Brooklynn Roszak of Four T Acres

Electric yellow corncobs and the burnt orange woolen coats of Highland cattle pierce the blankets of blinding white snow in Burlington, Wisconsin. At a distance, with a sturdy fence between, this Scottish breed can give an impression of ferocity. Their wavy locks frozen into icicles, dangle like a spiked breastplate. Steam billows audibly from their nostrils. Their horns reach up tot he sky in a power stance that could quite literally knock you off your feet.

However, the closer you get to one of these long-haired beauties, the more you realize how flawed first impressions can be. Yes, these mighty beasts are huge—weighing up to 1,800 pounds—but they are surprisingly docile and good tempered. If they see you coming, they’ll slowly head your direction, hoping for a good brushing session. Highland cattle are well suited to cold temperatures, luckily enough for the four legged inhabitants of Four T Acres who often find themselves in winter flurries. And those terrifying horns are tools to dig for plants to eat beneath snow’s surface.

In a stark contrast to the large mammals slowly plodding across the pastures, you’ll find sixteen year old, Brooklynn Roszak, briskly making her way along the snowy slopes of her grandparents’ farm. She feels a bit less at home in the low temperatures than her shaggy companions, but that won’t keep her indoors for long.

The property has been in Brooklyn’s family for generations. But there was a time when it fell dormant. That is until 2003, when Rich and Jean Gruenert introduced 3 registered purebred Scottish Highland cows and 6 calves to the land. The entire family felt immediately connected to the gentle giants, eventually increasing their numbers into a herd. Those once intimidating nostrils, breathed new life into Four T Acres.

Brooklyn, like the rest of her family, has a deep affection for Highland cows. She is part of the Junior Association, supported by the NCHCA (North Central Highland Cattle Association). Each year, she participates in 2 to 3 cattle shows and has won many awards along the way. As a junior in high school, Brooklyn participates in a lot of activities. Some of her favorites are trap shooting on her school’s team and hunting with her dad. She even holds down a job on top of it all.

Life on the farm has brought Brooklnn closer to her family, instilled a great appreciation for detail and thoroughness, broadened her sense of community, and allowed her to meet new people as she travels to cattle competitions in new places.

Four T Farms / Crafted in CarharttFour T Farms / Crafted in Carhartt

Jean Gruenert, pictured above, is Brooklynn’s grandmother. The farm was originally her grandfather’s, passed down to her father, and it now belongs to her. Jean loves when folks visit the farm. There’s a lot to learn about Scottish Highland cattle, and she’s anxious to share. The Gruenerts host school field trips, allowing young people an opportunity to learn about farming first hand while getting closer to their food source.

Four T Acres has participated in several studies, gathering information on various beefs. Time and time again, the results have proven that the meat from Highland cattle is superior to Angus on scales of tenderness and flavor.

Four T Farms / Crafted in Carhartt

“The Highland breeds are the coolest breed of cattle you will ever meet and by far the most interesting. When it comes to iconic domestic animals, the Highland cow is instantly recognizable across the globe. With their fluffy coats and long horns, they are an important part of Scotland’s culture. These cows are perfect in many ways. They adapt to harsh conditions, they’re the oldest registered beef breed of cattle in the world, and they have an outstanding beef quality so their meat tastes delicious and is also very healthy.” -Brooklynn Roszak

Four T Farms / Crafted in Carhartt

“I love being able to grab one of the combs and walk into the pasture and go spend some time with the animals. Having them walk up to me and letting me comb them is so fun and it makes me feel good knowing I have their trust and they are comfortable with me.” -Brooklynn Roszak

Four T Farms / Crafted in Carhartt“I’ll admit, it was scary to enter the show ring for the first time with everyone watching, but with my family by my side to guide me through everything, it was easy-peasy. Each show I have won awards, whether it’s ribbons, trophies, or plaques to hang on my wall. With being a part of the Junior Association and showing in general, I have met so many new people from all over the country and made many new friends!” -Brooklynn Roszak

Advice from Brooklynn about working with Highland Cattle:

Highland cattle are known for their calm nature and easy going disposition. That being said, there are some techniques and rules that people will learn as they go through years with their own herds of cattle. Some great tips include:

