More than 100 years ago, my relatives homesteaded about 200 acres in central Minnesota. Our family would vacation when I was young and spend a good part of the summer Up North where there were endless hours of swimming, fishing and exploring. My parents would eventually build a lake home and settle on the homestead, near Browerville. I and my five sisters inherited the land when my parents passed away. Some of my sisters built their own homes and have made their lives Up North. But I wanted a rustic cabin in the woods — a cabin that would blend into the land and have very little impact on the environment.

I sketched out a cabin design after a lot of time and research into what would fit with the land. My brother-in-law had a sawmill. The cabin is built from lumber that we cut on our property and milled. The interior has a wood stove, propane lights and a solar-powered system that allows our rustic cabin some modern comforts. Now, some 25 years later, the cabin is not very much different from when it was built. I have two sons, and when they were young they would come up to the cabin to swim, fish and explore. Today they still venture north to fish, hunt and just enjoy cabin life. Eventually the cabin and the land will be theirs and their legacy.

Mike Rapatz, Minneapolis