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At Home on the Farm: One Family's Spiritual Quest
Carol Ann Morrow
Source: St. Anthony Messenger magazine
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
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Genesis Organic Farm’s precise location isn’t available by satellite today, farmer and author Kyle Kramer is pleased to report. Incredulous, I consult MapQuest. Beyond the interstate, its directions always hedge — “If you reach ... , you’ve gone too far.” Two state roads and three county roads later, I have avoided going “too far,” though some might wonder if the Kramers have by planting themselves in rural
southern Indiana and committing themselves to the complexities of living simply.

Kyle and Cyndi Kramer live with their three small children — 8-year-old twins Eva and Clare and 5-year-old Eli — in a home Kyle built largely by himself. They use solar power, a cistern and firewood they harvest from their woods. The Kramers grind their own grains, buying them in bulk.

Kyle later jokes that their wedding gifts included a grain mill and other practicalities seldom found on bridal registries! Their cozy home is furnished with substantial pieces that Kyle has crafted, complemented with hand-me-downs. Their home is airy and pleasant, even on a mid-August afternoon. Their dogs, Bella and Lulu, bark at me without menace. I sniff the promise of both bread and soup.

Why make this journey off the beaten path? I want to see the earthy outdoor classroom in which Kyle learned Life Lessons in Work, Prayer and Dirt, the subtitle of his 2010 book, A Time to Plant. I want to walk the land Kyle bought in 1999 and visit the pole barn he raised that fall and lived in for four years. I want to see the home that the imminent arrival of twins spurred on.

Lastly, I want St. Anthony Messenger readers to discover with me whether the youthful author has harvested further life lessons as he balances family, a 40-hour workweek at a Benedictine abbey, 27 acres of formerly abused farmland and an idealistic calling to trace the threads that bind his Catholic faith to his “vocation of location.”

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