Hi, we're the Vogls!
We're a family of four living near the 1,000,000+ acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota.
The Little Forest is a blog where we'll document our greatest adventure yet: building a homestead on 10 acres of forest and renovating a 1920 lakefront railroad section house.
We hope to share our passion for nature and sustainable living with others along the way.
Sarah - Artist, Writer, Designer, Chef, Morning Person
Andy - Photographer, Videographer, Fire Maker, Night Owl
Little 1 - Illustrator, Adventurer, Reader
Little 2 - Collector of Tiny Things, Creature Lover, Illustrator
Scout - Protector, Snuggle Expert, Professional Napper
The Story of the Little Forest really begins with the grandparents (our parents). Both of us grew up camping, hiking and fishing.
Andy's parents took him and his brother and sister on an RV tour to many memorable places around the US, sparking his love for adventure and exploration.
My parents were heavily involved in environmental activism throughout my childhood and teenage years. Growing up, they ensured my sister and I spent as much time outdoors as possible. We camped, hiked and portaged all throughout Minnesota and the Midwest. We spent countless nights stargazing next to campfires, watching fireflies dance throughout the trees and paddling through pristine waters. It completely shaped my respect for the natural world and my desire to conserve it for future generations.
That whole “future generation” thing became a lot more important when we had our two boys.
Giving them the same experiences with the great outdoors that we had growing up is always a top priority. Spending time completely immersed in nature has become incredibly important to our family because of how much we learn, and how close it brings us.
“Time spent among trees is never time wasted.”
So we decided we'd buy some land. After half a lifetime of dreaming, years of planning and many months of on-the-ground searching, we finally found the perfect parcel, right in between three gorgeous lakes right outside of Ely, MN. We closed on our dream parcel in 2019.
After just two years of owning that land, we decided we needed to move to Ely full time. We sold our house in South St. Paul in August of 2021 and moved up to the Ely area in September. With a plan to build, we rented temporarily while working toward getting a construction loan. This all happened at the height of the COVID-related supply chain issues at the height of build costs, eventually forcing us to throw in the towel on our build. Disappointment quickly turned to excitement when we were given the opportunity to purchase a lakefront 1920s railroad section house, just minutes from our acreage. We call it the Rail House.
So now, we spend time at both our camp on 10 acres building a homestead, and renovating our 4-bedroom home on a lake. Someday, we plan on building on our acreage, but for now we're thoroughly enjoying living between the two spaces, hosting friends and family at our land and bringing the Rail House back to life!