Moving the Farm – – – – The Farm Website That Is

Folks, in an effort to simplify my writing life and open up more farm time, we’re moving this show over to my regular blog – 

I’ll still be blogging about the farm specifically on Sundays, and I may write more about it since I won’t be balancing two sites. . . so if you’d like, please come over and visit there.  You can subscribe here – – and get all my posts in your inbox.  You’ll stay up to date on all the events here on the farm as well as the other things going on in our life.

I’m so grateful for your interest in our little Virginia homestead.  I hope you’ll follow us across the web.

Much Love!

Choosing A Life

Once, I stood on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, NC – the town where I spent the years of my childhood  – and listened.  Snow and ice had shut down the Parkway itself, but we had driven up to the gate and gotten out, following my desire to be in the air that had so given me joy as a child. Solitude, Silence, Wintry day

On Sunday afternoons, my family often drove up to that parkway and had a picnic – sometimes with friends, sometimes just the four of us.  We’d walk the trails near the picnic areas, or my brother and I would tumble over the giant rocks there, never aware that we were doing something for which there was a term – “bouldering.”  Those afternoons still hold a glowing place in my memory – they were the days on which I had no responsibility, which was a gift for someone whose sense of responsibility came with her first breath of oxygen.

So here I was, a woman in her 20s, back on this road, trying to regain that joy . . . . I stood as still as possible and listened.  The crackle of trees swaying. The hum of crisp air against the inside of my lungs.  I could have stood there all day in the silence of nature.  But he was ready to go . . . as my first husband would always be, it turns out . . .

I was the one who could live longer with silence.


This morning, I woke at 4am, a puppy chewing on the hair at the nape of my neck, my hips achy from 8 already hours in bed.  I climbed up and carried Mosey to the front door and then penguinned my way across the porch to the steps so he could do his business.

The farmyard, the neighborhood, the whole space was silent with the snow and ice that claimed yesterday.  I filled myself up with it and stared at the streetlamp fuzzed in the distance . . . Narnia?

Now, 2 hours later, I am still awake, while Meander and Mosey have tucked themselves into the fleece blanket and the sleep beside me.  I could have returned to bed, too, pushed myself back to sleep again.  But something said that wakefulness in this silence was what I needed.  The something was right.  I feel rested, restored, filled. . .

It is easy to fill days with doing; it is not as easy to fill oneself that way.

Maybe it’s that I’m 40 now. Maybe it’s that I’ve finally found THE man who can abide this silence with me. Maybe it’s that I have heeded the tug at my soul that says I need open space and physical work and fewer people that makes my muscles take precedence of my mind.  Maybe it’s that I am now able to claim what I need first – the oxygen mask on my own face before I give it away.

But now, more than anytime in my life, I am willing to live into what I need, to grasp it, to seize it – even if it means taking the silence at 4am on an icy, late winter’s morning.


On Memorial Day a couple of years back, Philip, his parents, and I packed a lunch and climbed the Blue Ridge Parkway for a picnic.  It was cold – raining with the threat of sleet on that May day – and we shivered as we ate sandwiches and chips at a rustic picnic table at the edge of the woods. I was becoming part of their long-time family tradition of picnics on the Parkway now.

Later that afternoon, Philip drove us to the Pepsi parking lot in Charlottesville, where we climbed aboard a hot air balloon. I had always wanted to go up in one – ever since I had been too scared as a child to take the opportunity to go aloft in a tethered balloon with the local weatherman when I was about 6.  So here we were, floating above the reservoir, friends’ texting me from the Target parking lot below, when I got a new text – “Will you Marty” it read. . . and I looked up to see the beautiful sapphire ring I wear now.

“Don’t drop it,” I said before my yes.

And I meant the ring. But I also meant this life – our aloft life where I have the space to breath deep the silence with the most loving man I know beside me. I also meant this moment.  I also meant me.


It is easy to fill life up – to take just the next thing that comes, to go into day and then into night without really breathing.  I know – I did it for years.

But not anymore.  Now, I choose each day.  I choose this man who took me flying and proposed over a farm.  I choose our life here – full of ice and poop and the purple light of dawn. I choose dogs who wake me at 4am only to go right back to sleep.

I choose me.  And the silence I need.

