Written by: Jean Ferdinandsen, Certified Arborist WI-0149A
“BIG SKY” doesn’t usually describe Wisconsin, but it’s the dream John & Cindy Lindstedt have built near Sullivan in Jefferson County.
After growing up in the same neighborhood in NW Milwaukee, they went off to different colleges. A date during a holiday break ignited a romance and started them on a life track together.
When in high school, John and Cindy each attended “Trees for Tomorrow.” John always loved trees and would frequent local nurseries for specimens and to glean information. Cindy loved flowers and eventually became a certified Master Gardener.
They fell in love with Montana and enjoyed hunting and camping trips with good friends. At one time they looked to buy land and a log home there. But soon came the realization that with a business and family in Southeast Wisconsin, the opportunities to spend time there would be limited.
So they decided to bring Montana to Wisconsin and build “Big Sky” ranch here. In 1993 they purchased 125 acres of rolling farm land and a log home and barns were built to accommodate their family of three children and their animals. Parts of the land are in a woodland management program. Pastures were used to raise registered Polled Hereford beef cattle and graze their Tennessee Walking Horses.
Through the years, gnarly thickets of buckthorn and other invasive plants have been removed. Cindy works hard on the beautiful perennial gardens surrounding the house, buildings and along the drive. John has selected and planted many trees with an eye to diversity and multi-season interest. They work together to document and label their efforts and have hosted several garden tours as well as donated plants for the annual Southeastern Wisconsin Master Gardener plant sale.
The results of their stewardship has created a beautiful place: “Big Sky Rocking L Ranch.”