I guess I could call this a love letter to the land or, at the very least, a thank you note.

Two years ago on a whim, we bought an acre of land near Webster, Wis. It was a beautiful spot but completely untouched. Calling 1-800-Create-My-Paradise was definitely not in the budget, so what’s a suit-and-tie, can-barely-change-a-lightbulb-kind-of-guy to do? Do it yourself. What could possibly go wrong?

Thankfully we have an amazing circle of family and friends who have helped us. Large machinery was rented to clear the land. Trees were felled; mountains of brush burned. Slowly the land was transformed. After 35 years together, I began to see another kind of transformation in my husband. Monday through Friday were full of spreadsheets and deadlines, but weekends were full of projects and progress. Next came the comforts like electricity and on — and, finally, our own little “lodge.” We love spending time in the beauty of the woods. I also love seeing the joy on my husband’s face when we arrive. He forgets about the craziness of the world. The only worry he has is his lawn (some things never change) and what time the local meat raffle starts! Who knew a small acre of land could create miles of happiness.

Julie Knudsen, Minnetonka