blessed

twenty years ago i was introduced to farming. twenty years ago i met the man who would become my husband. it was the summer of 1994 when paul and i found our way to illinois’ premier csa farm seeking what, i couldn’t say precisely.  angelic organics was the place and farmer john peterson was our host and mentor for those precious life changing months. in the two decades that have passed so much has transpired. fueled by our vision,  we purchased this land and created hill and hollow csa. we have married and birthed 3 children. we have maintained contact with our farmer mentor over all these years, but it was just this week that we saw farmer john again. it took twenty years of begging, but we got him to visit our farm.

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to walk these fields with the man that introduced us to the farm life was pure joy. to host him and his lovely wife in our home was an honor. to share with him what we have created and to include him in our visions for the future hill and hollow farm stay was a peak moment in our career. thanks for coming over john and haidy, hope we don’t have to wait another 20 years to drink coffee together again.

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

inspired

we hosted our first CRAFT event of the 2014 season here on the farm yesterday. i believe it might just go without saying that i was beyond inspired by our region’s finest farmers

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my beloved farmwives

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the most lovely posse of farm kids ever

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and all the devoted young farmers in training

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the hand cranked ice cream just topped it all off