Fieldstone: The Kind of Place You Can Make

Starting with a stone barn and a big dream, Ken Krause shows what ambition, energy and a few strategic decisions can create.

| September/October 2007

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    In 1909, this stone structure housed livestock for a local Mennonite farm family.
    Diane Guthrie
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    Asparagus is the first crop of the season.
    Diane Guthrie
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    Starting with a manure-encrusted old stone barn, Ken and Nancy Krause have created a home in eastern Kansas with a little taste of Tuscany or Provence.
    Diane Guthrie
  • Fieldstone12
    The orchards include heirloom apples and Asian pears.
    Diane Guthrie
  • FieldstoneCrop
    The popular U-Pick operation is Ken's answer to high labor costs.
    courtesy Fieldstone Enterprises
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    Diane Guthrie
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    courtesy Fieldstone Enterprises
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    When rainfall is abundant, the seven cascading ponds help water the orchards.
    Diane Guthrie
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    The country store gives visitors a little more bang for their buck.
    Diane Guthrie
  • Fieldstone28
    Ken is vigilant in monitoring the fruit trees.
    Diane Guthrie
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    The sunroom looks out on the lower pond, home to a family of blue herons.
    Diane Guthrie
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    Nancy and Ken's love of a good time is reflected in everything they do – even if it's just an evening stroll.
    Diane Guthrie
  • Fieldstone26
    High-density planting makes new use of the ruined vineyard's trellis system.
    Diane Guthrie

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  • FieldStonePearBlossom
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Overbrook, Kansas – In the beginning, Ken Krause dreamed of a stone barn, nothing more, as he worked selling dental supplies. “Driving around Kansas I’d see these rock barns. I’d visualize, fantasize about what I could do with rock buildings,” he says.

 

Fantasy steered toward reality when a newspaper ad led to a barn he could call his own: built in 1909, with 22-inch walls and filled with manure. A 140-acre farm came attached. Over the course of three decades, Ken’s dream expanded to include seven cascading ponds, an array of “profit centers,” and an elegant barn home that doubled as a bed and breakfast.

 



Today, at 80, Ken is about ready to retire from the farming game in favor of leisure time, summer vacations and less responsibility.

 





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