Yarn and Wood – The Treasure of the Handmade

Wood and Yarn - The Treasure of the Handmade
Photo by Imani on Unsplash

I don’t know if you guys watched it this summer, but I fell in love with the TV show Making It! about people who made amazing things by hand – puppet theaters and star-gazing cabins, handmade wedding arbors and fascinating photo albums. I watched – not as someone who wanted to do those things – but as someone who knows the joy of making things with her hands.  (I also watched because I love Nick Offerman and came to love Amy Poehler more and more.)

But the show was just the TV version of the appreciation of artisan work that I’ve had since I was a kid. My mom and dad made a lot of things when I was a kid, and they taught me to do the same. Dad sat us down with soapstone blocks and taught us to carve them, and Mom put a need and  Aida fabric in my still-clumsy fingers to show me how to cross-stitch. I watched my dad use railroad ties to build an elaborate rock garden, and my mom crafted beautiful wreaths from dried flowers.  They modeled for me that working with your hands – even in a small scale – is a work of commitment and creativity.

Now, when I pick up a crochet hook or needle, I treasure those memories with them, and I know that when I have the opportunity to buy something that someone else has handmade, I am supporting them not only financially but creatively.  (I also know that we often under-pay for work that takes many, many hours to create, and I find that very sad.)  There’s nothing better, to me, than handmade gifts.

So it’s always with great joy and excitement that I plan our annual craft fair here at the farm.  This year, we’re having our show just in time for the last weeks of holiday shopping – December 1. The barn doors will open at 9am, and we’ll have hand-crafted coffee tables and coat hangers, crocheted scarves and onesies, handmade walking sticks and much more (including cross-stitch Christmas items if I can get my fingers going.)*  Plus, we’ll have the woodstove going and hot cider for the sharing.  It’s going to be a lovely day.

Plan on stopping by and doing a little shopping and a little visiting.  Your children are welcome to visit with our animals, and you can take a walk round the farm if you’d like.  We hope to see you December 1 between 9am and 4pm in the barn.  

*We would love to have you join us as an artisan if you have handmade wares to sell.  Just email [email protected] to get the details.

Asphalt Chunks and Unexpected Gifts

Asphalt and the Blessing of Unexpected GiftsLast week, just after Philip got home and we were beginning the dinner process, a truck with all the accoutrements of construction came down our driveway.  A man walked up to our door, and as I met him on the porch in my bare feet, he said, “Do you all want some asphalt crumble?”

I’m sure my face looked puzzled because when I hear crumble, I think dessert! I couldn’t quite compute how asphalt became edible, but I knew better than to say so. So I called Philip. “Do we want asphalt crumble?”

My savvy husband said, “Yes, Yes we do.”  And he proceeded to give the man direction on where to dump it.

About then, I realized they were talking about the tailings from the rumble strips they were putting into the middle of the road at the end of our driveway.  Now, it made sense.

This is how we have a big pile of double-yellow-line tinted asphalt in our driveway.  And every time I see it, I get giddy because gravel is expensive, y’all, and when you have a quarter-mile of driveway plus a barn that is graveled all the way around and a parking area by your farm stand, it’s no small thing to get a HUGE load of free gravel.

Plus, now we have a tractor to spread the stuff, which makes it all gift and almost no burden.  And we are keeping a pile of tar-caked mess to end up who knows where.   All goodness.

Life still feels overwhelming as we continue to adjust to life with the most joyful and cutest baby on the planet, but sometimes gifts of grace come in really unexpected places.

May you get unexpected gifts that you didn’t even know to ask for this week, friends, and may they give you joy.


Friends, if you haven’t gone over an liked our Facebook or Instagram pages, I hope you will. We post lots of great stuff there regularly.  🙂 

All Places Tell Stories – A Guest Post by Ashley Hales

I met Ashley Hales a few years ago through a group for woman writers who are Christians. I was immediately impressed by her soft, strong spirit, so today, I am thrilled to bring you an excerpt from her new book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs.* As someone who loathes the suburbs with an active passion and who, like Ashley herself, considers herself only able to live in the city or, much more preferably, in the rural world, this book reminds me of something important  – God shows up everywhere. Enjoy Ashley’s words and wisdom. 
All Places Tell Stories - A Guest Post by Ashley HalesFor a woman who craved the cultural hub of a city or the idyllic freedom of a rural life, I bristled about a move to the suburbs. I was happy in Salt Lake City. The city was booming: ski resorts were a short drive away, diversity was increasing as more immigrants moved in, and restaurants were popping up with award-winning international cuisines downtown.