  • Spend time with your cattle. Highlands are social animals. They know their herd mates and how to interact with them. Become a part of that herd. If possible, walk out among them several times a week, even if only for a few minutes. Let them get to know who you are. The more familiar they are with you, the easier it will be when you need to move or handle them.
  • This time spent with them is also a good time to check for problems such as injuries or illness. The more familiar you are with them, the easier it is to recognize when something isn’t normal.
  • Move slowly around the cattle. Fast movement indicates to the herd that something is wrong. Even the calmest animal will run the other way if you go running down to the fence or run up to the herd. Take your time when approaching them and let them know that you are there with both verbal and visual cues.

4 T Farms / Crafted in Carhartt

“Throughout the years of being involved with the farm, it has brought me closer to my dad and his side of the family. And that I am extremely grateful for. Along with new experiences, I have learned many life lessons along the way.

  • I have learned to value the commitment. Farming and working with cattle has taught me that in every task, may it be big or small, once it has been started you should be giving it your best and not let it be left undone.
  • Another thing I have learned is that great things take time. At first, I was the new kid from the city and I wasn’t 1st place ribbon status yet. I learned from these experiences and figured out how to accept little disappointments in my life and be patient.
  • And lastly but most importantly, family and teamwork is very important on the farm. No matter what struggles come along, we all have each others backs and help each other out in any way we can. I am very grateful for the opportunities my family has given me by showing me what the farm life is like.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my dad and grandparents by my side teaching me the rights and wrongs of life and all the good things farming can teach children.” -Brooklyn Roszak

Learn more about Four T Acres here.

Rebecca Krinsky of Slack Farms

Rebecca Krinsky of Slack Farms in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin has been raising sheep for almost 30 years. It’s not an easy job. It requires a mix of physical labor, a vast knowledge of genetics and breeding, and a big heart. This is a profession that calls for many sleepless nights. There will be hard times. Not all lambs make it to adulthood, and that can be heart-wrenching.

But like every farmer has uttered at one time or another, “maybe next year” rings with resilience and dedication to your flock.

“I wish everyone knew just how enjoyable and rewarding it is to see the results after you put in all the hard work. There is no way to explain the joy you get when you work hard to put the right genetics together to raise a better animal than what you currently have and actually succeed. Many people can buy a champion quality animal, but few can raise one.” -Rebecca Krinsky of Slack Farms

Slack Farms / Lake Geneva, Wisconsin / Crafted in Carhartt

All the experience Rebecca has acquired over the years has come with many awards and recognition.

From 4-H and FFA, she’s won several of the following:

  • state and national champions
  • showmanship championships on state and national levels
  • states and national FFA degrees

Rebecca’s won state fair championships in the following states:

  • Oklahoma
  • Kansas
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin

Rebecca has also won many National Breed Champions and has been the groomer/handler for 2 National Supreme Champions at the North American International Livestock Expo.

Slack Farms / Lake Geneva, Wisconsin / Crafted in CarharttSlack Farms / Lake Geneva, Wisconsin / Crafted in Carhartt

Now Rebecca runs workshops in several states to coach youth on their sheep projects. In these clinics, she covers basic maintenance, grooming techniques, feeding, breeding and showmanship. She’ll often work on individual levels to further their personal skills as they navigate farming at a young age.

Rebecca is passionate about helping beginners, with no prior experience, get to state and national competitions.

“I like to help families who think that they can’t afford to have champion quality sheep by creating a plan so that they can find a way with the right guidance.” -Rebecca Krinsky of Slack Farms

If you purchase any lambs from Slack Farm, Rebecca is now offering a free clinic to ensure every customer has the information and skills they need to successfully raise sheep.
Slack Farms / Lake Geneva, Wisconsin / Crafted in Carhartt

Slack Farms / Lake Geneva, Wisconsin / Crafted in Carhartt
an ewe and her brand new baby lamb just moments after birth

“First time sheep owners should seek out information from current breeders to help find the right breed for them. Different breeds require different housing, grooming, and feeding routines. No two breeds are exactly the same. If you do your research, there will be one breed that will fit your personality, needs, and wants better than the others. If you pick the right one to start out with, you will be hooked and possibly find other breeds to connect with over time.” -Rebecca Krinsky of Slack Farms

At just 7 years old, Rebecca began her work with the Suffolk breed. Over the years her herd has expanded to also include Hampshire, Dorper and Oxford breeds.

