How gladly would I meet mortality, my sentence, and be earth in sensible!
How glad would lay me down, as in my mother's lap!
There I should rest, and sleep secure. John Milton
A place of beauty year round:
The Meadow in Autumn
The Meadow in Winter
The Meadow in Spring
The Meadow in Summer
Some Wildlife close to The Meadow
History of The Winona Farm
Links to other Green Burial sites and information
We are situated in the beautiful bluffland of South East Minnesota, a few miles from the center of Winona, a city nestled between the Missippi River and Lake Winona.
We have such strong feelings about modern burials that we decided that this was not what we wanted for ourselves, our loved ones or friends. Because of our desire to be buried in a natural way, with our bodies returned to Mother Earth and giving back the way Nature intended, we sought approval for a Natural Burial site here on the farm. Approval has been given for a Green Cemetery within a three acre meadow and it has been recorded on the platt. Unlike modern cemeteries there will be no embalming of the body, no buried concrete vaults and often no coffin. Coffins used would be a simple pine box, many people opting for natural burial choose a shroud or even just a favorite blanket. The only stipulation is that it must be biodegradable.
We will have a horse drawn wagon used to transport the deceased to the grave and another wagon for the family and friends. The Meadow overlooks the creek and a diversely rich natural area. We will be building a gazebo where people can sit quietly in this wonderfully peaceful area five hundred feet away from the road and protected from the view of passing motorists by a line of trees, and about 600ft from the nearest buildings, which will in time be hidden by maturing trees planted to give The Meadow an even more secluded, private feeling. There are hills close by on three sides of The Meadow and a creek between it and the closest hill. If you walk to the edge of the field where the gazebo will sit you can look down over a natural area, with grass land, marshes, a creek and woods. There is an abundance of birds and other wildlife and we will encourage birds closer to the gazebo with bird feeders.
We welcome people to visit The Meadow and surrounding natural areas during happier times to hike the trails, or just sit and enjoy the peace. I envision The Meadow and the adjoining area as being a place for the living, a place where families might visit to celebrate life, where the people who would like to be buried might come and help restore some of the area where buckthorn is invading the grassy hillsides. Or just come and walk on the trails by the creek, even have a picnic. Visitors would need to park their cars and walk a few hundred feet to The Meadow, this makes visiting a healthy outdoor pursuit, however anyone who has difficulties walking the distance due to age, health or disabilities can be transported out to the meadow in a horse drawn vehicle, for a donation to the person who hitched up the horse and drove them out there and back.
Our "hours" for visitors to The Meadow would be from "Sunrise to Sunset", much easier to remember than time marked by a clock. If anyone wanted a funeral service at dawn or sunset, we would allow them to be here outside our normal hours for the service and burial.
We will be using several systems for recording where each burial site is. Most reliable on a long term basis is the good old fashioned measuring the distance from two set objects, two tape measures intersecting gives you the exact spot. Surveyors magnetized nails, easily detected with a metal detector and long lasting in the ground will be a second method of marking the gravesites, and last but not least, GPS co-ordinates. This will not be used to determine an exact position of a body when digging the next plot, if there is a long time between burials we would use method #1 to know exactly where the last burial site was, so the next one could be dug at a suitable distance away. We will be starting at the south-west corner of The Meadow and going along left to right, row by row. If someone has a spouse or other family member who wants an adjacent plot we would skip the next place and leave it vacant for them.
Each burial will be recorded in several ways, a book available for visitors to use, another book kept securely locked away, on our computer, stored on an external hard drive and also online. This should ensure the safe keeping of the information.
The Meadow will be a place of life... no headstones, no fake flowers, the only planting above most of the burial sites would be of prairie plants suitable for hay and grazing, the desire is for The Meadow to remain just that... a meadow.