Moving home held out its charms: I was excited about proximity to family, how a newer house meant less things falling apart than in our old house, and we wouldn’t have to learn a new place. But, I wondered, how would I find belonging in the suburbs where everyone—even their houses—looked the same?

I craved sustainability, depth, meaning, nuance—the things you find in a city, I reasoned, or at least in the type of rural life championed by Wendell Berry. How did this move fit; how could I fit? Underneath this superiority was a deep fear that I couldn’t cut it: I wasn’t pretty enough or successful enough. Could I find belonging in the suburbs, or would I be a misfit?

I’m comforted by the biblical precedent of God’s people laughing at his plans—backing into corners and running off in the opposite direction. I feel kin to Jonah, thinking he was too good for a place; to Sarah, laughing that God could do the impossible; to Moses, thinking he didn’t have the right skill set to serve God’s people; to Joshua, who was afraid; to David, who followed his feelings, which lead to adultery and murder; to Peter, who said he’d always come through and then ran away; to Paul, who desperately wanted to do everything right. The list goes on. In each story, God restores.

So I took a deep breath, said goodbye, and closed the door to our life in Salt Lake City. This was it—we were moving to the suburbs.

I realized as the moving truck pulled away from our Salt Lake City home, I couldn’t use my place to make me feel special and unique. I’d turned my nose up at the suburbs, thinking they were only superficial and image obsessed, and their residents were unconcerned with real problems. But I knew there was more, and I knew I was called to love not only individual people but also my place. Moving home to the suburbs, I longed to discern how to faithfully live in the land of too much.

I used to think nothing of my suburban childhood, how each “city” bled into the other, without distinctiveness. I enjoyed the chain stores and was used to driving everywhere. Only when I grew older and moved away did I see how each place formed my loves. Each place fashions what we value. Places form our loves.

Are the suburbs really the “geography of nowhere” that Harold Kunstler calls them? Could a land of commuters, tract homes, strip malls, and ease actually malform our souls? And if we’re Christians, how might we live a full Christian life in the suburbs—do we even notice how the suburbs shape our souls? Should we feel guilty for our privilege, or should we just move?

More than 50 percent of Americans live in suburbs, and many of them desire to live a Christian life. Yet often the suburbs are ignored (“Your place doesn’t matter, we’re all going to heaven anyway”), denigrated and demeaned (“You’re selfish if you live in a suburb; you only care about your own safety and advancement”), or seen as a cop-out to a faithful Christian life (“If you really loved God, you’d move to Africa or work in an impoverished area”). From books to Hollywood jokes, the suburbs aren’t supposed to be good for our souls.

Even David Goetz’s popular book, Death by Suburb, though helpful, presumes suburban life is toxic for your soul—as if suburbia were uniquely broken by the weight of sin. The suburbs—like any place—exhibit both the goodness of God’s creative acts (in desiring to foster community, beauty, rest, hospitality, family) and sin (in focusing on image, materialism, and individualism to the exclusion of others). We cannot be quick to dismiss the suburbs out of hand.

In what they center and in what they hide, all places tell stories through their geography, architecture, and city planning. After World War II, suburbs popped up across America. They were places upwardly mobile middle-class residents would retreat to in their version of a country manor house placed at a reasonable distance away from the city, where (usually) men worked.

Houses became status markers. Cars and commuting became more prevalent. Women increasingly stayed home, removed from the bustle of city life. As suburbs grew, they became whiter and richer: their racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity wasn’t just lowered, the suburbs “built inequality to last.”

Today, each suburb is different: some are receiving previous urban dwellers who can’t afford city life when they have a family; others are the result of “white flight”; still others are more affluent and cost-prohibitive than the cities they orbit. Many are growing in their racial, political, and socioeconomic diversity.

But each suburb in its own way evangelizes for the good life: a life of safety, beauty, comfort, and ease. Suburbs, like all places, reflect both our good, God-given desires to create home, and also the brokenness of a place in their geography, entry systems, and laws. Thankfully, the good news of the gospel is never defined by a ZIP code.

The gospel story both helps us see the idols of our suburbs and brings hope for an abundant life not contingent on our circumstances. We make our home by stories, it’s said that author Flannery O’Connor wrote. In my move to the suburbs, I knew I needed a new story to bring me back home. Daily, I need a new narrative to help me find both the holy in the suburbs and a story bigger and better than my cul-de-sac.