We have lots of new things happening here on the farm in the coming months – including a NEW loom-knitting workshop in May.  Check out our Events page to get the details and plan to join us here soon. 

Help Us Build A Barn

On Friday, Josh Fox from Superior Buildings came by to look at our barn site, help us sketch the final plans, and give us a sense of the time frame for when our new barn will be done – looks like it’ll be up and functional by April – maybe even in time for Shawn Smucker’s reading here.  I cannot tell you how excited I am.

Our Barn Site Prep

The Barn Site Before And After Did the Prep

Which, to be honest, is just a little surprising because, well, this barn will not be what I had long imagined – a huge, wooden, bank barn with a stone foundation.  We simply don’t have the finances for that kind of structure.

So instead, we’re getting a 40 x 60 x 12′ metal pole barn.  Inside, we’ll have a wide open space for our agricultural needs – goat milk processing, farm workshops, etc. – as well as more creative activities like readings and concerts.  We’re also building Philip a workshop to work on farm equipment, create beautiful wooden crafts pieces, and do a little car maintenance.  – oil changes at a reasonable will be a service available when you visit.

Plus, we’re going to have a bunk room, so that writers and musicians who come to retreat here have a place to stay, and a bathroom.  The animals will have a warm shelter, and we’ll have space to keep kids (the goat kind) and mamas safe when we breed.  And we’ll have hay storage out our ears.  Yahoo!

Several folks have been asking how they can help, so here are a few ideas:

1. Subscribe to this blog and like our Facebook page.  At a point in the near future, we hope to offer relevant, carefully chosen ads here, and the more subscribers and followers we have, the more likely we are to get really good advertisers.  (By the way, that’s true of any blogs you love – when you subscribe, you help as well as get good information.)

2. Create unique, hand-made items for us to sell in our farm store or Etsy shopIn the next few weeks, I will be prepping the old Voting House to be a farm store, where people can come in to buy eggs and veggie. There, we will also e selling hand-made items like my crochet, Dad’s walking sticks, my cousin Jackie’s blankets, and Philip’s woodworking.  We will also be listing those items in our Etsy shop.  The creator receives 90% of the profits, and we simply take 10% to cover our costs and support the work here.  Email me at if you’d like more details.

Mosey's Photo Contest

Vote for Me to Win the Modern Dog Photo Contest -

3. Share these posts, our Facebook page, and our Etsy shop with your friends.  The more people who are joining this group of Whisperers, the more success we will have, and the more we will be able to offer to people who need respite and rest.

4. Attend our events (and suggest events for our space.) We want to have regular workshops, readings, and concerts here – and we’d like to offer those at minimal or no cost as much as possible.  So check out our crochet class next weekend, consider attending one of our writing retreats, or suggest a workshop that you’d like to attend or TEACH.  We’re open to lots of new ideas.

5. Share your ideas.  We would love to hear from you about what you’d like to see here in terms of programs, space, even animals.  (I think a miniature donkey is definitely in our future.)  Feel free to post links on our Facebook page, email us, or comment below with your suggestions.

We’ll be posting regular updates on the barn raising, and on Facebook, we’ll have pictures galore.  So stay tuned for this part of our journey together.

Thank you for all the ways you love on us.


The Barn Site, Destruction, and Community

Be joyful because it is humanly possible. – Wendell Berry

As I write, Dad is on the skid steer that we were graciously allowed to borrow. He’s putting the final touches on the site for the barn – a 40x60x12-foot structure.  The farmyard looks a bit destroyed right now.  As Philip said, “It looks like there was a major tractor trailer accident in the front yard.” Yet, sometimes, progress requires a bit of tearing open first.

Goat Feeding Stanchion

Philip made this stanchion for the goats. It allows us to trim their hooves and feel them, and come spring, we’ll shear the cashmere girls here, too.

I’m loving it.  Every time we take a few steps closer to the dream, I get giddy. 

Later today, Dad will double-dig our garden patch, too, saving us hours of work as he preps the asparagus and strawberry beds and does the final touch on the main garden patch.

Yesterday, he moved two quince bushes over by the garden edge, and today, we’ll prep the space, too, for the place that our rows of sugar maple will line the driveway.

