Who would have thought that dandelions weren’t pesky weeds but rather amazing plants that can be used in so many ways to benefit our health. Ever since becoming an “accidental country pastor” I have changed they way I look at dandelions (thanks to the local farmers who opened my eyes!). I now embrace them for the beautiful plant they are. They have taught me about God’s provision — and God’s love for us. Join me as I share with you some insights I discovered as I tried my hand at making some dandelion wine. Drop me a note and let me know if you will now see dandelions differently? Will you embrace them, too? (And perhaps make your own batch of dandelion wine?!)
Old Stone Well Farm on YouTube (a longer video) will be coming shortly, but for now here’s a teaser (and a look to how I am spending my weekend!). To all the mother’s out there (and my mom), wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day!
Yes, I watched the king’s coronation the other day. I am a royal watcher. But beyond the pomp and pageantry was a powerful reminder for kings and common folk alike: We are all called to care for others. That responsibility might feel heavy at times, but the burden is lightened when we know we don’t do it alone. So come and join me here in Vermont where spring is finally bursting forth at my 18th-century home. And I share an announcement with you.
It’s finally warming up here in Vermont and time to work outdoors. I can’t wait to tend to my garden beds. Admittedly, I didn’t do much to them last year, so I am paying the price now. As I tend to my chores, I keep thinking about the violence in the world and how we need more peace. But where peace? Where do find that comfort we need? I invite you to escape your world for a little bit and join me here at Old Stone Well Farm where I am surrounded by the things that give me comfort in a crazy world. (Like the wonderful early 1800s desk I recently acquired, my cat snuggled in the old cradle, a chicken enjoying the daffodils…these are just a few of my favorite things!) Where do you find comfort?
The sting of betrayal is painful. Yet during Holy Week I am reminded once again that during those times of betrayal in my life, I do not walk alone. Holy Week is all about betrayals — the people turning on Jesus, Peter denying knowing Jesus and, of course, the ultimate betrayal of Judas. And I have found a way to heal from my own betrayals.
Well my friends here at Old Stone Well Farm, I just had to be with you for the start of Holy Week. Yes, it’s Palm Sunday and once again I am waving the pussy willows rather than palms — a very European tradition. But these pussy willows are extra special this year as I found them in the farm’s burn pile. Yes, new life can emerge from the ashes and rubble. Just a little background to today’s video. As many of you know, I have many projects that I am working on right now. This video almost didn’t happen because I was swamped (I was on a newspaper assignment for a good part of the day and had just finished filing my story and pictures!). But I felt a tug at my heart to be with you. So, I filmed this in my old beat up jeans and running shoes and I didn’t even bother with an extra coat of mascara. May you find hope today in your burn piles! Thank you for being part of Old Stone Well Farm. I can’t wait to celebrate Easter with you.
There’s a song by folk singer, Kate Rusby, which talks about the wandering soul being found and how often that soul was never really lost. He or she were always surrounded by friends. He or she were always home. My time of wintering is ending as spring slowly emerges here in still snowy Vermont, and I am discovering that all I was searching for was right before me all the while. Let me explain (and share some wonderful antique finds for my 18th-century homestead!). How has your Lenten journeys been going? What have you discovered?
It’s St. Patrick’s Day here at Old Stone Well Farm and not only did I discover how easy it is to make homemade Irish soda bread (the real Irish way, without raisins!), I was reminded once again of how Christ is all around us through the kindness of friends like you. So come and join me for a snowy Paddy’s day! P.S. And pull up a chair and hear why Irish bakers would cut a cross on the top of the bread before baking.
Day 2 of snow…and up to three feet. While I do love the white stuff, I have been hankering for blue skies and green grass. And I learned a lesson today: When trying your hand at homesteading, go for what is practical, not what you think looks pastoral. This was my morning. Vermont living at its best.
It’s still snowy here in Vermont and I am getting a case of the winter blahs. I decided if spring won’t come, then I will take matters into my own hands and fill my house with greenery. There’s a poem written in the 17th-century that talks about a specific greenery that would be placed on mantels in the season of Lent. It’s an interesting choice as the green would often be used at funerals.
Into the Lenten woods I go. Yes, this season begins with an invitation to enter the wilderness but many times we don’t go on our own or even willingly. It’s even less inviting here in Vermont where winter’s bleakness lingers on creating a feel of isolation. But as I go into the woods I discover there is beauty to be found. Let’s explore together!