–Taken from Finding Holy in the Suburbs by Ashley Hales. Copyright (c) 2018 by Ashley Hales. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

All Places Tell Stories - A Guest Post by Ashley HalesAshley Hales is a PhD, writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mother. Her first book is: Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much (IVP). Connect with Ashley at aahales.com or @aahales on social media.


Marking Time for Dreams on the Farm

Marking Time for Dreams on the Farm
Photo by Beth Ireland on Unsplash

Years ago in another life that I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the night song of fog horns, I had an inkling of an idea. A house (a timber frame to be specific) with room for guests to come and tend their weary souls.  Not a bed and breakfast or a retreat center where I would provide meals or workshops or massages, but my home big enough for others to come, have their own space, and find restoration and sanctuary.

That image, that dream, that calling lived long through some very hard days of divorce and finding the career I’d always wanted wasn’t what I wanted at all. It lived long enough to get a name gleaned from a sermon at a Tailgate Sunday service at Oxford Mennonite Church where Jesse Johnson taught me that the “still small voice” is more fully translated “God’s Whisper.”

It lived on through Mom’s death and a tiny, overgrown farm on the side of a mountain, where my dad and I mended our hearts as we restored a home. It lived on through meeting a slim, quiet, funny guy on OkCupid the day after I told God, “One more time and then I’m single” to this online dating thing, and it lived when that man said he couldn’t do this three hours in the car each day to and from work.

Now, it lives here at this place where writers gather and neighbors stop by to get eggs and produce in a building that was once the place where only white people could vote. It lives in craft shows and concerts and readings* by friends. It lives in chickens and goats and big, fluffy white dogs. It is what I have always dreamed, and it is also becoming.

In these days, though, when a bleary-eyed baby is doing his best to put himself to sleep beside me and where I will, probably, spend the bulk of my hours holding him while he dreams, the life of this place seems far away, almost unattainable, even though it is structurally just steps away. I can let myself be frustrated by the fact that we don’t have the energy to have many events or that the driveway entrance isn’t landscaped the way I’d like or that the bunk room we made for people’s respite sits empty most days because we simply can’t even manage the work of hosting guests just now.  I do let myself be frustrated by that sometimes . . . and that’s okay because frustration is life’s way of telling us we need to persevere. I see that every day as a certain three-month-old tries to crawl.

In these days of lots of watching and waiting as the person I’ve waited for so long gets his feet under him, I am so grateful for women who teach me that the ordinary daily of now, even if it doesn’t look like what we call “ministry” or “service” is just that. For Shannan Martin and her reminder to see what is before me each dayFor Jerusalem Greer and her farm that reminds me that calling is sometimes about Just Living in a place and loving the people who neighbor it. For Christie Purifoy and Lisa-Jo Baker, whose podcast “Out of the Ordinary” is singing health and dreaming and contentment into my tired, mama soul.

Some days, it feels like this farm and this woman are just marking time, going stagnant, sitting empty. But then I am reminded that empty spaces are the ones that can be filled again, and I wait, here in the daily of maintaining and watching, to see what gift of “next” comes when the time is right for it to arrive. Maybe it will be alpacas.


*Stay tuned for more information about an exciting night of music and words with author and gardener Christie Purifoy and singer-songwriter Jason Harrod this spring.

The Irony of Filling Water Bottles in the Face of Flood

The Irony of Filling Water Bottles in the Face of Flood
Photo by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash

In our part of the world, everyone I know is just about done with rain for, oh, the next six months. We’ve had record-breaking rainfall this summer as the mildew on my porch rockers testifies. (Seriously, they are in the open air, people, and still mildew.)

So the fact that we have a pretty good potential for some serious rain – this morning’s forecasts range from 4 inches to 30 inches – is not making even this rain-loving woman happy.  Still, we will be spared the worst of Florence’s lashing, and for that, I am grateful even as I know many will suffer mightily over the next few months because of this storm.

I’m not a worrier though. I don’t really get fearful about a lot of things, this storm included. But I am a planner – give me a slightly different perspective on the world, and I’d be a prepper, go bag and all. I’ve had a list of things to get done – fill bath tubs, make beds for potential evacuees, flip over mildew-stained rocking chairs – for several days now.  Planning is my way of dealing with my anxiety.

This morning, after seeing that the storm could re-curve and pour down on us again this weekend, I began filling water bottles with our well water. We bought some water earlier in the week, and Philip and I will drink that. The animals can drink from our rain barrels and sip from the rivers that will arrive in old spring flows all over the pasture.