This morning, when Mosey woke me at 5:40 and Dad woke early, too, he and I sat in the reading room and talked – racism, his childhood, farming.  We chatted about how we’ll open the farm store and how he might make some furniture to sell there, and his support has sparked me again.  From the moment I had this dream, he has not only gotten behind me, but he’s jumped into big machines and prepared the way.  I could not be more grateful for him.

And Philip, well, the man worked himself to achyness yesterday – disassembling the fence so Dad could get to the barnyard, taking down the old swing set the previous owners left because it was unstable, and gathering then splitting firewood.  Today, he’s sore, but he’s already headed out to get diesel for the equipment.  A remarkably good man there, the best one, I know.

Bella and Boone, our Great Pyrenees

Bella always reclines to eat. Boone is a little too anxious for that option.

Some farmers build their places without parents and partners, but no farmer I know does this work alone.  We NEED other people to support us, to help us, to speak words of support and enthusiasm into what we do.  I am so thankful for all of you, the Whisperers, who have dreamed this place with us, who have sent gifts and bought plaques for the goat fence, who recommend our Etsy shopWe would not be able to build this place without you. 

In a bit, Heather and Henry will come to have brunch with us, and Philip’s parents may stop by with Dexter (Mosey’s littermate) later today.  Our community of presence sharing our space.  We hope you’ll join that part of the community, too.  Stop by, sometime.  I’ll make you tea.


On February 21 from 1-4pm, I am teaching a crochet class here on the farm.  If you’ve always wanted to crochet or just want to join us for a bit of conversation while we stitch, you are most welcome.  I’ll provide the lessons and the materials.  You provide the fingers and the presence.  $15.  Comment below to reserve your space.  More information is available here.

The First Dangles of Spring

I can taste spring with my back teeth – the scent of fresh earth, the grit of garden dirt, the onions fresh cut with the first mow.  I have never craved spring quite so much as I do this year.

I fairly ache with anticipation.

I’ve pulled out the garden catalogs and planned my seed order.  It’s ambitious – very ambitious – for our first year here.  But I am eager to try some new things – asparagus, ornamental corn.  Plus, my herb garden, oh, where will I put my herb garden.  I think I’ll spend some of today scouting.

The first dangles of spring life are tiny, subtle. The flower buds on the dogwoods and fruit trees swell like they’re taking a deep breath.  I noticed iris shoots just coming up beside the west side of the house, next to the frozen icicle that has appeared on our single, leaky outdoor faucet.  And when Mosey was doing his business yesterday, I swear the wild onions looked just a bit greener.

But first, we have February to abide in, what will Phil, the prognosticating critter say, tomorrow. Will I be gritting my teeth through March, too?

No matter. We have grow lights in the basement, so baby seeds can fill the air with fresh oxygen and I can feel dirt beneath my fingernails.  The goats will keep their extra fluff, and the chickens will continue to fill their single, communal nest with eggs as the days lengthen.

I will find more books and seize the daylit minutes to double-dig the garden patch and prep the strawberry hill.  We can dig holes for the tiny sugar maples that will soon line the driveway.  And we have my office to finish – we picked up the paint (a golden orange called “Mac N Cheese,” which fits so well since that’s Philip’s favorite food) and the wiring supplies.  I’ll be in there come spring, I hope.

Meanwhile, I revel in the glory of multi-colored eggs and the frisky hops of a puppy.  I sit quiet with a book and Meander by my side.  I watch the goats frolic on their houses as if they were climbing mountains while Bella and Boone snuggle up with the cat Sabeen. I take a few minutes to celebrate the sun while Jelly Roll takes her name to life on the front porch in the beams. And Philip and I sit on the couch, hands entwined, movies on the screen, and listen to the Kitten Derby upstairs.

It’s winter, and it’s lovely. And spring is coming with stories and blooms I have yet to know.

What are you looking forward to about spring? 


By the way, if you live in our area, we are beginning to sell of our fresh, free-range eggs.  They are $3 a dozen, so let us know if you’d like some.  Thanks.

Adding Mosey to the Menagerie

Yesterday, Philip and I moved through a local pet store, gathering things we needed for the new puppies – ours and our in-laws (Mosey and Dexter, respectively). A pair of Nylabones, tiny collars with tags that have their names and our phone numbers, piddle pads (with scented targets), a crate for Dexter, a couple of stuffing-less toys (Meander guts stuffed things in seconds), and lots and lots of puppy food.

