howdy fella

it was just about a year ago when our 2013 apprentice asked if she could return for a second year of farmer training. it might not sound like much to you, but for us it was a big step . we have a 15 year old, well curated, fairly defined single season apprenticeship program here and hadn’t really embraced advanced training in all of our years of mentoring. last wintry winter when we met and talked and planned for the 2015 season, we decided to take the plunge and welcome her back: challenging all of us to reach beyond our well established comfort zone.



it was later that spring, right when the season started to unfurl rapidly, when i got the phone call. our soon to be second year apprentice  was unexpectedly pregnant. “could i still come? “she asked. large decisions, an unknown future, and no partner  “would you still welcome me?”

“with open arms” i said, “no matter what.”

so the hill and hollow 16th season began. what unfolded here on our farm in 2015 is a tale to be told.   it is the tale of a young woman trying to make tough decisions. it is the tale of myself and my family attempting to support that process.  it is the tale of a rocking community of folks gathering in the fields to listen, advise and welcome (and manage those fields that feed us all). it is the tale of one special midwife. it is the tale of people coming together in support of each other. it is the tale of a diverse group of folks taking paths not easily taken, making commitments from our hearts.  

today i am proud. proud of my family, my friends, my greater community and proud of deanna. she remained steadfast in her commitment to her self and her babe now just hours old. while cultivating and composting and planting and harvesting and putting up hay and moving sheep the weeks passed into months. she was envisioning herself  as a farmer, as a shepherd, and as a single mom.


a new life has begun in the crazy hills and hollows of south central kentucky.  deanna’s journey into motherhood has begun and we can all welcome a little boy.


well, hello there

It’s been awhile, huh?

I guess I sorta lost track of time since my sweet Elowyn came into the world. Maybe you can see why…IMGP2628She has rocked my world in so many ways. From her 1 hour and 37 minute labor and arriving before the midwife, to the way she continues to smile even when she is clearly upset. I am seriously in love. The whole family is. She has my heart in her hands and when she gives me her big toothless grin I utterly melt. I just can’t help it. And gee whiz… would you just look at those toes? How on earth could I possibly get anything done?IMGP2653My fourth baby. Not in the game plan that Eric and I had laid out but I cannot imagine my life without this little love child. I think maybe the six year gap between her and my second youngest, Livi, has really alerted my brain to the reality of just how fast the “baby” turns into the child. I don’t plan on missing a minute. So hopefully it won’t be another three months before I check in to this space again, but if it is, just know that my baby and I are having a really good time.IMGP2652IMGP2662(And FYI, I seem to be able to post more updates on Instagram these days so come say hello there @bugtusslecher )