I grew up in the suburbs of a large midwestern city. My exposure to farm life was limited to the smells wafting from the Agriculture Building at the State Fair as we passed by on our way to the giant slide. Sometimes we would take a quick walk through to see the baby lambs, but otherwise we never gave much thought to what was going on inside.

During college I attended a small liberal arts school in a rural Iowa town, where rolling hills spotted with red barns and Amish buggies continued for hours in each direction. I was fortunate enough to work at the local community food cooperative. There I got to know the thriving network of organic and sustainable farmers whose products filled the shelves. Despite my proximity to and curiosity for it, my relationship to the farming lifestyle was still at least an arm length or two away.

At least until one summer abroad, when I met a Breton paysan, passionate about his work on his family’s 5th generation dairy farm in the French countryside. One visit led to another, emails were written, letters sent, and eventually I knew my goodbye to the midwest and the driftless region was a permanent one.

So now here I am, on Fern Island Farm, known by its Breton name as Enez Raden. I am learning bit by bit what it means to be a paysan (but more on that later). I’ve decided to keep this blog in order to share my stories, to write about slipping in manure, weeding fields of beets, assisting in the birth of a calf, or whistling songs from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack as I follow behind the herd back out to pasture.

Don’t hesitate to comment or email me!

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Ashley, I just realized that I had not changed my email and missed your last couple of entries. I just love reading them and how your life goes as a dairy farmer. You amaze me. I wish we could come and see you. Sharon will be in Hungary for 15 days with a group of teens from our church holding English classes. She leaves in 6 weeks. It will be her 7th trip. I hope you will put your wedding pics on the blog.
    Love to all. Aunt Carolyn


    1. Hi Aunt Carolyn, I will add your new email to the update list! Thank you so much for reading : ) You are all welcome to visit any time! Good luck to Sharon on her travels! Wish her a bon voyage from me! I will definitely be sure to share photos from the wedding on the blog.



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