DEDHAM — Sometimes, life veers off the beaten path and into a passion.
This is true for spouses Kristin and Tom Beauchamp, whose paths led them to owning Lone Spruce Farm in Dedham. The life they’ve built there is closely connected to the land, and they see themselves as its stewards.
“This land was here long before us and will be here long after us,” Kristin says.
In 2014, while living in rural New Jersey, Kristin said she had a gut feeling calling her to Maine. She and Tom embarked on a road trip north, avoiding heavily touristed areas for routes through Bucksport, Ellsworth and Dedham.
“On our way back, we called a real estate agent,” Kristin recalls. A year later, they and their three children, Stephanie, Wyatt and Ruby, moved into the farmhouse nestled above a sprawling field on the Bald Mountain Road.
From the start, they wanted to live self-sufficiently. They knew their new home had farming roots and quickly learned from locals of the property’s rich homesteading history.
“We’ve been able to connect with people and kind of patch together the history of what happened here,” Kristin relates.
As they settled into life in Dedham, Kristin homeschooled their children and prepared to work on the farm full time. Tom, meanwhile, worked on the farm in addition to his full-time employment with Dead River Co.
Then life took another detour, this time a much more tumultuous one.
Roughly a year and a half after the move, Kristin and Tom’s son, Wyatt, now 9 years old, was diagnosed with a rare, paradoxical seizure disorder.
“He was having 200 seizures a day,” Kristin remembers.
Several days after learning of the diagnosis, Tom suffered a major injury while harvesting firewood when a tree fell and crushed his leg.
With Tom temporarily out of work and both parents processing their son’s health needs, Kristin put homesteading plans on the backburner, thinking, “I guess this is not my time.”
She says her community replied with, “Yes, it is.”
Neighbors pitched in to build a greenhouse and goat pasture, making meals and sitting with Tom as he healed. This support solidified Kristin and Tom’s commitment to working with the land and the community.
“There are many hands and hearts in this property that really, in my mind and in my heart, it belongs to many. It’s my job to take really good care of it and to put really great things out of it,” Kristin says.
Now, Tom is back on his feet and Wyatt is on the mend, too. After meeting with physicians in Boston, Wyatt was prescribed medications and a ketogenic diet, and is now averaging about 10 seizures a day.
“We are able to grow and raise the food for that diet here,” Kristin notes. “The farm has saved Wyatt’s life.”
While Kristin is always advocating for her son by dealing with insurance companies, speaking with physicians and being on alert for one of his seizures, she calls it a part of herself and, “frankly, just is something I am.”
As they remain devoted to their family, the Beauchamps have affirmed their dedication to their community. The farm has goats (including kid goats), chickens, ducks, geese and angora rabbits. The family is active in the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program. In Hancock County, Kristin and Tom co-lead their youth 4-H Club, “The Spruced-Up Homesteaders.”
In addition, Tom built and have opened The Little Store, a one-room structure, stocked with the farm’s organic vegetables, raw angora wool, free-range eggs and Kristin’s small batch breads made with Maine grains flours. Goods are bought on the honor system. Five percent of their sales go to Hancock County 4-H.
In The Little Store, a bulletin board provides a place for people to post community events. Certain shelves serve as a lending library where passers-by can enjoy donated books. Another area features free goods and produce as part of Kristin’s effort to end the stigma associated with food insecurity. She also has paper and hygiene products available.
The Beauchamps also offer 4-H workshops covering topics such as rabbits, poultry and goats. The 4-H Club is geared for learners ages 5 to 18. Participants meet every other Sunday to deep dive into the session’s topic. Every fourth meeting involves “a community service event.”
Several additional programs and events are offered, including ketogenic cooking classes and farm-to-table dinners. Meanwhile, Kristin collects daily data for the National Weather Service and is fundraising for an automated external defibrillator (AED) so that her rural community has access to critical life-saving equipment.
The Beauchamps’ many endeavors make clear their appreciation for their neighbors and their commitment to making a difference in the lives of those around them.
Kristin and her family demonstrate that while Lone Spruce Farm belong to them, they will share its bounty with their community.
Long Spruce Farm is located at 306 Bald Mountain Road in Dedham. For more information, visit the farm’s Facebook page or email [email protected]