Category Archives: reflections

A big thank you to our crew!

We couldn’t do it without you.


Our 2018 crew from L to R: Rhys (farm), Addy (bakery), and Brian (farm/bakery).

Last week we went on vacation to the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival. We go every year, but this is the first year we went for five nights, not just two. I should say, we go every year except last year, when we were busy having our twins. It was worth missing the festival to now be able to celebrate Sam and Hazel’s birthday with friends, many of whom we only see once a year in the mountains of West Virginia.


Camping with twins is maybe not everyone’s idea of a vacation, but we wouldn’t miss it. Somehow showing up at the same time of year to the same place with the same folks to do the same thing is an important reset button that helps us keep the rest of our lives in perspective. Some of the hardest decisions in my life I have made at, or just after, Clifftop.

So it is fitting that we celebrate one of the biggest changes in our life–the birth of our twins–there as well. We are so grateful to our wonderful crew for making it possible for us to get away during peak season. We had full confidence that the greenhouse would be watered, the tomatoes would be harvested, the CSA delivered, and the bread and pastries baked while we were gone. It is no small task to run a multi-faceted business like ours, and Addy, Rhys, and Brian did a great job.

Thank you!

Ben, Heather, Hazel & Sam.

The beginner’s mind

“…the open mind, the attitude that includes both doubt and possibility, the ability to see things always as fresh and new…is needed in all aspects of life.”    —Shunryu Suzuki

One of the best things about having children is watching them learn about their world. Every day brings something new into their lives, a new sensation, a new sight, a new experience. Sometimes when they are restless I take them outside and lay them on the freshly fallen leaves and they are suddenly still. I imagine the flood of perception washing over them, how the blades of grass must tickle the back of their necks, how the leaves crinkle when they move. I imagine what the tree’s canopy above them must look like, branches silhouetted against a cloudless sky.  They are taking it all in; all else is forgotten.

How is it that part of what it means to grow up seems to be loosing that freshness? Must it be so? Shunryu Suzuki didn’t think so. I don’t practice Zen Buddhism, but I do appreciate my babies’ everyday reminder to keep my mind open to what the day brings. When I do, I enjoy myself more. And my bread is better. I listen to the dough, and I am content to wait. On days that I forget to do this, the bread is part of a routine that I have performed hundreds of times. My mind is elsewhere, unable to notice the cues beneath my fingers. Most of the time it still works out, but that is not why I do what I do. I love remembering that I will never be a master of this process. So, thank you Sam and Hazel for the daily reminder!