The season of Lent begins with ashes — our reminder that one day we will return to the dust we came from. So how is it that we can live out the days we have? Recent events — the disturbing performance at the recent Grammys, the revival down in Kentucky at Asbury Seminary — got me thinking how we tend to applaud the darkness in the world and question the light. So, come join me at the farm, where I fire up the still unfinished bake oven, share a humble Swiss soup that is going to become an Old Stone Well Farm Ash Wednesday tradition, and ponder things in our world that have me scratching my head.
I took a muddy drive up Two Top Mountain the other day to prepare for the season of Lent with the monks of New Skete in Cambridge, New York. I did this because I realized we often focus our Lenten journeys on preparing ourselves for Easter, but what if we spent a little bit of time preparing our hearts for the actual 40 days. So that is what I am going to do as I seek some quiet prayer time and ponder two questions we should ask ourselves before embarking on our Lenten adventure.
P.S. I also share with you my one Fat Tuesday indulgence that the nuns here are famous for!
It’s been a wonderfully busy and blessed time here at the farm, and it shows no signs of slowing down. But I intend to slow down and rest a bit today. Well, rest by doing what gives me joy by searching for and capturing wonderful stories to inspire you and make you smile.
So today, as we prepare to head into the season of Lent, Fritz and I will be “off” today scouting future locations here in Vermont to film for you.
We will see you this week with some mountaintop experiences, pretzel making and the story of a pre-Lenten Swiss soup that ushers into a time of humble meals. Till then, have a wonderful Sunday. Do something on this Sabbath day to rest and renew. Do something that gives you joy.
(Now to get Fritz ready for the camera. “Please Mom, no filming me till I do something with my hair!”)
It’s Valentine’s Day and, of course, I am celebrating the 18th-century way.
Yes, love was celebrated by our forefathers and mothers with love notes being a favorite token to give to sweethearts.
The love notes were often in the way of puzzle purses, popular in the 18th and 19th century.
Join me as I share with you not only this tradition, but why I encourage you to send yourself a love note this day! Yes, send yourself a Valentine’s Day message. It’s not selfish, it’s important to love ourselves.
There’s a farm up the road from me that has a mural that reminded me of the primitive paintings found in southern France in 1940.
I got to thinking about were these drawings ancient vision boards? Were they inspiration for a primitive people, helping them to aspire to something greater in life? More importantly, what inspires us?
I know for me if I were to create a vision board it would be full of sketches of 18th-century houses. I share an interesting one with you as well. (So click below to watch!)
What would be your “cave painting”? How do we keep reaching for the unreachable? Come and join me here in Vermont and discover how you might find your inspiration today!
And if you watch the video on YouTube, please go to my channel and like, leave a comment and share and subscribe. We are growing here at Old Stone Well Farm, and I couldn’t do it without friends like you.
Friends, there won’t be a new video today. With temperatures yesterday negative zero, I found myself not motivated to do anything — even think. In a way it was freeing to have a day to just curl up with quilts and books all for the sake of “staying warm.” That’s when I wondered, why is it we often need an excuse to spend a day napping and reading? Why do we need to justify our stepping back from the world?
As you know, I am working on my addiction to productivity and busyness. Somedays I make progress. Some days I regress. But I am committed to getting to a place where life is full of peace and “in-the-moment” moments. I want to be always be open to the awareness of the gifts all around that are begging for us to receive and embrace.
So today, I leave you with the sounds of birds chirping as the sun tries hard to get us out of a deep freeze. I leave with the amazing owl that was just a few feet away from our little house, sitting in the tree and making my chickens very nervous. (I believe this might have been the bird of prey that snatched little Nugget.) I leave with the image of beeswax candles burning as I begin to make another batch of candles. (To my friends, Ken and Wendy, you will be getting one! And I am happy to report, the candles that were stuck in the mold the other day have all been successfully removed — one blessing to the -15 degree morning we had.)
As I sign off, I urge you to no longer feel you have to justify slowing down and being in the moment. Lean your ear toward the bird’s song and let its melody restore a tired soul. Open your eyes to what hides in the tree and perhaps stare back at a majestic owl who does indeed look like it has wisdom to impart. And never give up when at first you fail at something. I’ve learned that there is always another opportunity to try again. (I have my candles burning to remind me of that.)
I will see you soon at Old Stone Well Farm. Till then.