Goat lifting. :)

Olive is not a lightweight girl.

Then, we got cat food for our five cats, compostable cat litter for the indoor kitties, and dog food for Bella and Boone. (Meander already has a stockpile.)  By the time we were done, we could barely turn the cart.

We had already loaded 50 pounds of chicken feed and 50 pounds of goat feed in the back of Trapper the Subaru, and we were definitely low-ridin’ as we headed off to get the food we needed for the two humans in this menagerie.

Come April, we’ll be adding 15 chickens to this mix and then – for now – we’re done.  In time, we hope to bring in a couple of alpacas and maybe a German Shepherd to the dog pack.  But now, our cart – and our lives – feel full.  It’s glorious.

It’s also a lot of food.  :)

Come June, we’ll be putting up a barn to give the goats and dogs more places to get out of the weather, and Philip will have a workshop there so he can build the other things we need here. (This weekend, he whipped up a chicken feeding station from some scrap wood.)  We’ll have space to put in stainless steel tables for goat cheese (in the future), and I’m hoping to acquire an old spinning wheel so I can turn the cashmere gals’ fiber into yarn.  Really, it’s so exciting.  So very exciting.

But today, my excitement is going to wrap itself around a little round puppy belly when we pick up Mosey at 11am today.  For years, I’ve wanted a basset hound.  I can’t really say why beyond the fact they are absolutely goofy looking, laid-back, hound dogs.  At Christmas each year, Mom would buy me a basset hound calendar, and I’d stare at those droopy eyes and ears and dream.  Another of my life’s dreams come true.  

Plus, we get the added bonus of having his brother Dexter live with my in-laws.  Whew, that’ll be 7 dogs between us.  That’s a lot of pup.

So stay tuned to our Facebook page for puppy pics and day to day updates on things here on the Farm – a little bit of peaceful here in the Virginia foothills.

May your day be full of all the joy found in goat hooves, kitten paws, dog tongues, and chicken feathers. 


If you’re interested in supporting the work we do here, we’d love that.  Please check out our Farm Store, or visit our Etsy shop – if you need a custom order of crochet or cross-stitch, please let me know. I’m happy to see what I can do that matches my skills to your budget.

And local folks, we have fresh eggs – just $3 a dozen. :)


Candles, Books, Bankies

So sorry I missed posting last week.  Our friend Kathy was in town, and I just forgot, honestly, in the joy of having her here. 

Goats at God's Whisper Farm

The goats do geometry in the pasture. We call this one “arc.” (Note, Acorn has secured the prime spot in the form.)

Yesterday, Philip and I deep-cleaned the farmhouse.  The idea was mine – even though typically Philip has much higher standards of clean that I do – and was prompted, I think, by the mud outside.  Normally, I love winter, but these wet, cold months this year have begun to weary me already, the slipping through mud to feed the goats, the chicken run thick with mud and poo, and Boone’s incessant need to put his giant muddy paws on my legs.  I’m ready for spring, particularly to see what comes to life with color in this new yard of ours. I’m hoping for scads of daffodils and snow drops.

But in the meantime, when most of our hours are spent inside, I’m working to make this place as cozy* as possible.  To that end, I have 3 things I have worked to include in each and every room:

  • Candles – Philip bought me one with the scent of old books for the reading room.
  • Books – Something for people to pick up and peruse should they set a spell.
  • Blankets – I called them “bankies” when I was little, and that term has stuck. Our house is not always warm, but I hope the blankets keep things comfy for everyone.

I also want to get live plants into as many spaces as I can because they help keep the air clean but also because they create a sort of atmosphere, too, don’t you think?

So here, in these slowly growing days, we are taking these hours to shape our home – for us but also for you – so that when you visit, you find the comfort, rest, and reflection time you need.

What makes a room feel particularly cozy to you?

*By the way, Mosey the Basset Hound puppy will arrive in a week or so.  We’ve already begun calling him Cozy Mosey.


We have lots of great events in store for the farm in the coming months, including a crochet class in February. We hope you’ll join us for some of them.  Check out the full list here –