Our farm’s name was always going to nod to our consistent source of inspiration, love, and happiness—our dogs.
We moved to the eastern Upper Peninsula in late 2016 and, like a furry “Brady Bunch,” merged a miniature dachshund only-child (Louie) with a rescued lab mix (Mo), an Alaskan malamute (Kobe), along with a pair of cat sisters (Hope and Faith).
Louie used all 11 of his pounds to exert dominance. Kobe, roughly the size of ten Louies, looked at his new roommate as something of an odd, long curiosity. Mo bridged the two—peacemaker and friendly to both. The cats mostly stayed out of the way.
The dogs were a convenient excuse for exploring. We’d take Kobe on nightly walks down our street, where we’d meet new neighbors and start to understand the rhythm and habits of the wildlife that share our space.
Mo, built for longer treks, would join us on snowy trips to the shoreline of Lake Superior and deep into the interior of the Hiawatha National Forest. Mo witnessed some of the magic of our new home—walking upon a bear cub scampering down a trail, and once interrupting a fox on the heels of a snowshoe hare. He’d sprint like hell in the woods, and sleep like hell on the drive home.
Louie, preferring car rides to walking, would perch on a lap when we’d take long, coffee-fueled drives, looking at new lakes, rivers, forests, and dreaming of buying some of the abundant land we’d see to start a farm. He’d more often than not lose interest and fall asleep in a lap.
Season change brought spring (which often waits until mid-May to arrive here) and the planning of what would become the centerpiece of our next few summers—our garden. The backyard garden, along the shores of the St. Marys River, started modest that first year and has since grown to include raised beds and additional space.
The garden provided shade in the summer for Kobe, a place to chase new critters and smell flowers for Mo, and a place to sprint to and hide for Louie.
The garden also provided some of the first seeds we saved.
For a couple years, there was a lovely cadence to our time with the three. Quiet winters in the woods with Mo, in front of the fire with Louie, and in the backyard with Kobe. Long spring and summer days soaking up sunshine and getting dirty in the garden with Mo and Louie, while Kobe would seek shade. Autumn was a bridge, getting in a last swim with Mo in Lake Superior.
Seasons change, years pass, and dogs get older. We lost Mo too soon. Louie has a few more gray hairs around the muzzle. Kobe still perks up for walks, but they go much slower. Our seasonal rhythm has changed, as things tend to do.
Some change is for the good. We were fortunate to find 20 acres of former horse pasture to purchase and pursue a dream of small-scale farming and seed keeping.
And when it came to naming this dream realized, the answer was simple. The dogs have done and continue to do so much for us. We want our hard work and mission of working in harmony with the natural world to honor them.
In our hearts, in our garden, and now on our 20-acre farm, the three dogs are more than companions—they are our identity.
They teach us patience, loyalty, and the beauty of curiosity. They teach us that sometimes the best way to spend the day is sitting peacefully and watching the world move around you.
When Mo was nearing the end, he would take short walks around our backyard. He would walk the perimeter and chase the frogs, who were frantic to get out of his way. The sun would set, and he’d slowly make his way around the garden, chomping at frogs, smelling wildflowers, and joining in the subtle summer night melody of spring peepers, bees, shore birds, and lapping Great Lakes water.
These are bittersweet memories, but interwoven with a hope and resilience that is the core of Three Dogs Seed Farm.