But Milo, well, his tummy has only had our water – with one slip on my part – and so he needs our water for his bottles. (And it’s not really recommended to have him drink from puddles.) Given that we have a well and that we might lose power for a few days, I’m stocking up like we’re the farmhouse everyone flees to in all those zombie films.

This small task is good because it gives me something to do to prepare, and when I prepare, I pray.  Seems like a fair amount of praying is useful now.

If you’re in the path of Florence, I’m holding you up. If you need a place to go, we have beds and couches, and if we use all those, sleeping bags on the barn floor would welcome.  No zombies required.

Be wise, friends. Stay safe. Help those who can’t help themselves. Check in when you can.

I’m off to fill another empty milk jug.

Locking Eyes with the World We’re In – A Guest Post by Shannan Martin

I have been reading Shannan Martin’s writing for a few years now, starting back when she went by the moniker, “Flower Patch Farmgirl.” So I am THRILLED to bring to you an excerpt from Shannan’s forthcoming book, The Ministry of Ordinary Places.  As you’ll see, Shannan has the ability to spin pictures from words and to see in ways most of us are blind. If you like what you read, you can pre-order her book here, and when you do, you get some GREAT bonuses including discussion guides, a piece of art, and a calendar with photos from Shannan’s neighborhood.  Plus, of course, you get her book, which is the biggest gift of all. Locking Eyes with the World We're In by Shannan MartinThe paint was already flaking off the baseboards before I realized it was time to stop calling our house new.

The signs were everywhere. Mature grass finally blanketed the postage-stamp yard. The tree we’d bought with 2013’s tax refund was large enough to produce a spot of shade exactly wide enough for one person to enjoy. And the clincher—we had returned home from an out-of-town trip and the house didn’t smell new. Somewhere along the slow rush of time, when we were distracted by other things, the lumber, paint, and drywall had absorbed the precise essence of us.

 My new reality still took me by surprise.

 I had evolved from the fresh-faced farm girl living my version of the American Dream with a side of Jesus. I’d become the gutsy, subversive, city-loving advocate. The new neighbor. My kids went to a new school. We lived in a new house.

 On and on it went, my fists closing around this latest rendition of my identity, just as they had before.

But as people came into our lives and left us, as the carpet wore down in the sorry way carpet is prone to disappoint us, it became harder to ignore. We were no longer new. We were just here. The headline had faded. The sparkle dimmed.

Our earlier questions—Where are we going? Why are we going? and Will we ever fit in?—were replaced with just one: Now what? Surely God did not lead us here just to live. Surely spending our lives for his sake would mean more than attending PTO meetings and allowing the neighbor kids to conspire with ours in tearing up the yard. Wasn’t there some grand, specific thing he wanted and needed me to do here?

One late August morning, right in the middle of this heightened spiritual unrest, I decided to walk my kids to school rather than driving the short distance. I’m not sure what flipped the switch. It might have been the hissing shame that I was modeling an odd brand of privilege and laziness for my three young kids. But I had seen enough to understand that growth often requires death, and sometimes death looks like losing that extra fifteen minutes of sleep. Sometimes it asks us to surrender our softest pajama pants and lace up our walking shoes for the greater good, even if we’re not quite sure why it matters.

We set out with no grand or holy awakening in mind. I simply wanted to be a more positive presence for the three quirky kids who greet each day with gusto and would surely benefit from their mom at least trying to do the same.

And so we began. We walked almost every morning that year. Day after day, my feet traced the path south, then home again. Rain, shine, under what was often still the cover of night and through the driving snow that makes us ask deep, philosophical questions like, “Does summer really exist? And if so, why does it allow winter to happen to good people?” We walked like a small assembly of sturdy postal carriers saddled not with junk mail, but with backpacks, a violin, and widespread concern over the daily cafeteria menu.

I still didn’t know what was next for us here on Fifth Street, but my feet had committed a three-block stretch of it to permanent muscle memory. At the point that you instinctively know where the sidewalk buckles like a compound fracture, existential crises about belonging begin to evaporate. Though I enjoyed the slower start to our day, it would take months before I began to see this routine as significant. In what seems to be a defining pattern of my faith, God was disguising his heaviest lifting toward the health of my soul as mundane, repetitive grunt work.

My Now what? was answered in the wail of the train, in the whip of the wind, in the storm-weary oak tree jutting like a mangled arrow straight into the sky: Pay attention.

