so they called us up to see if we’d like to come
along. On the dark and wintry ride into
town, they recollected their first adventure on the farm.
“We like driving down the back roads. We knew this had a “dead end” sign on it, but
we thought, why not? So here we were on
this gravel road, and we meet this tall, elderly gentleman walking a little white
dog. We waved and he waved and we kept
“When we got to the corner, we could see that the road ended
in a farm and didn’t go any farther, so we turned around and came back. But along the way, we met your Grandpa with
the little white dog again. We
apologized for bothering their place, but he said, “Oh no, not at all, come on
down and see my farm.” So we turned
around again and learned more about what was going on back here—we had no
idea. Who knew there were folks still
farming out here?”
So turn off the TV, kick up your heels, and shake off those
winter-time blues with folks who are just as shut inside with this cold and
wind as you. Maybe you don’t know them
yet, and maybe you do, but being neighborly certainly doesn’t hurt one’s
spirits during the dark time of year. We
can each create greater cheer together as we muster on until the warming days
of spring. See you down on the farm
Laura Berlage is a co-owner
of North Star Homestead Farms, LLC and Farmstead Creamery & Café. northstarhomestead.com
Posted by Ann, Laura, and Kara
@ 11:12 AM CST