“Raising sheep can be a great experience for so many reasons. The memories and the time you spend together is something very special and will last a lifetime. Sheep are very reasonable in price to raise and maintain compared to many other animals. Their temperaments are great and they all have their own personalities. Sheep are very smart and easy to train through repetition.” -Rebecca Krinsky of Slack Farms

Slack Farms / Lake Geneva, Wisconsin / Crafted in CarharttSlack Farms / Lake Geneva, Wisconsin / Crafted in CarharttKeep up with Rebecca and her work at Slack Farms on instagram or facebook.

The Women Chance Land and Livestock

Chance Land and Livestock was founded in 2000 by Robin and Chris Niederhauser in Clements, California. For the last 14 years, the couple and their 2 children, Brooke and Seth, have lived on and worked the land. Ranching is a family way of life, after all.

“We always had our kids with us. They came along as often as they could when we worked cattle or doing the daily chores. We are blessed that they have always enjoyed it. They learned early on the responsibility it takes to have cattle and horses. A lot of school vacations and holidays are spent caring for the cattle. Flexibility is very important when it comes to taking care of livestock.” -Robin Niederhauser

Brooke recently graduated from Cal Poly and is now a first year veterinary student at Colorado State to become a large animal veterinarian. Due to her upbringing, Brooke has been able to spend countless hours dedicated to her passions: the ranching industry, caring for animals, western heritage, and health. Becoming a vet is a perfect combinations of those interests.

“Growing up on a ranch definitely gave me a unique perspective on life, and taught me hard work and commitment. It also taught me to appreciate the beauty in everything, as it was a great place to live and grow up.” -Brooke Niederhauser (pictured below)

Niederhauser Ranch / Crafted in CarharttNiederhauser Ranch / Crafted in CarharttBoth Robin and Brooke have been riding horses for as long as they can remember. Robin learned from her father, and she and Chris passed the same knowledge down to their children. Brooke now competes regularly in rodeos, and has been since age five.

“I barrel race, breakaway rope, and team rope and competed in both high school and college rodeo. I was a part of the Cal Poly Rodeo Team and helped put together Poly Royal Rodeo. This past year, I also won the West Hills College Rodeo in barrel racing, and got to ride an amazing horse. I love the team and the memories I made there, and the sense of team work that always persisted. I train my own horses, and love when all the pieces come together for a successful run.” -Brooke Niederhauser

“I wish people knew that ranching is not just a job but a way of life for all of us. We love the land and we love our livestock. We do the best we can to care for it all.” -Robin Niederhauser (pictured below)

Niederhauser Ranch / Crafted in CarharttNiederhauser Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

Niederhauser Ranch / Crafted in CarharttNiederhauser Ranch / Crafted in CarharttNiederhauser Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

In the spirit of the holiday season, when we’re all feeling a little extra thankful, it’s fitting to look to our parents and mentors remind them what they mean to us.

“I am extremely thankful for my mom. She taught me about hard work and the importance of family. Most importantly, she taught me how to always be there when someone needs me. She is such a hard worker, as she takes care of the majority of the office work regarding the ranch, and still finds time to exercise horses and keep everyone fed and happy. Even if she’s been working all day and is exhausted, she still makes sure that she finishes everything she expected to do that day when she woke up. I hope that I’m as good at balancing out my life as she is someday, and that I can always be counted on as well. She is a constant source of support, and I’m grateful that I can call her at any time for advice or encouragement.” -Brooke Niederhauser

Niederhauser Ranch / Crafted in CarharttNiederhauser Ranch / Crafted in CarharttNiederhauser Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

Who taught you the value of a good work ethic? Perhaps this is the perfect time to say thank you.

