September 2013

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The Rural Life City gal, country home After a grueling afternoon spent snipping parsley in the fields and packing boxes for Circle M Farm's communitysupported-agriculture (CSA) program, Kriss Marion could finally relax. Gazing out at the goats, she chatted about the flooding of farm fields nearby as a herd of sheep circled around her. "We say we're on vacation every day," Marion says, referring to the organicfarming life she's built with her husband, Shannon, and their four kids in Blanchardville. It sounds like the perfect story of a woman fulfilling her dream. Except she never meant to fall in love with the farm. Instead, it was a happy accident that led to her charmed life. About 10 years ago, Marion and family were living in an eclectic Chicago neighborhood. Jogging along Chicago's streets, 58 brava magazine | september 2013 she marveled at the diversity and throngs of people. As a teenager growing up in Bethlehem, Pa., she dreamt of a life in a big city like Chicago. Yet Shannon, who grew up on a Missouri farm, insisted life was better when surrounded by pastures and a rooster's morning wake-up call. "He has 'country people' in his background and hated the city," says Kriss. Then came her diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Small tasks were painful, if not impossible. "I couldn't hold a coffee cup and couldn't wrap my hands around a toothbrush. We were very crowded in our house. We lived in one part of a twoflat with four kids and many boarders," says Marion. She knew the time had come to give country living a try. "All of a sudden, the thought of being surrounded by green and no noise was

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