While many are watching the groundhog’s prediction for either more winter or an early spring, here at the farm I am thinking about the original “Groundhog’s Day” — the celebration of Candlemas Day. Feb. 2 was the day to take down the Christmas decorations, have your candles blessed and observe the dedication of Jesus in the temple. There was also an old saying that judging by the way your candles burned one could tell if winter would linger or leave. Join me as I step into the past, making candles and embracing Candlemas.
My wintering continues and how better to pause and reflect than to dig into the readings of Saint Brigid. Her life touched so many people with love, charity and compassion. I wonder how will my life touch others?
And since Brigid’s feast day is Feb. 1, I thought how appropriate to try my hand at making cheese. She is, after all, the patron saint of dairy farmers and cheesemakers.
I hope you enjoy your time at the farm with me. It is a blessing to have you part of this growing community.
I am in a season of wintering — retreating, slowing down, and vowing to not feel guilty taking those much-needed naps. What is wintering? Come to the farm and explore with me how rest is the recovery we need and which leads to discovery of who we are and the things that give us joy.
Also, I share my new 18th-century rope bed!!! It is perfect in this pre-Revolutionary War home.
On a personal note, it was such a joy making this video. I found so much peace and it actually helped me to embrace slowing down as a way of life. I pray it helps you create a life that makes room for more of God’s grace. As always, thank you for being part of Old Stone Well Farm! You are a blessing. And please share with others!!!
I didn’t realize how much I was losing a bit of my soul these past few months. But I was.
Looking back, I should have paid attention to that brief moment in October when, after taking a few vacation days from my former magazine job, I felt a strange sensation that I didn’t know I had grown numb to. I felt true joy.
I wasn’t doing anything special to conjure joy. If anything, the moment was quite mundane. I was crunching through the autumn leaves when suddenly I stopped to drink in the earthy perfume Mother Nature was spritzing me with.
As I stood there silently, inhaling deeply, I heard a still small voice whisper: Go deeper into the woods. This is where you will find life.
When I shared this with close friends and family, a question of concern was always asked. “That’s great, Donna, but how will you make a living?”
And so, that powerful and profound moment in the woods passed all too quickly. I was soon back to an existence that looked good on paper and that the world stamped with its approval. But if I dared to listen, and listen carefully, I could hear the disturbing sounds of a soul being sucked. It is not pretty. Maybe that’s why we often try to ignore it filling our every second with shallow affirmations.
As many of you know, I am now free from that existence. And while the question of how will I make a living hovers over me like a storm cloud, I know that beyond that cloud is a rainbow waiting to appear. (Just maybe, too, that proverbial pot of gold!)
My days are now filled with wrangling in a rambunctious puppy and feeding the remaining four chickens (yes, I lost little Nugget the other day to what I believe was a hawk).
I am loving the mundane and no longer see it as failure to produce, achieve or earn. I still do fight the urge to “do” — to send out resumes, follow up on job leads, to search for opportunities. While I know I need to do that, I also know that the most important task right now is to “patiently wait for the Lord, who will put a new song of praise in my mouth,” as I paraphrase my favorite piece of scripture, Psalm 40.
Michelangelo once said that “genius is eternal patience.” As someone whose creative spirit has garnered a paycheck all her life, I take comfort in his words. Everything takes time — and trust — trust in the God who made us each unique and blessed us with gifts to bless the world. So we can’t rush genius nor all those beautiful God plans. Don’t fret. Something will take shape — in God’s time.
So I wait. And as I do, the realization that the only way to live is being true to yourself grows stronger each day. I have ideas. I have dreams. Many of them seem far fetched. But when you send the far fetched off to God, they no longer seem silly — or impossible. They suddenly start becoming doable divine opportunities that not only bring joy to your soul, but joy to others in this world so desperate to smile and laugh again.
Pulitzer prize poet Mary Oliver once asked a very important question in her poem, “The Summer Day.” It’s a question I believe we all need to ask ourselves not only in soul-sucking seasons of life, but each and every day. That is, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
For those struggling this day, wondering why you are not feeling “right” or feeling a heaviness in your heart, step back, breathe, pray…and take a hard look at what might be causing it. And then dare to make a change. Dare to start living your one wild and precious life.
For me, that life is shaping up to be turning my back more on modern society and all of its power plays and drama. Life is too short, my friends.