Barbie Thompson Lee of Lucky Dog Ranch

Barbie Thompson Lee left the advertising world to become a farmer in Valley Center, just outside of San Diego. She invested many years developing her own company, but felt it was time for something new. So she went out in search of the perfect plot of land to begin her new adventure—where she’d have to start from scratch, and self-teach her way to success.

“I think some people have a picture of a small farm as an idyllic place that’s kind of laid back and simple. The reality here is that there are always so many things that need to be done and sometimes it feels more like warfare than a laid back place. It’s a constant battle to keep on top of the various bugs that are out to eat your plants, the birds, squirrels and gophers who are found of eating them too, the broken or chewed through irrigation lines. You can’t ever let your guard down.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Lucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

Tomatoes are Barbie’s favorite crop.

“I start the seeds in the greenhouse in February then plant when we think it’s safe from frost. Most of the plants go through September or October if we’re lucky so it’s a long time you spend with them. There are so many different varieties that it’s really fun planning out what you are going to grow and adding new varieties to your favorite producers.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Although Lucky Dog Ranch is named for Barbie’s pack of happy dogs, she also has quite a few other four-legged friends. There’s Tigger and Tom, a set of barn cat brothers, and horses Buddy and Joanie.

“There really isn’t one Lucky Dog. We really liked seeing how happy our dogs were when we moved out here. They had so much room to play and just be themselves that the name just came about.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Lucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in CarharttLucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

I asked Barbie what skills from her previous career translated into her new lifestyle. It turns out having a sense of humor has been crucial in her journey.

“Farming can be really humbling and your plants don’t care how important you think you are or what promises you’ve made on their behalf. They are just going to do what they are going do. You can’t take yourself to seriously. They are really the ones in charge. You just need to do what you can to support them…Never give up! It’s a very rewarding lifestyle. You’ll learn a lot about yourself as well as how to bring a crop to market.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Bobbie Rowe of Kubich Lumber Company

Meet Bobbie Rowe. She’s been a nurse for two years, but she’s always played a big role at her family’s lumber mill. Her main gig is driving the water truck, and when it gets busy, it’s all hands on deck. Then you can find her throwing strips or controlling the multi-head resaw she built with her dad as a child.

The mill has been in operation for over 70 years. It sits deep in the woods of Grass Valley, a small Californian town that was the epicenter of the Gold Rush in the 1800s. With a population of just under 13,000, the city is closely knit together by a strong sense of community and tradition.

That small town nostalgia comes alive when you step foot on Kubich Lumber Company property. Many of their techniques are similar to the ones used in the 1800s. Gorgeous old equipment alongside newer technology makes for a one of a kind service.

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in CarharttKUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“It’s hard work, but in a way it’s simple. Way down here, surrounded by acres of forest and so far from the rest of civilization I can just focus on my job without all the chaos.” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in CarharttKUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“Nowhere else feels like home. I really enjoy that Grass Valley is surrounded by natural beauty, but my favorite thing about this town is the rare sense of community. No matter how much the town grows, downtown is still the center hub of activity. We still have so many town traditions. I love walking into the supermarket or the movie theater and running into people who truly know me and greet me with genuine smiles. I hope it never changes.” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“I’m a true believer that if you want something bad enough and are willing to work for it, you will get it. I would encourage anyone interested to get into the lumber business. It’s so underrated these days, but it’s an industry that needs to be kept alive and it’s up to our generation to get our hands dirty to see that happen.” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“People are especially shocked to find out I’m a nurse when I jump out of the water truck. I remember dad laughing really hard one day after I drove the truck when I first became a nurse. He told me a couple customers had just commented on how cool it was that he hired a woman truck driver and he replied ‘That’s actually my daughter, and can you believe she is giving up truck driving to be a nurse at Stanford? She must be crazy.’ The truth is I really would be crazy to completely walk away from the mill.” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“As kids, my cousins, brother and I lived to go to work with our dads. It was the best place to play and be kids. We didn’t even realize that all the while they were teaching us lessons about being hard working, decent people. We didn’t care about the video games and MP3 players other kids had…We had the trees and the creek and the sawdust pile, so what more did we need?” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt
an imprint left by Bobbie in her childhood

Five Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse

Today, we make our way back to Fort Jones, California to spend time with the crew at Five Marys Farms. Crafted in Carhartt visited a year ago, and we thought we’d check back in to see how they’re doing. Turns out, the team’s been busy!