Two little words, light on action, or so I thought. I scanned my perimeter, certain the back half of the message had slipped into a mud puddle or gotten lost in the leaves. Pay attention to what?

Our first few years in our neighborhood had proven that love in action is the natural outpouring of the weighty grace we have been given. My joints were still a bit creaky from the impact of this truth. I waited for a to-do list, an ironclad set of instructions, complete with cross-referenced scriptures.

I trusted God to clear a path, then sat shell-shocked when he showed me my seat.

I asked for a shovel, or maybe a hammer. He handed me binoculars and my worn New Balance tennis shoes.

God got busy shrinking the world as I knew it down to a pinhole, one solitary shaft of light. “The soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness,” wrote Mary Oliver. Rather than feeling stuck in a problem-sodden world I would never be able to fix, God was caring for my soul by pointing me toward my corner of it and asking me to believe it was enough.

For a while, life became uncharacteristically quiet, and I was forced to slow down. I thought about growth patterns, observed the life cycle of decay and rebirth, and drank endless cups of tea. I searched for the story existing on the underarc of everyday life, where sizable change so often goes unseen. I noticed battered things and contemplated shadows, secretly judging God for his questionable time-management skills when there was so much work to be done.

Under the light of each new day, I walked. And I saw.


Two years later, this unspectacular, all-weather walk continues to give depth to my desire to love God more and put skin on his command to find kinship among my neighbors. Observing the changing of the seasons, I came to see with certainty that this daily practice was holy, a liturgy cut into busted sidewalks as we followed the clouds and thanked God for the trees. The larger world still felt impossibly complicated and overwhelming. But I was beginning to realize that it wasn’t my concern in the first place. Barbara Brown Taylor wrote, “It is not necessary to take on the whole world at first. Just take the three square feet of earth on which you are sitting, paying close attention to everything that lives within that small estate.”

Simply put, we cannot love what we do not know.

We cannot know what we do not see.

We cannot see anything, really, until we devote ourselves to the lost art of paying attention.

Shannah Martin - The Ministry of Ordinary PlacesShannan Martin, author of The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You and Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted, is a speaker and writer who found her voice in the country and her story in the city.  Shannan, her jail-chaplain husband, Cory, and their kids, live as grateful neighbors in Goshen, Indiana.

The Wonder of Nature’s Chaos

The Wonder of Nature's Chaos
Photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world would be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength. – Rachel Carson*

Yesterday, I watched the yellowing leaves of the black walnuts in the grove below our house dance in the breeze.  Just then, in that quiet moment without distraction, something I might describe as my soul stirred. I felt it in my chest: a lift, a wish, a settling too. Oh, the wonder.

My eyes focused a little closer, and I saw a single bird on the power line that runs to our house. A gray, round fellow that I could not name. He sat. He sang. Alone.

I look at Milo, the way rolls of beautiful, luscious baby fat cover his legs. I remember the marvel of seeing him on a screen when he was just five-day-old cells in a petrie dish, and I stare at him now – formed, chunky, vocal. Oh, the miracle of him.

Just now, I find myself preoccupied with the dishevelment of our yard, the way the weeds take the garden back to lawn, the seed heads on the grass around our laurels, the yellowing stalks of the irises that I need to cut back.  I want more control of the chaos, both in the yard and in my life.

I know though – with both my mind and my heart – that chaos cannot be tamed, only appreciated, only accepted. And I know, too, that beneath chaos there is order. Nature speaks peace through her golden ratio, her fractals, the way seasons cycle each year.

So I’m choosing Carson’s antidote these days. I’m leaning forward into wonder and watching each leaf of those walnuts dance her way to the ground.


*This quote comes from a beautiful book that my step-mother recommended called The Sense of Wonder.  You can get your copy here.  If you follow the link and place an order, the farm gets a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks, friends.

Lavender, Cut Flowers, Dreams, and Checkbooks

Lavender, Cut Flowers, Dreams, and Checkbooks
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

10 years ago, I couldn’t have dreamed this farm would actually be.  I was teaching English at a college in Maryland and living in a townhouse with a yard as big as our front porch. For years, I had wished for this farm. My parents and I had looked at land. I had read all the books, including Jenna Woginrich’s Made from Scratch.* But the way to the dream, well, that was harder.

But then there was Mom’s death and Dad’s generosity, and suddenly, it was there, chickens and all.  Now, my husband – who signed onto the dream when he chose me – and my son – who has no choice but will hopefully love it – are here, too, and it’s hard and gorgeous and perfect and flawed in all the ways the best things of life are.