I am inviting that still small voice beckoning me deeper into those real and metaphorical woods to tell me more, for I am listening. I am listening to what makes my heart sing and my soul dance. My life is dancing again as I master churning butter, stenciling walls with 18th-century correct designs, hand sewing an 18th-century round gown, making candles and baking bread over a fire. But I am not done.
Just recently, I have added to my Colonial life skill dreams and goals — or what I am now seeing as the “real Donna” beginning to emerge — to include beekeeping, weaving, spinning and making cheese.
If all goes well, by the end of this year, I will be making bread in my outdoor bake oven, churning butter, aging cheese, collecting honey and eggs and perhaps even weaving a blanket for warmth on those bitter cold Vermont nights. (Stay tuned for my adventures in accomplishing these things, as they will be featured in our time together at Old Stone Well Farm. Videos will resume shortly!)
This is how I want to live my one wild and precious life. How these pieces of my soul that bring me joy will turn into a paycheck is in the hands of a greater power who has never let me fall. For now, I trust and relish the soft sighs of a contented soul.
What about you?
What will you do with the one wild and precious life God has given you?
Take a moment to just “be.” Pray. Ponder. And click the video below to perhaps guide you in a meditation moment…or as I like to say, to give you a “monk moment.”
Friends, our time together at Old Stone Well Farm will be delayed a day or two. Since the holidays — and since getting Fritz, our puppy — life has been a bit crazy. I have so many thoughts I want to share with you, as well as so many beautiful Vermont God moments.
But they will have to wait because…drumroll…I am preaching this morning at a sweet little Reformed church in my area which has been looking for a pastor for years. How this all came about is truly a God moment that I will share with you soon. Right now, though, I think I am still in awe and processing this God moment.
This opportunity really happened out of the blue. God works like that. So it seems — out of the blue. I know. I know. God is in control and has all things planned, but to us mere mortals, it often seems like God is silent for days, week, months and even years. So when blessings come or better yet those blessed assurances wrap their loving arms around us, it seems like they come out of the blue.
I guess that’s because we are not good waiting on the Lord. We’re not good at trusting that God is at work in our lives. Well, I have to get moving here and get ready to meet this congregation and see where God is leading us both.
So, stay tuned. And a new video will come shortly!
One week into a new year and that means two feast days on the church calendar — Epiphany and the Baptism of Our Lord. At my 18th-century Vermont home, though, I am embracing two new traditions as I focus on how to better be a blessing to others in 2023.
Join me as I chalk the doors and toast my old apple tree as I wassail in the orchard!
What would your life look like this year once you realize that you are blessed to be a blessing? Let me know! Share, comment…and pass the video below others. Old Stone Well Farm YouTube channel is growing and I can’t wait to see where God will take us all this year!
It’s Christmas at Old Stone Well Farm, and this year we will be going to Sofie’s Hill to embrace this holy night and be reminded that darkness has no hold on us…our light has come!
Come and join me!
Click the link below —invite your friends, family…and consider subscribing on YouTube as this channel is growing!
(And if you don’t hear from me…that’s because I am still without power here in Vermont…I am working on the juice of an old generator right now, thus, this message is short and sweet, and might be filled with typos as my husband gives me the look that says “time’s up with the generator!)
Christmas is almost here and the first snowstorm in Vermont is the perfect excuse to get out a holiday classic to read. “A Christmas Carol” is such a great reminder that there is always a chance for us to do better when it comes to loving one another. It’s a story of hope and redemption. But what is this love that comes to us at Christmas?
Come and snuggle up with a cup of coco and a cozy blanket and join me on this wintery day at Old Stone Well Farm as we enter the last week of Advent and prepare for the coming of the Christ light.
And share this moment of peace and hope with your friends and family. Subscribe to never miss a visit to my 18th-century Vermont home where I write, dream, pray and think about all the God possibilities for me and for you.
But before you click the video below, I’m curious. What is your favorite holiday book or movie? And, how will you be inspired to “keep Christmas well” as it was said of Scrooge at the end of Charles Dickens’ classic. Drop me a note here or comment on YouTube!
I can’t believe it’s the third Sunday of Advent. Christmas is getting closer and I am not ready — both physically and emotionally. There is just so much going on. And I realize, even with joy in my life, it does’t take away those moments of sadness of Christmases gone by. So join me today as I share with you how to handle the Christmas blues AND I have a great cookie recipe for you from a 12th century saint who swore her “cookies of joy” would heal a heart that is aching. Pull up a chair. Share with friends and family! And let me know if you make these cookies for a loved one feeling down this holiday. Blessings!