Last New Year’s Eve, Five Marys Burgerhouse opened its doors just 5 minutes from the family farm. The menu is filled with all sorts of comfort food and local meats raised by the Heffernans.

Five Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in Carhartt

The Heffernan family raises the beef, pork, and lamb served in the restaurant just a few miles down the road at Five Marys Farms. 

Five Marys Farms and Five Marys Burger House / Crafted in Carhartt
Meet Amanda Turner. She’s an outdoor adventurer and nature lover. Amanda works at 5 Marys Burgerhouse. Her favorite item on the menu is the Rancher Burger.

“Honestly what I love most about Five Marys is working for such an amazing family! I love being around the Heffernan’s can do attitudes, and watching and interacting with their incredibly talented and helpful girls. They truly embody the definition of a family business. I love that the girls are so involved whether it be feeding the animals, writing thank you notes for the shipments, or brightening the nights of guests at the restaurant taking orders.” -Amanda Turner

Meanwhile, back on the farm…

Five Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in Carhartt

Five Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in Carhartt

Mary Heffernan, mother to 4 daughters also named Mary, is constantly hard at work. If she’s not feeding the livestock, she’s at their new restaurant, 5 Marys Burgerhouse, or keeping her instagram followers up to date with the daily happenings of life with her family on the ranch.

Five Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in CarharttFive Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in CarharttFive Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in CarharttFive Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in Carhartt

Mary recently released an ebook “They Can Do It. What I Learned About Raising Kids by Moving to the Country.” In it, she highlights the ways her extraordinary daughters have grown and developed in their new lifestyle. The book is filled with insights, much like the Heffernan family motto, “Be Kind. Don’t Whine. Be Tough.”

Find out how you can get a copy for yourself here.

Five Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in Carhartt
“I’m no expert at raising kids, but when our life changed pretty drastically by moving to the ranch almost four years ago, I started noticing changes in our girls and in our parenting. By necessity things work different on a ranch and kids have to be more independent and resourceful and more is expected of them.” -Mary Heffernan

Five Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in CarharttFive Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in CarharttFive Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in Carhartt

There’s nothing quite like a quiet night with the family on the highest peak of the ranch–filling bellies with s’mores and the night air with mischievous giggles from the most adventurous of girls.

Five Marys Farms & Five Marys Burgerhouse / Crafted in Carhartt

Lift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician Kristen Loftis

Meet Kristen Loftis. She wears many hats, and each one gets us a step closer to the perfect ski run. She’s a Lift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician at Homewood Mountain Resort in Tahoe.

“There are so many things I love about my work, I can’t choose a best part! I love where I work. The mountain inspires me in so many ways, and I am so grateful that I have found a way to channel my passion back into the mountain. I love being a part of what makes it all work, and getting to be outside all day is awesome! When I’m operating a snow cat, the happiness I feel seeing people enjoy the terrain I build and groom is indescribable. Watching the chair lifts shuttle thousands of people to the top of the mountain, and knowing they are safe because we are inspecting and maintaining the lifts constantly, is extremely gratifying. My favorite smell is the smell of bar oil, two stroke and tree sap on my clothes after a full summer day of hiking and cutting the vegetation on the ski runs. I help take care of the forest our ski hill runs through, and it has taught me so much about power of nature. I love being alone on the mountain at night in a machine. I love watching the snow fall, how it mutes everything around you. I love the blistering heat of the sun when I’m working outside. I love out thunderstorms and double rainbows over the lake.” -Kristen Loftis

Grooming, lift maintenance and revegetation are all somewhat over looked for the most part. We’re the grungy, behind-the-scenes part of the whole operation. But we do so much, year round, to make everything perfect for the Winter.” -Kristen Loftis

