Once the site of the historic V.J. Fetzner Brewery from the late 19th Century. The land is now used as a hobby farm, honey bee sanctuary and nursery to a unique tree species normally not found in Read more...
Once the site of the historic V.J. Fetzner Brewery from the late 19th Century. The land is now used as a hobby farm, honey bee sanctuary and nursery to a unique tree species normally not found in Southeastern Minnesota.
Remnants of the brewery are still visible. Foundation walls outline the massive structure of the brewery. Nestled in the center of the foundation is the entrance to the sixty-seven foot deep cave that once held barrels of beer and can be accessed by canoe only. Hops have been located on the property and are believed to be ancestors of those raised to make the beer once stored in the cave. The pond that provides access to the cave was dug out in the early 1990's to create a fish out for the Spring Hills Trout Farm that used to exist across the highway. Some of the original brood stock still exist and continue to naturally stock the pond. It is not uncommon to see fish that are five to ten pounds in size.
The residents house is built to scale to the original brew master's house. While the house is only twenty-four years old it looks as though you have taken a step back in time. The name Shady Rest was given to the house by the Brew Master's wife. We thought it was appropriate to keep the name alive.
Shady Rest Acres is comprised of twenty-three acres of beautiful woodlands and pasture that are protected forever in the Minnesota Land Trust. The pasture is home to Scottish Highlander cows, two miniature donkeys, five sheep, four goats, honey bees and a flock of chickens. Scottish Highlanders were selected for both their grazing and browsing abilities. They are very docile and make excellent pasture mates to the smaller species sharing the pasture. The cows are excellent forest managers. They clear out invasive species such as Honey Suckle, Buckthorn, and Barberry which can often be difficult to manage. A guided tour with the host can be taken to meet the pasture animals.
The forest is comprised of many tree species. Some are unique in that they normally do not grow in this region of Minnesota. The yellow birch is a species normally found in Northern Minnesota. It's bark is golden in color and glistens when the sun hits it just right. We have a cluster of several yellow birch including one that is so big that the bark no longer looks golden but instead is grey and very rough. Years ago the largest of these trees made excellent wood for turning bowls. Blue Beech (musclewood) can also be found on the property. As the name indicates the bark is shaped like muscles. Songbirds and some other species will use different parts of the tree as a food source. Towering white pines also speckle the landscape. Mother pine requires at least two humans arm lengths to encircle the whole tree. She is a favorite resting spot for the barred owl. There is oak, elm, maple, ceders, poplars and numerous other species.
Honey bees are an integral part of the landscape. We partnered with a friend and started raising honey bees two years ago in order to do our part to keep pollinators thriving. Their hives are located in the pasture where it has the perfect amount of early morning sun to get them moving and afternoon shade to balance out the summer heat. It is not uncommon to see them pollinating garden plants, trees and wild flowers around the property. One of their favorite feeding spots is the acre and a half prairie which offers a range of plants including big blue stem, wild indigo and baby blue stem, to name a few. Not only are honey bees essential to the food chain but they also provide a very enriching experience when they are observed moving about their hives. There is nothing more relaxing and fascinating than watching these amazing creatures.