Hello friends! I’m coming to you on this St. Nicholas Day (of course, by the time you watch this Dec. 6 might have already come and gone) a little sleep deprived.
Yes, a wee bit behind with our St. Nick Day celebrations because I am lacking sleep. The new puppy is here and I had forgotten how much attention they require the first few days in a new home.
But here I am and I can’t wait for you to meet the puppy and learn what we named him. (Yes, we finally settled on a name!)
I also can’t wait to share with you how we should all aspire to live like Santa Claus (that is, the real St. Nick!). I will also give you a glimpse at my attempt at making a traditional Swiss German St. Nicholas bread known as grittebanz.
As always, share with others and comment! I love talking to all who come to my 18th-century abode that I call Old Stone Well Farm, where I am growing grace (and raising one Bernese Mountain dog, a cranky old cat and five funny chickens!)
Click below to start your visit to. Old Stone Well Farm.
My friends, a short visit together at the farm table as today we are picking up our new puppy!! Yes, little … (name to be revealed in my Dec. 6 St. Nick Day video) is coming to Old Stone Well Farm where he will meet his brother, RuRu (the cranky cat) and his five sisters, the chickens — Priscilla, Omelet, Nugget, Pot Pie, Biscuit (as in chicken and biscuits).
While we will spend a short time together, I didn’t want to miss lighting the second candle of Advent with you — the peace candle. Peace seems so fleeting these days, but I have found it can be possible.
So pull up a chair and I will share with you an Advent challenge to bring more peace into your live and into the world. Well, I need to get going. It’s an hour plus drive to pick up the puppy and I have some farm chores to get to first. Enjoy.
And please, tell your friends about Old Stone Well Farm and encourage them to subscribe on YouTube. Old Stone Well Farm is a growing channel and I have a big God-dream of getting to 1,000 subscribers — I was going to say by the end of the year which is quickly approaching — but why not? All things are possible and often our dreams are so small compared to the great things God can do!
And, I would love to hear from you and your thoughts on peace (and raising a puppy!).
My Frugal Thanksgiving (And a Look at Pilgrim Pumpkin Pie!)
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, but with groceries being so expensive, I decided to try a frugal holiday meal. As I looked around at what I had here at the farm, I realized having “things” or being “happy” aren’t where thankfulness comes from. It comes from knowing that no matter what life brings you, there is always something to whisper our thanks to God.
So come to Vermont for the holidays. I will serve up a real pumpkin pie cooked the 17th-century way…and share some fun Thanksgiving facts with you. And in this season of thanks, I thank you all for your love and support.
To keep the YouTube channel going strong, I would be grateful if you considered subscribing, sharing with friends, liking and adding a comment! I would especially love to hear from you and what you think about living frugally. And what you think about this unique pie that I made. My sister thought is was disgusting. Oh well, more for me!
Click on the video below and have a very blessed Thanksgiving!
Wow! My Pilgrim Pumpkin pie is amazing. I don’t think I will eat modern pumpkin pie ever again. Not only was it fun and easy to make, but it helped me in my quest to have a frugal Thanksgiving meal — one in which I use what I already have in the pantry.
And since I still had some pumpkins left…I tried this colonial recipe. I’ll share more on the “pie” as well as my thoughts on how to live more simply in the video that will air Nov. 23.
Till then…here’s a sneak peek! Click below and enjoy!
Are sea monsters troubling you? Keeping you from venturing out into unknown waters where are deepest dreams are yearning to come alive?
I invite you to pull up a chair and join me here in Vermont as I find inspiration from Celtic saints who modeled for great faith and how we can trust an unknown future to a known God. (I also find some wonderful greenery along Lake Champlain in which to deck this old 18th-century home for Celtic Advent, which began Nov. 15!)
Click on the video below, and then share with me how you banish your “sea monsters.” And blessings to you as the Thanksgiving preparations begin!
Why I Stopped Being a Grinch About Early Christmas Decorations
It’s been happening more and more — Christmas trees appearing soon after Halloween. I used to roll my eyes at that, but lately I am becoming one of those early Christmas decorators, and not just because studies show those who decorate early are happier. I think we all need a little more light in the world. Come to the farm as I share with you why I stopped being a Grinch. And let me know your thoughts. Have our holiday traditions or views changed? Comment. Like. Share with others! Blessings!