Lift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician Kristen Loftis / Crafted in CarharttLift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician Kristen Loftis / Crafted in Carhartt“Slope maintenance is a full shift of operating heavy equipment. I spend all night in a snow cat reshaping and grooming out the snow on ski runs. It can be so much fun, but also dangerous. I’m operating usually with only one other person working on the mountain. Snow conditions are extremely variable, from hard packed ice to wet slushy snow to blizzards and feet of super soft powder, they all have their own specific way they need to be worked out. Sliding down a steep run faster than your tracks can move and even avalanches are real dangers every night, so I have to be constantly aware of the working conditions and how I’m using my machine. The sunrise over Lake Tahoe every morning is a wonderful perk of the job.” -Kristen Loftis

Lift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician Kristen Loftis / Crafted in Carhartt

“Lake Tahoe offers so many opportunities to live a magical, adventurous life. I spend all of my free time outdoors, hiking through the forests to different peaks with my dogs, kayaking and swimming in all of the numerous lakes and rivers in the area, rock climbing and camping and stargazing and playing in the snow. It’s a wondrous place and moving here is the best thing I have ever done for myself.” -Kristen Loftis

Lift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician Kristen Loftis / Crafted in CarharttLift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician Kristen Loftis / Crafted in CarharttLift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician Kristen Loftis / Crafted in CarharttLift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician Kristen Loftis / Crafted in Carhartt

Jenny from Live Edge Detroit

Before joining her family in the wood business, Jenny Barger was in Marketing and Advertising. It turned out to be the perfect background as she now runs the Sales and Marketing for Live Edge Detroit.

Back in 1984, Jenny’s dad started a tree care and removal business. His heart has always been set on sustainability and conservation, and it often pained him to merely chop unwanted trees into firewood.

So in 2016, Jenny, her brother Joe, and her dad Mike founded Live Edge. They now salvage the trees that Mike’s company removes. Once the wood has been cut and taken back to their warehouse, the crew mills them into new usable material.

Slabs of gorgeous dry wood fill the space. Customers are welcome to wander around and search for the perfect materials for their next project or peruse the finished pieces they have to offer.

“Our vision for Live Edge Detroit was to develop a branch of Mike’s Tree Surgeons, Inc. that focused on salvaging our local resources and making them available for the community to enjoy for many more years to come. Our long term goals are to uphold that initial vision and to see it bloom into a more sustainable and profitable branch of the family business. We aren’t planning to take over the world, but we want to make a difference within the community, and we feel that starts right here in our own backyard.” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit

Jenny from Live Edge / Crafted in Carhartt

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I’ve been so fortunate to have friends and past colleagues that have pitched in to help me here and there where I may not have expertise. Let people help you, and if you love what you do, and you’re honest and hardworking, I believe success will find you.” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit

Jenny from Live Edge / Crafted in CarharttJenny from Live Edge / Crafted in Carhartt

“Everything I know about wood and trees I learned from my dad! He studied Forestry at Michigan Tech University and has been a longtime Certified Arborist and Urban Forester. He is the go-to for anyone in the Metro-Detroit area that needs arboriculture consultation. Not only is he a vast wealth of knowledge, he has been incredibly patient in teaching his corporate-minded daughter how to identify wood species by grain and bark, and understand what species are good for what types of projects, etc. I am not an expert yet – but I have great resources to fall back on when questions arise!” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit

“My previous jobs were very instrumental to my professional development, but they were not personally fulfilling in the way that working for the family business has been. Not only has it opened up my eyes to how much the community values and respects my dad and his business, but I also have the opportunity to learn from him every day, and to carry out his dream of full cycle sustainability. It has been the biggest blessing! My advice for anyone in a family business is something that I’ve recently had to realize firsthand, and that is to draw a few boundaries between business time and family time. It can be tough to ‘turn off’ when all of the family members are so passionate about what they do, but sometimes you just have to decompress and be a family. As much as we spend time together talking business, sometimes you just need your dad to be your dad to be your dad!” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit

Jenny from Live Edge / Crafted in Carhartt
Jenny’s dogs, Daisy Duke and Bo Duke

Jenny from Live Edge / Crafted in Carhartt

Vision Farms

The Alpern family established Vision Farms in 1999 in El Paso, Texas. They expanded the original 12 acres to 160, and made the entire property organic. The Alperns produce  alfalfa, cotton, or wheat according to their rotation. Diversity of daily chores is a major plus for everyone involved. With an extensive plot of land and assortment of animals, responsibilities ebb and flow at different times.