So now, I’m finding myself in dream state again. Sometimes, my dreams are a sign of discontent, a sign that I am resisting something in my life as it is now. At those times, I’m learning to settle in, stay steady, celebrate what already is.

But sometimes – and I think this is one of those times – my dreams are about next things, about how the times now are good but they are not all, about how there is more waiting at the edges of what is. Do you know what I mean?

So these dreams are of fragrance and color, of flowers purple and golden, of bunches and stems and photographers and a weekend full of delight. Lavender, sunflowers, some dahlias maybe.  The start of a new thing here – flowers for you (and for me, too,).  It’ll be a small start, a few lavender plants this fall. A patch of sunflowers in the garden next year.  But I hope – I pray – the dream will grow roots and get bigger.

So much could stop us – too much realism, too much concern about checkbooks, too much fear. But I believe that all things work for the good, and I believe workloads shift with dreaming. And I believe tiny boys grow into wild children who love playing while their mother tends a field of purple flowers. I lean into dreams, and I trust that mighty hands hold me because those hands gifted me the dream.

Here’s what I hope the dream looks like someday. You and your family and friends here during a weekend of the summer to get lavender and sunflowers, to stand in fields of golden light and smell the purple fragrance of relaxation, to dream lemonade and toast a marshmallow – and to breathe deep the breath of life, friends.  That’s the dream.

Now, we get to live into it. And friends, oh friends, I so hope you are living into your dreams, too.

*This is an affiliate link, so if you follow it and then make a purchase, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Every bit helps in building the dream, friends.

The Dog Days and a Secret

The Dog Days and a Secret
Photo by Marcel Black on Unsplash

This time of year, most of us are growing a little weary of the mowing and the weeding and the tending of the gardens we love so much.  In this year of SO MUCH RAIN here, I find myself especially weary of the way the wire grass isn’t even slightly stilled by drought.

It’s the dog days. The days when humidity curls my hair through the windows of the farm house, and the squash bugs almost win the battle for that yellow fruit.  The days when the black-eyed susans are going to seed, and the wild flower meadow is falling to her side, tired from so much glory.

Soon, we will turn toward autumn, and I’ll smell that first bit of crisp on the air. I will, without a doubt, be too overjoyed for Philip on that day.  So for now, I hold my tongue when the sauna of August hits my face as I open the front door and let this man I love enjoy his favorite time of year.

I watch the okra blossom and the tomatoes give their last push and the late-planted zucchini put out her first blossoms. I try to revel in the humidity, at least until I sweat through my clothes.

But really, I’m watching the secret pumpkin that sprouted from last year’s decorations behind my office and waiting with so much anticipation for the day I can put it on our front stoop and declare it officially autumn.  (Don’t tell Philip.)

Placemaker by Christie PurifoyMy friend Christie Purifoy has a new book coming out in the spring, and I CANNOT WAIT to read it.  It’s called Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Beauty, Comfort, and Peace, and in every way I can imagine, it’s going to speak to my heart about this place here.  Maybe it’ll speak to yours, too.  You can pre-order the book here*, and know that when you pre-order, you are helping out a writer and country-living lover by supporting her work both in words and in places. 


*This is an affiliate link, so if you visit Amazon and buy anything, we get a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Community and Creativity: Farms You Admire?

Community and Creativity: Farms to Admire
Etta On Watch

I am a farm junky. I get this tendency true, straight from my dad who has been known to drive the back roads of Lancaster County, PA just so he can sit and watch the mule teams work and talk to all the Amish farmers.

I’m interested in the lifestyle and community of farms. I admire the places that treasure beauty and slowness, where people come to rest and find goodness in food and flowers. I’m looking for places to emulate, spaces where farmers have found creative ways to make their living and invite their neighbors into that living, breathing energy.

I love CSAs and flower farms. I love pick-your-own berry/peach/apple/kumquat establishments. I love farm tours and hay rides and stages set against corn fields. If a farm has a way that it invites people in – and still maintains the quiet and solitude of the farm life – I’m on board to watch and learn.

So today, I’d love to hear about farms you love and why. I’d love to know what inspires or feeds or rests you in those places.  Post a link in the comments below or let me know if we can find them on Facebook.  We’re continuing to dream big for our this little piece of land that we steward, and we’d love to know about the places that shine a little extra light into your world.  Thanks.

Over on Facebook this weekend, I asked folks to weigh in with some thoughts about a potential lavender farm here. I’d love to hear what you think, too. You can find that post here.