The Remedy for Election Fatigue (hint: it’s furry!)
I’m so tired of the political rhetoric, and I know I am not alone. And so, I invite you to step away from craziness of the world for some election fatigue relief as well as to hear the announcement I promised I would share with you. As always, thank you for coming to Old Stone Well Farm. Your support means a lot to me — and the chickens. Click on the video below. Share. Subscribe. Like. And drop me a note. I love to hear from you.
Many of you know I love early American history, so when I discovered a scary story in Manchester, Vermont, I just couldn’t wait to share with you.
So join me at Old Stone Well Farm where I explore not only Colonial America’s views on Halloween, but vampires as well. Yes, you read correctly. Vampires. But that isn’t the only scary story I share. There is something that frightens me more than things that go bump in the night.
Pull up a chair and gather around the hearth. Bring your friends. Share. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to Old Stone Well Farm’s YouTube channel so that you never miss an episode.
Click on the video below…and remember, this year’s pumpkin message will be revealed as well — with a little help (more like a challenge) from the cows!
I am excited about the next episode of Old Stone Well Farm as I share a fascinating piece of Vermont’s dark history with you. It’s a story that will get us all thinking. And of course, this year’s inspirational message in the pumpkins will be revealed — along with some behind the scenes video of how the cows were having fun with the pumpkins. Video will be available Oct. 30. Till then, click on below for a sneak peek. Blessings!
I just have to say how much I am enjoying my week’s staycation!
I am away from deadlines for the week and I didn’t realize how much I needed the space and freedom to be me — to create, to dream and to write on things that I am passionate about. I have even revisited a book had begun outlining some years ago — a scary tale of a young pastor in a rural area where old headstones introduce her to a family secret. (Cue eerie music, thunder and howling wind!)
But research on this book aside, this staycation has really been a blessing because those close to me have known that lately my creative spirit has been dampened. Better yet, I think the image of my creative spirit being suffocated is more appropriate. There have been so many changes in my “day job” that have been debilitating. Every idea and project now has many steps and countless meetings to go through before actually getting to the work. While these changes are not good or bad — they just are — I have been quietly observing how this “new way” of doing things is impacting creativity. I see it in the faces staring back at me in those Zoom boxes. Once passionate writers are now uncharacteristically glum. Once vocal writers are silenced. I know this too shall pass as change brings a season of transitions, but that’s another story for another day.
For today, I actually jumped out of bed at 5 a.m. filled with eager expectations for the day. After doing my chicken chores, I sipped my coffee and read the Bible. I then got to the gym where I realized how that time was a key role in having a healthy, positive outlook. It felt good to catch up with others, to laugh, to move our bodies to music and to work up a good sweat. And something amazing began happening as I pushed the lever up to increase the resistance on the bike during the spin class. I began having ideas — again. I began getting hopeful. I began dreaming. I began feeling like the old me, which was a wonderful feeling because she was missing for quite some time.
I know this staycation will come to an end and I will be back to a front row seat of a really bad play called “power plays and grabs.” I will be hearing the “dings” remind me that the next Zoom meeting will begin in 15 minutes (enough time to brush my hair and take off my chicken poop covered Mucks). I will be back to writing deadlines and spending many fitful nights worrying about the stories assigned that are MIA from writers who are AWOL.
Soon I will be back in the “real world.” But I wonder? Is there a better reality in which to live, work and play in than the one that masquerades as “real”?
I’ll continue to ponder, and as I do, I want to remind you that this Sunday, October 30, Old Stone Well Farm continues its Pumkinfest tradition, lighting the back hill with an inspirational message.
I can’t believe how fast October is flying by. We are past peak season for the leaves, but there is still so much beauty to be found. As I walked into the forest I noticed an ancient tree that invited me to sit and reflect, and as I did the wind kicked up the leaves and reminded me of a Mary Oliver poem. So come and sit with me for today’s visit at Old Stone Well Farm…and think back to the song the leaves sang to you when you were a child and how perhaps the world would be a better place if we never lost the innocence of a child. What has been your leaf song? I would love to hear from you.
The wind has been blowing the leaves all around, but I discovered something startling about myself the other day as I watched some leaves trying desperately to hold on to the safety of the tree limb: I am also holding on tightly to what I know and what seems secure.
I realize when I look up and open my eyes, there’s nothing to fear. God’s grace is all around.
