After crossing the street in front of their "small house" on the outskirts of the village of Sanford, Ben Cohen stands by as his son Elijah, 6, goes off to school. In the fall of 2013 Cohen made a lifestyle change when he quit his corporate job at State Farm to become a full-time farmer. With the help of his wife, Heather, they have created a simple style living.
A free-range chicken makes a dart for the open door, an attempt the chickens make multiple times per day. On occasion they will make it a few feet inside before they are caught and shooed back out.
Heather works on preparing a variety of pancake mixes for the upcoming farmers markets. With the season coming to an end, Ben and Heather have been attending up to five markets per week in the Midland, Saginaw, Mt. Pleasant, Lansing and Kalamazoo areas.
Heather Cohen dresses her youngest son Anakin, 1, in his older brother's hand-me-downs as Ben, left, waits to take Anakin outside to work on cleaning out the chicken coop. She quit her corporate job in August to join Ben in pursuing their dreams of watching their business and children grow.
After picking Anakin up off the ground Ben points to smushed chicken feces as he says, "look at what you were just laying in!" The farm had six free-range chickens until they discover one became a rooster.
Elijah Cohen, 6, makes his way from the duck nest to the chicken pen collecting eggs on a Saturday afternoon. In an effort to get Elijah involved, Ben and Heather gave him the opportunity to pick out the breeds of chickens along with naming them.
Elijah, holding the bean fence open is graced by his dad as he passes by to help Heather, left, reap the beans from the garden. Every other bean Elijah picked went straight to his mouth as he continued to snack while he worked.
With his squirt gun ready Elijah keeps a close eye on the deer Matt Middleton, a local farmer, hoists out of a freezer to send home to the Cohen family. Middleton had asked Ben that morning at the farmers market if he wanted the deer, a gesture he made the previous year. Only having to purchase butcher wrap and duct tape Ben gratefully accepted.
The initial plan to sneak up on a group of ducks splashing around in a plastic pool led to a chase that had the ducks fleeting the back yard as Elijah follows close behind.
Elijah, shows his father a virtual garden he built in a new game he picked up from school as Anakin, center, grips onto a book on the front porch of their home. Taking a break from harvesting, The Cohen family took a break from harvesting as they enjoyed the warm fall day.
Heather and Ben share a kiss after packing up the vehicle for Ben and Anakin to run some errands together on a Wednesday afternoon. With Elijah at school and Anakin with Ben, it gave Heather a few solid hours to get work done for the business.