restore part two

i suspect we knew what we were getting into when we began that project before we finished the last one again and again and again and again and again

you know what i mean? we have some kind of habit of starting something new and big just right before we completed the last new and big thing. is it just me? golly.

so spring is here, officially.  as farmers we should be focusing our complete attention on all that is happening as the 2015 season unfolds. alas, we are still working diligently on our farm stay project that i wrote so much about last fall.  quite honestly, Farmer Paul is more of a general contractor these days. as i walked around the space the other day, i realized i was long overdue for a public update. i shared so much with you as i launched our indiegogo campaign and reached our goal late last fall. with the funding and support of so many fine folks, we have spent most of our winter and early spring transforming the place. we are far far from finished, but the structure is there, the space has been redefined, and we are so pleased with the progress.

all of the walls needed to be rebuilt to house the new plumbing required

all of the walls needed to be rebuilt to house the new plumbing required

you totally want to stay here, don't you?

you totally want to stay here, don’t you?

the color and history in these walls is amazing

the color and history in these walls is amazing

soon the plumber will arrive and work his magic, the walls will be closed and we will open our doors. workshops. events. the calendar is filling up. but wait. i am getting ahead of myself. again.


i am standing in the middle of your dream

paul and i were married on our farm, 2 years nearly to the day after we signed the papers deeming us land owners. we were surrounded by dear ones from near and far, friends old and new, and had our first born (then a toddler) with us as we exchanged our vows. during the ceremony we asked that anyone moved to speak do so. many shared their thoughts and feelings on that august day. one friend, a dutch woman we met years before while living and working in indonesia, shared her joy with all in attendance as she realized she stood there in the midst of our dream. even then, over a decade ago, our farm still in its infancy, it was clear to those that knew us, we are actively, energetically, pursuing our dream.


we are solidly on our path now, just 2 weeks shy of completing our 15th year of CSA deliveries, our farm business thrives. we have built these acres from the ground up, erecting homes and barns and shelters and greenhouses. our family has grown, our farm has expanded and guess what? so have our dreams! we have this funny little habit of constantly stretching ourselves. looking back proudly on all we have accomplished in these 16 years here, we also look ahead excitedly to our next project: the hill and hollow farm stay.


an integral part of our work is cultivating community: the eaters that consume the food we grow, the young farmers who gather monthly for our CRAFT meetings, the apprentices that work and learn with us. short and long term guests have been a part of our lives from this farm’s beginnings. we know now that to truly further the educational work that we do, we need more infrastructure. we need the space to host, share and educate the ever growing number of folks that NEED to reconnect with their food supply and spend time surrounded by the simple restorative beauty of nature.


to that end, we have purchased an amazing property just miles from our main farm. we have actively begun restoring the hundred year old farm house to accommodate guests and now the time has come to renovate the old farm kitchen. we want it to be a certified facility to allow us to truly share all that we have to offer. in this kitchen we will teach guests how to make cheese from fresh milk and how to preserve the summer’s bounty. in this kitchen, we will cook and serve any and all that want to dine on foods fresh from the fields prepared with loving hands.


we are running an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign to raise money to complete this project. now, we are sending our message out far and wide: join us. delight in the excitement. consider a donation. dare to share this invitation with a friend. dive into the middle of our dreams. we want you to.



restore part one

the time has come to offer a glimpse into our latest project

2 years ago, almost to the day, we purchased a 4 acre property 3 miles from our main farm. the ridge top farmstead with it’s turn of the century house, two perfect outbuildings and a barn better than any on our main farm enchanted us. despite the fact that our original hopes for the property didn’t go as planned (does anything ever??)  we were in love with the place and wanted to keep trying.


we were in way over our heads, honestly, we can barely manage what we have right here. projects are left undone or partially done all the time. spread too thin, we realized, how could we possibly start yet another enormous project?


it was the late fall of 2013, after an amazing amount of conversation (speckled with a small amount of sulking) we tapped into our larger community. in an elaborate email, i reached out to former apprentices, old friends, neighbors, and many of our CSA shareholders with my plea:   join us, work with us, expand with us, make this happen. you know what?  those calls were answered. so much advice and clarity, and one young man, our 2011 apprentice andy, wanted to come back. it took a fair bit of conversation, an even larger amount of faith, and an enormous volume of respect, but we have solidified the vision. with andy’s return that first week of may 2014,  the hill and hollow farm stay was truly born.


the project is huge and our resources sparse. the farm house renovation is so extensive, i dare not even describe it here, but we remain encouraged. you see, i am inspired from a weekend of cheer.  with 5 fine folks from illinois visiting andy in his new spot and a friend of danielle’s from california staying on the farm, we had a large group celebrating the sun and the expansion of the hill and hollow community.  it was a good weekend, one of opening our doors wider than we thought imaginable, one spent dining on the fruits of our labor and sharing insights into the value of a life pursued with passion and truth.


i am a true believer in the power of creative visualization, of the strength of community and the clarity that comes from discussion.  a series of events that culminated in a grand solstice celebration have led me here to declare the project underway.  what does that mean? it means we are talking about it, we are sharing the vision with folks dear to us and new friends.  we are gathering strength around a project that we might just be ill prepared to execute. despite the fact that we have clearly bitten off more than we can chew,  the vision is being refined. we don’t have the expertise to do it all,  but we have one critical component: friends.  new and old, near and far, we love people and people are what make all things happen.


so dear readers, gather your people, share your vision, and watch it unfold.