Have you been holding on to what you know lately — what is comfortable and seemingly secure? Are you ready to let go and enter a new season? What do you do when you need a bit more faith on the journey?
Come, join me here at Old Stone Well Farm. (And if you haven’t already, subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you never miss a visit.)
Welcome to a special midweek gathering at Old Stone Well Farm, where I have finally caught up with all my chores and rested from leading a women’s retreat followed by a Sunday in the pulpit.
Now it’s time to once again breathe in all the God moments, and today I share with you how I am observing Michaelmas this October.
Yes, the feast day of St. Michael is Sept. 29, but I like the idea of being mindful all throughout this month of how God’s angels are there for us. Frights and fears might abound, but God’s goodness shines.
Come! Join me. Click on the video below. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to this growing channel — and share with others. And let me know how you might weave in some Michaelmas celebrations this month! And who perhaps have been the angels in your life who have walked alongside you in trying times?
A busy weekend here in Vermont. After leading a wonderful women’s retreat on Saturday, I now get ready to preach at another church. And so, this week’s time together at the farm will be delayed. But before I head out to church, I invite you to breathe in God’s beauty all around here at Old Stone Well Farm. I can’t wait to be with you in a few days!!! So much to fill you in on.
It’s so great to be back home at Old Stone Well Farm, just in time to enjoy autumn’s arrival. And what better way to cozy up to a new season than with a delicious recipe I discovered — one that I make using unusual ingredient.
Come. Pull up a chair. Get cozy. Join me as I see God’s provision right in my little shabby garden. Click on the video below.
And never miss a visit at Old Stone Well Farm, subscribe to this growing YouTube channel, and share with your friends. There’s always room in my old kitchen for more!
And here’s the recipe I mention in the video. Let me know if you make it and what you think of it!
Long Winter Green Pumpkin Pie
(As featured in the Little House Cookbook)
Four pound unripe green pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1 pinch each of ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (or you can substitute hard cider or apple cider)
1 teaspoon butter
Pie Crust (You can make your own or cheat like I do…using premade pie crust. I have yet to master the art of a flaky crust.)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup vegetable shorting
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel the green pumpkin, cut it in half and the quarters.
Cut pumpkin quarters into pieces that resemble apple slices to measure 5 cups and place in a large bowl. Add to that, the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, apple cider vinegar and butter. Stir.
Pour pumpkin mixture into a prepared pie crust, add the top crust, crimp edges and brush with egg wash. I have also seen recipes where cook the pumpkin mixture on the stove for about ten minutes. That might ensure the pumpkin slices will be tender.
Bake at 45-50 minutes or until the pie crust is golden brown.
You can order the Little House cookbook here on Amazon,
Friends, there will be no new episode of Old Stone Well Farm today. Feeling a bit under the weather after a week away in Louisville. Yes, the world has reopened for this country pastor and my traveling schedule for my work with the Presbyterian Mission Agency has begun.
But, as I was driving home from the airport at 1 a.m. I had a few God moments: I noticed how brilliant the stars were sparkling; I noticed how the abundance of deer on my path forced me to slow my anxious pace down and be in the moment; and, I noticed how my high beams announced that we had just had our first hard frost, as the the fields before me were a ghostly white. I was tired. I was eager to climb into bed.
Yet, I was once again reminded of the serene beauty of God’s creation that is always present to us if we open our eyes.
What beauty are you seeing today?
Let me know. And Old Stone Well Farm will be back!
I just came back from an opportunity to realize a dream.
I was in Florida speaking about and sharing with others Old Stone Well Farm Media & Ministry.
And so, this time together will be a short one as I need a day to hug my chickens, mow the lawn … and find time to be still with God and ponder what this recent trip means.
But during my travels I thought about what it means to “keep climbing.” (That was the tagline of the airline I flew…talk about a God moment!)
What does it mean to soar high? Am I really ready to realize a dream? Are you?
Come and join me today in seeking to climb and dream. Click the video below…and take time to comment. I love hearing from you. And share with others who might need to be inspired to realize a dream this day.
Are you ready to begin living…really living? I hope so, because I don’t want to do this alone. Join me in believing with God that all things are possible!
The death of the Queen, the anniversary of 9-11… along with so many other losses and stresses in my life … made me realize something important: I don’t want to anything to rob me of my joy — or peace.
