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Where inspiration blooms
Playful pieces create a vacation atmosphere at rural home

By ANNE WANGMAN

April 2011

Set for an early dinner, a striking floral centerpiece and bold blue glassware pop off the red-checked tablecloth. Tiz Meyer painted the red chairs, which are usually housed in the barn and used for indoor functions. "It’s wonderful to have dinner outside. It creates an ambiance that’s different than eating in the dining room. It’s casual, yet elegant. The gardens, sculptures and landscape are natural conversation starters," she notes. In the distance, tamarack log fencing straddles the large stones, as had been constructed by the first settlers of the farm.


Any excuse for a party.

If there’s a celebration or a reason to get together, Tizza and Glenn Meyer love to host. For the past 16 years, Stone Fences Farm, their 160-acre compound outside of Dousman has seen just about everything. Local charity luncheons, family get-togethers by the lake, a garden wedding and even dinner parties in the field or an afternoon glass of tea with a friend. Next up? A birthday party for a tree.

Lovingly restored by the Meyers through the years, the property is home to a combination of nature’s beauty and Tiz Meyer’s iron creations. Surrounded by 4.5 miles of stone fences, the original Welsh settlers moved these giant, glacier-driven stones, to the land in the late 19th century. "I marvel at how they moved them," Tiz Meyer remarks. The couple have taken great care to respect the vision and incredible hard work of the original owners. The founders raised sheep and grew hops to sell to local breweries. Tamarack logs were used to grow the hops, so in several places around the property, Meyer has constructed tamarack racks as a tribute. They also have sheep.

After completing welding classes, Meyer, a former art and antiques dealer, used her endless creative energy to construct a number of iron sculptures and fantasy pieces that are strategically placed around the property. There is a story behind every one. Many are inspired by her love of children and all-things family, others by her awe of the land and nature that surrounds her.

Now back to that party for the tree. "We have the champion bur oak in the state," Meyer says. "It is 23 feet around its base. Several years ago it was determined that the tree was an acorn in 1711 so this summer we will be having a 300-year birthday party to celebrate. Mother Nature surprises us every day. I feel so lucky to be a part of this place."

 


Although most of the original buildings on the property were saved, the largest barn was too far gone and had to be razed. Left behind was the original stone wall. "I knew it was the perfect spot for a sunken garden. This place has extra special meaning to me. I have plants from my mother and grandmother and my daughter was married here." The iron fence surrounding the top of the wall was Meyer’s first welding project. "I love putting together fantasy pieces. Folk art characters, musical instruments, games like tic-tac-toe, a bike, tractor seats and even old tools and other implements brought to me by local farmers are incorporated into this crazy fence. There is even an iron man with no face, so kids can put their heads into it."


 


A concrete reproduction of a Greek head guards a garden entrance. "When I first saw him, I liked his face and what he depicts in history," Meyer says. Next to him is an original watering tank that now holds garden tools.


 


Now stocked with blue gill and large-mouth bass, Tiz and Glenn Meyer dug the six-acre lake several years after purchasing the property and asked their grandchildren to name it. They were thrilled when the kids came up with Lake No Na Pa, which are nicknames for their grandparents. Being Native American history buffs, the Meyers also like its Native American sound. The colorful umbrellas and gazebo make it a great family gathering spot for swimming and fishing.


 


A pergola outside the main house is the perfect spot for a glass of lemonade on a warm spring day. Salvaged beams from the large barn and stained glass windows from her former antiques business are flanked by Meyer’s cut iron panels of the sun and moon. 


 

 


This story ran in the April 2011 issue of: