Old Stone Well Farm

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Monk Moments

Addicted to hurry is something I never thought I was until I began noticing how quickly I ran through my days, cramming in them more and more things to do.

So when I had a few days away from Old Stone Well Farm, I decided to use the time to reset my spirit — and my priorities. I didn’t pack books to read and I didn’t even jump on social media. Instead, I decided to savor the spiritual space I was in and listen to what author Kathleen Norris calls the “monk moments.”

Come and feel the sand between your toes with me, and find the courage to truly be still. (And discover a few old churches with me!) I would love to hear how you are resetting your life? Drop me a note or comment.

So, let’s begin. Click the video below and enjoy!!

Blessings,

Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

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Grossvater’s Wisdom: Swiss National Day at the Farm

I cannot believe how fast the summer is flying by. As we head into August, the month starts with the celebration of Swiss National Day here in Vermont.

My father’s family is from the picturesque village of Appenzell, and so my Swiss roots are deep and dear in my heart.

This year, though, I think of the lessons I have learned from my grandparents, most of all my grandfather, who is called “grossvater.”

So join me today as I share lessons and wisdom — and information on a Swiss chicken I would love to get!! Click the video below to start our time together.

As always, it’s a joy to have you with me.

Blessings!

Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

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Has Truth Become the Flavor of the Day?

I was getting ice cream the other day and noticed all the flavors that were available. I began thinking about how “the flavor of the day” changes with the season — early June it’s strawberries, the blueberries when they are ripe, then come early fall, pumpkin.

I then thought about “truth” and wondered: Has it become our flavor of the day, changing with societal seasons. I held this in my heart as I went on an adventure, attempting to make ice cream the 18th-century way, which meant no hand-crank machine and no fruity flavors!

And as I did, I discovered a very unique flavor of the day: parmesan cheese ice cream. Yes, cheese!

So join me at Old Stone Well Farm (click the video below) for a time of reflection and some amazing homemade ice cream! I would love hear your comments.

And please share this with your friends, like, comment, subscribe to my YouTube channel as well.

Old Stone Well Farm

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Summer Sabbatical

Writing deadlines are tight and I know I need to take time to breathe, to be in the God moment. But since I can’t fully do that right now, I took a few minutes to take note of the gifts all around me. I called it my “summer sabbatical” and while it wasn’t very long, it was just what my soul needed.

I share with you this day the importance of finding a pace that restores you, not wears you out. So take time to give thanks for this very moment…for it is a moment filled with beauty. (Click the video below to begins!)

Like, share, comment…and if you haven’t, subscribe and tell your friends about Old Stone Well Farm either here at Accidental Country Pastor or on YouTube — type in “Old Stone Well Farm” — and you will discover more than 100 videos there to enjoy!

I love hearing from so many of you who come, and I love seeing where in the country you are visiting from! So drop me a note!

Blessings!

Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

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Are You Making Life Harder?

This Accidental Country Pastor is getting ready to preach in Ballston Spa, New York, but before I go, I share with you how I have recently realized that I often make life harder than it has to be. Why do I do that?

Some interesting insights I discovered when I decided to explore this. We have to stop making things harder than they are. And we have to take comfort and courage and embrace the great hope we have knowing the God is near. God’s word is near — always speaking to us in so many ways.

I share these ways with you today here at Old Stone Well Farm! Just click the video below and enjoy your time in Vermont with me!

Blessings to you!!!

Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

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Kitchen Treats from the Farm (Or My Amish ‘Salad’ Saga)

I’m in the kitchen sharing with you how my Indian Strawberry Cornbread turned out, as well as sharing my adventure with an Amish recipe. It’s a fun time here at the farm. So join me…and make sure to leave a comment telling me what you think of these recipes — and if you are tempted to make them yourself. Speaking of recipes. Here they are:

Indian Strawberry Bread

2 Cups of Corn Meal

1 Egg (I forgot the egg when I made mine…so maybe the egg helps!)

½ tsp of Salt

2 tbsp Shortening

Just strawberries and their juice Enough to moisten mixture to cornbread consistency, sort of soft, but not too stiff.

Use white fine corn meal, add salt and melted shortening (butter or crisco) Beat egg a little, and add moistening your mixture with strawberries and their juice (If using frozen strawberries melt them first and they have a little juice with them. If using fresh strawberries, sugar them and let them set awhile until there is juice.) Use a 9 inch pan, bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until it seems done and golden on top.

Creamsicle Salad (This is enough for a Barn Raising!! So if you have small gathering, cut the amounts in half.)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

20-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

16-oz. tub whipped topping (like Cool Whip)

2 cups mini marshmallows, fruit-flavored or regular

6-oz. pkg. orange gelatin

1 to 2 15-oz. cans mandarin oranges

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and pineapple. Fold in marshmallows, whipped topping, and orange gelatin. Lastly, stir in mandarin oranges. Spoon into a large glass bowl for best presentation and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving. Can sit out for at least an hour without getting watery.

I got this recipe from Amish365.com, a great resource for Amish living.

Blessings!

Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

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Fourth of July or a Strawberry Thanksgiving?

It’s Fourth of July weekend and the red, white and blue is painting the rural landscape. While I add to the patriotic scene, hanging my Betsy Ross flag on my 18th-century house, I am thinking more of having a Strawberry Thanksgiving celebration.

Native Americans would use this time to gather the berries and give thanks for the fruit. It was also a time to make peace and forgive. I think our country needs a lot of that — peace and forgiveness.

So come, join me at Old Stone Well Farm. Pull up a chair and press play on the video below, and think about how we can only be truly free through forgiveness. And please take a moment to like, comment, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and most of all, tell your friends and invite them to the farm! Lots of changes are in the wind for this accidental country pastor and I would love to see where the Spirit wind takes this media ministry.

Blessings!

A Raccoon Came to Breakfast

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And so, it begins.

This morning there was a raccoon at the chicken coop trying to get its paws inside, reaching for them. Luckily, I chased it away.

But once a raccoon has found its rural vending machine, it will come back eager to select a treat — or two or even five (the number of chickens I have). There’s not much you can do to safeguard your chickens.

The more I read about raccoons, they are smart little bastards — able to open doors, unlatch latches, reach in through wire fences and gnaw and chew on a wing or leg of a still alive chicken. The latter is actually a gruesome tale I read on one of the many chicken chat groups I frequent. Ugh. That is definitely a sight I do not want to see.

My neighbor lost all 10 of his young chickens last week. Bits and pieces were left behind, as well as the hearts, which were eerily placed in a ritualistic-looking circle. “Raccoon,” was all he could mutter to me without breaking down in tears.

My writer’s mind began narrating this spooky little story into the pages of a still unwritten manuscript I have been toying with about a young pastor stumbling upon an 18th-century homestead — that seemed to be calling for her — only to discover ghost children roaming its rooms, calling out, “Pastor, welcome home.”

The story is actually inspired by an old 18th-century saltbox house I had purchased as a new pastor moving into a rural community. The day I closed on the property and officially received the keys, I discovered in an overgrown corner of a pasture headstones from the early 1700s. There was also a shuttered window banging on the upper level of the garage one day soon after I moved in. The noise was so annoying that I ventured in the wind and the rain and climbed the rickety ladder to the loft to secure the window. It was then I noticed a child’s tea set laid out in front of the window. The hair stood on my neck. I felt like an intruder. Or maybe I wasn’t? Maybe I was supposed to be at this poltergeist playdate. “Pastor, welcome home…” (Cue spooky music now.)

Turns out, the previous owner of the saltbox had a side gig as an antique dealer. Thus, the old children’s tea set in the loft.

But I digress. Back to the raccoon.

The carnage the raccoon left behind was horrific, my neighbor said. We then just stared at the now-empty coop, both of us offering a holy, silent blessing to life — and its fragility.

I then heard him speak softly, sadly: “Watch out for your flock.”

Today, a raccoon showed up at my coop. My girls won’t be running freely today chasing bugs or inhaling worms. Sorry, ladies.

It will be a miracle if my chickens survive the summer. Luckily, I do believe in miracles. I also believe in God’s strength to help me face whatever I will need to face if said miracle turns into a massacre.

(And no, I didn’t take this picture. I was not lucky enough to capture such a funny photo.)

Old Stone Well Farm

God’s Gift of Affirmation

I went to the post office this morning and received a surprise — something that meant a lot to me, something that got me thinking more deeply about how I am serving God and something that I just had to share with you all. And so, come and join me for a few minutes by the old stone well. Just click the below video to start playing.

Old Stone Well Farm

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Remembering Birthdays

Friends, there won’t be a Sunday video this weekend as I am taking some time to catch up on projects, tend to the garden and chickens and — after the latest news coming from our government — I am taking time to be still and soak in all of God’s healing grace that I find in the chirping of the birds, the cackling of the chickens and the robust bellowing of the cows (watch the video for the backstory on this!).

It’s also my birthday weekend…well, my birthday is June 27. Still, my husband knows how I like to milk my special day. It is special. And as I get older I realize this more and more. I also realize how meaningful it is to remember someone’s birthday (more on this, too, in the video).

To be remembered … to know we are loved … to feel our gifts are seen … our voice is heard … isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t that what makes this world a better place? So, thank you all for remembering my birthday. I know I am not the greatest at returning the favor, but this year as I blow out the candles on the cake, I will vow to become better at remembering.

Blessings and peace!!!