Yet there seems to be so much, for lack of a better word, pure ugliness in the world. I have been especially heartbroken lately hearing colleagues (especially in ministry) saying that if someone doesn’t agree with them, they can leave. The games I see being played are so petty. The talk about love is just that: talk.
As I take my picnic blanket and enjoy time in the pasture, I think about how big I want my blanket to be, how I want to live my life welcoming others…listening to others…including others. So, come. Click the video on below and sit with me for a while.
And I would love to hear from you.
Better yet, send me a picture of your picnic that I encourage you to have.
Deer running through the pastures. Goldenrod casting a heavenly glow in the fields.
The seasons are changing here at Old Stone Well Farm…in many ways!
As I take some time to step back and breathe — and share with you a wonderful opportunity Old Stone Well Farm has been blessed with — I invite you to do the same: step back and breathe.
While not our regular time together, I pray for even a few short minutes you will find rest, peace and enter this new season with me here in Vermont with eyes open to the God moments all around. (Click the video below, and I will be back with more Old Stone Well Farm adventures!)
Dreams Require Baby Steps … And Listening to Your Life
After watching my stone mason “listen” to the stones in the creation of my 18th-century outdoor bake oven, I began realizing that for dreams inside our hearts to become true, we — as Frederick Buechner puts it — need to “listen to our lives.” Listening the leads to taking those important baby steps in making things happen. So I invite you to some to my Vermont farm as I pray about dreams, baby steps and listening. (You will also see my latest 18th-century hand-sewn creation!) So click on the video below. Stay awhile. Renew. Relax. Feel God’s Spirit! And I would love to hear what small baby step you might take this day in making your dreams come true!
Pastor, theologian and author, Frederick Buechner died on August 15, 2022. He was 96 years old. An ordained Presbyterian minister who never served a congregation has always been an inspiration to me. Rather, Buechner saw his writing as ministry.
Whether you are familiar with his writings or not, I invite you to visit with me at my 18th-century home here in Vermont as I share with you not only the words that have inspired my life — Buechner gave me the courage to say “yes” to serving a rural church. He also gave me the courage I needed to leave the church life to regain my identity as a writer! — but to take in all the beauty that inspired him.
And one of the God moments I share, is that I live, work, write, dream, right down the mountain road from this literary great. So, come and hear some of the nuggets of wisdom. Click the video below and ponder, pray, dream — and as Frederick Buechner once said, “Listen to your life.”
Schedules to-do lists, routines — I love them all. While having structure in your life is good, sometimes sticking to a beloved routine does more harm than good. I recently discovered this as I begin a new chapter in my life. My old routines just weren’t serving me well and were stressing me out. Come join me as I share some thoughts and tips about breaking free and letting God really make all things new — including your days! As always, share with friends (I have plenty of room for everyone in my old kitchen!). Like, comment and, if you haven’t already, click subscribe on YouTube. I appreciate all your support for my growing YouTube channel.
Busy but blessed weekend. Yes, this was yesterday.
I had the honor of speaking at the local women’s group. Such a joy as I shared how to build authentic community in an age of technology…taking cues from the local Amish who perfected the art of quilting bees and circle letters (I did a video on this last summer. Check it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbgm93zcN6g)
And, of course, I had to close with a quote from Wendell Berry who once said, “Community is not made just by communication. It is a practical circumstance. It is composed of people who have a place in common. But it is made by people’s willingness to be neighbors, good and faithful servants, to one another.”
Off to church now…so our time at Old Stone Well Farm will be coming earlier in the week! In the meantime, what does “community” mean to you?
I would love to hear your thoughts as the word is being thrown around a lot.
From dying eggs and hiding them to being on the lookout for a bunny hopping with a basket full of goodies — how did these tales come about? And where do they fit into the celebration of resurrection? Come and join me here at Old Stone Well Farm and here about the hare window in Germany and what 18th-century children used in place of Easter baskets. And then, later on in the video, sit with me on Sofie’s Hill (named after my first Bernese Mountain dog) and enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the old 18th-century home. What are some of your most beloved Easter traditions? Drop me a note.
As we journey through Holy Week, I share last year’s video with you all in which I introduced you to a Swiss Lenten soup, often served on Maundy Thursday, which features 7 greens. If you would like the recipe for this year’s Maundy Thursday supper, let me know. And I will be introducing an other unique Holy Week recipe this Thursday as well as we explore “betrayal at the table” and how God can heal the betrayals in our life. Stay tuned!