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EVERYDAY PEOPLE: A serendipitous family farm

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It’s been a dream turned reality for Christine Desmond and her family’s farm. What started out as a venture in trying something different has turned into a full-fledged lifestyle.

“We made the decision in December of 2010 to start raising as much of our own food as possible,” said Desmond. “So we made the move to the farm in January (2011) and began the process.”

Wrapping up shop in Brainerd, Desmond and her husband, Leo, along with the couple’s five kids — Maggie (17), Grace (15), Ellie (12), Jack (7) and Torin (4) — moved up the 111-acre parcel in Remer saddled with a vision.

“I started to prioritize the animals and what ones would be important to us,” said Desmond, who also began crafting her own natural handmade soap, called Serendipity Farm Soap Company, in 2007. “I knew I wanted goats to use the milk for my soaps, and then we got sheep after a friend of mine no longer wanted to raise her herd.

“And I always wanted water buffalo, so then there they came, too.”

As did more and more animals. Desmond’s farm is now also home to horses, pigs, a cow and steer, as well as chickens and Great Pyrenees which Desmond breeds. There’s plenty of work to go around the family.

“The kids all have their responsibilities and chores from sun-up to sun-down,” said Desmond, who home schools four of the children with the oldest graduating with her AA degree from Central Lakes College this year. “We’re a family operation through and through and it’s a life that I’ve always wanted for my kids.”

And it’s a life Desmond said her dad always wanted to.

“My dad always wanted a hobby farm and I grew up with stories of how he wanted a horse,” Desmond said. “So now, at 71-years-old, my dad got his first horse.”

Furthering the farm lifestyle, Desmond said her store in Nisswa, Unique Keepsakes, will be closing its doors so the family can instead focus on the farm and soaps full-time. But she adds that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I grew up with Foxfire books on the bookshelves on the back to the land movement and how to weave your own baskets and butcher a pig,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and now I’m doing it and I couldn’t be happier.”

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter @jessi_pierce