September 2013

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By Kristine Hansen Photographed by Kevin and Sarah Hansen attractive," she says. "I pictured myself moving out to the country to rest. I had no thought about farming." Packing the kids' frowns and tears into a moving van, they set out for rural Wisconsin. First things first, to help Marion rest, they enrolled the kids in local schools, a major shift from being homeschooled in Chicago. Today, the Marions live in a rambling farmhouse that could easily pass for an Anthropologie photoshoot with Etsyinspired vignettes and shabby chicstyle furnishings. In the fall, they'll be empty nesters for the first time when their youngest child goes off to college. What started out as a hobby farm—a few chickens and sheep, garden plots and flower beds—quickly snowballed into a full-blown career for Marion. (When not traveling for his job as national field director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Shannon works out of his home office, with gorgeous farmland vistas.) To fuel Marion's knitting passion, the couple bought a few sheep, and soon more animals joined the farm. Today, there are sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, steer, a goose and a horse. Marion was shocked to learn she could endure the labor involved with running a farm without enduring any physical pain. As she worked two days each week at a local organic farm, she took lots of notes, intending to one day expand their fledging farm into a business. "It was really fun to figure this all out," she admits. The kids quickly fell in love with farm life, too, discovering a new passion for cooking and knowing food sources. Now, Marion's greatest joy is packaging 150 CSA boxes twice a month. september 2013 | 59

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