The venture is a family affair. Laura Alpern, the matriach of the bunch, makes sure everything is in order at all times–from their Quarter Horse breeding program, to crop yields, to management. Her advice for new farmers :

“Keep really good records and cultivate your suppliers and friends. There will be an abundance of time when you will be leaning on them and vice versa. Do your homework before you start, and ask advice from every person that you can.” -Farmer Laura Alpern

Vision Farms / Crafted in Carhartt“I grew up in New York City, and from the moment I spent a summer on a working cattle ranch at age 12, I knew it was the life I wanted. The work is hard, and goes on in the cold of winter and the blistering heat of El Paso summers, but the rewards are there. We have been so fortunate to have met the farmers around us. Everything thing is done with a hand shake and we have never been disappointed.” -Farmer Laura Alpern

Vision Farms / Crafted in Carhartt
Farmer Laura Alpern

“I love the seasons. Each is beautiful in its own way from planting in the spring to weeding to harvest. Additionally foaling season is the best of all. Watching that foal take her first breathe and struggle to her first step is magical. I am so happy that my children could experience farm life style. Our daughter is now an equine veterinarian and is caring on her mother’s torch for horses.” -Farmer Laura Alpern

Vision Farms / Crafted in Carhartt
-Veterinarian Alana Alpern, and Laura’s daughter

“There has never been a time in my life without an animal in it that needed to be cared for and tended to. I have my parents to thank for instilling this level of responsibility in my upbringing. I remember going out to the farm in my prom dress with my mother to make sure the mare who was about to foal was prepped for her new arrival. I want my own boys feel responsible to the environment beyond themselves, and having a relationship with the family farm is a great way to do that. ” -Veterinarian Alana Alpern

“My husband and I want our boys to respect animals, understand their language beyond the friendly, family dog and recognize dangerous situations.  Having fun with animals is important, but understanding a deeper layer of animal language will keep them safer.” -Veterinarian Alana Alpern

Vision Farms / Crafted in CarharttVision Farms / Crafted in CarharttVision Farms / Crafted in CarharttVision Farms / Crafted in CarharttVision Farms / Crafted in Carhartt

“El Paso is our chosen home. We toured the country to decide where we would like to live and El Paso won, hands down. We are a bi-lingual city so our children speak both English and Spanish. Much to many peoples surprise we are the safest city of our size in the US. I love the desert climate, and let’s not forget the most amazing Mexican food ever.” -Farmer Laura Alpern

Vision Farms / Crafted in Carhartt

Alana Alpern runs her practice, Blue Heron Equine, Inc., out of her truck that’s a moving hospital. She treats horses for western and eastern medicine and dogs and cats for exclusively eastern medicine.

“Know the true costs of becoming a veterinarian both financially and emotionally. Do this by spending time in more difficult moments under a mentor and doing your homework on the cost of education.” -Veterinarian Alana Alpern

Vision Farms / Crafted in CarharttVision Farms / Crafted in Carhartt

Skeet Shooting Advice

We met outdoor adventurers Tessa Wyatt and Mikki Clayton a while back. They both live (and play) in Park City, Utah. Today, they are sharing a few tips concerning skeet shooting:

“Get comfortable with where you place the butt of the gun on your shoulder (everyone is a little different)  and prepare or anticipate the recoil so it doesn’t startle you. When I first started shooting one of my biggest problems with accuracy was rushing the shot. Once I slowed down, got comfortable and confident with my stance, and followed with a little more patience, my accuracy seriously improved.” -Tessa Wyatt

Skeet Shooting / Crafted in Carhartt

Skeet Shooting / Crafted in CarharttSkeet Shooting / Crafted in Carhartt

“Just practice, getting out there enough. I also try to shoot with people that are comfortable or familiar with and around guns. There’s nothing that will distract your shot more than someone that jumps at every pull of the trigger. Safety is obviously important but having skiddish energy around you can be just as.” -Tessa Wyatt