My name is Barry Braun. When I retired from teaching in 2013, my wife, Cate, and I bought an old farmstead in Grass Lake, Michigan, where we set up a pottery studio. Out here on the farm, we raise chickens and pigs and tend bees, and I continue to make the pottery that I love to make and use.
Our farmstead is located in the Waterloo Recreation area, which is a mix of horse farms, lakes, farms and hiking trails. Our place was settled by a german immigrant family in 1864 and the brick farmhouse was built from clay dug and fired just north of the house. We sit on the top of a rise over looking 13 acres of wet land, home to some Sandhills cranes, herons, nesting pheasants and plenty of other song birds.
As transplanted city folk we don't consider ourselves farmers, more participants in a very experimental adventure. The acreage was farmed organically up until about 10 years ago, most of whichwe've had replanted into native grasses and wildflowers, which our bees seem to thrive on. We've established a large garden with an over abundance of raspberries, strawberries and blackberries and lots of room for veggies. The farm had an old orchard with peach, apple, cherry and pear trees which we are learning to coax back into production, and the old timber framed barn now houses a couple of hogs and the chicken coop has a dozen laying hens who now have the run of the orchard.
The old garage had been transformed into a studio by the prior owner and is now home to my studio which overlooks the orchard and the gas kiln we completed this year. The view from my windows when I'm throwing pots is a perfect backdrop and reminder of why we love it here so much.