A number of you asked to be alerted when Erica posted our conversation. Here it is.

I always feel ambivalent about doing these recorded interviews, I think in part because I do not feel as if I’m terribly articulate in person. While I love talking with just about anyone, I don’t enjoy being reminded that I tend to stumble here and there, and say you know and um, and swear more than I should.

That’s in part why I often decline interview requests (I wrote “often” because it makes it sound as if I get waaay more requests than I actually do). But I really like and trust Erica, and I feel honored to be the subject of her particular brand of craft. She’s the Terry Gross of Vermont. Or maybe I should say that Terry Gross is the Erica Heilman of NPR. Yeah. I like that better.

Anyway. I hope you enjoy it.



17 thoughts on “Rumblestrip”

  1. Absolutely THE BEST! You and Erica complement each other in this riveting interview; Erica with such insightful questions, you with such candid responses. I take from this interview a strong sense that BOTH physical labor AND creative writing are necessary parts for Ben Hewitt’s true fulfillment. Having witnessed products of both your mental and physical prowess, and seeing how moving these products are to you, your family, and the world lucky enough to bear witness, I find myself also moved beyond words. (I also find myself praying that you allow yourself free measure to continue pursuing BOTH!) THANKS!!

  2. Such great and honest non-pretentious interview, Ben. Love your enthusiasm an positive outlook through it! It was neat you mentioned “My side of the mountain”, we just watched the film (1969) last week, and as I was watching the Thoreau-quoting boy in the tree, was thinking of Hewitt boys, naturally.
    Two generations on Rumblestrip, now I am looking forward to hearing the boys on there, and I bet one day we will.

  3. great podcast! that was the most relaxed you’ve sounded in an interview. not that you sound uncomfortable in others (you don’t), but it was nice to hear you simply tell your story rather than have to *explain* (defend?) your life. erica is amazing at creating that kind of space for a person.

  4. My daughter and I (she’s 7) listened this morning….her face lit up when you mentioned Sam Gribley:} We just got done with everything Jean Craighead George you can think of. She also seemed to admire your sense of humor, smiling at me she says, “He sure does laugh a lot”.

    I suppose there are times when you may feel pressure by people who idealize your life and the way you live it (trying not to say “lifestyle” here….), and want answers from you. Maybe you feel it’s a punishment for ‘broadcasting’ your life:} I bet most of the people, like me, just relate to what you are saying and you give us hope that we aren’t as freaky as society would paint us. I’m thankful you haven’t completely thrown in the towel! I definitely relate to doing nearly anything to avoid a meaningless job and mortgage…I would prefer to be homeless. I also have a memory of crying in a snowbank while my Mom dragged me out cross country skiing in zero degree temperatures:} Hey, you only said Fuck once!

  5. I greatly enjoyed the interview! As new reader to your blog it gave me insight into your journey and as a longtime blogger I could relate to many of the things you said you felt.

  6. Sure, you might feel more integrity in regards to the lifestyle if you didn’t broadcast your life via your writings.

    But – what a gift to live the life you’re living.

    My baseball coach when I was 10 years old impressed upon me that we must share our gift. Perhaps your writing is your way of giving back?

  7. Loved this Ben ….felt to actually be there sitting in a corner listening to you both:D:D:D ….it was very natural …very unpretentious ….and the loss of ‘skills’ is something I feel very strongly since my father passed away some years ago …he and his generation seemed to be able to turn their hand to ANYTHING ….raising 2 boys single handedly I have been looking into take them Wwoofing in an attempt to at least give them a taste of an alternative to our somewhat harsh urban existstance …..open their eyes a little ….my eldest does not like the ‘classroom’ much either:D:D …..I hope you do some more of these interviews at some point:)

    1. How old are your children? Having concerns about wwoofing that I would not be able to do much work with kids around, I did a test run last summer, by bringing kids to veggie fields where I was weeding as a worker share at a CSA. My shift was 4 hours. My 4 and 7 yr olds would last about an hour in summer’s heat, maybe 2 hours if there was corn to hide in and crickets to catch. 🙂 Of course, on a farm with animals, woods, and creeks would be a little different.
      In our metro area there are at least 3-4 public historic operating farms that host many programs for children on farm chores, and allow kid volunteers with accompanying adult where you get to do all that needs to be done on the farm (without the equipment too, usually 1890s style 🙂 ). Those are good places for starters.

      1. Thanks for your advice ….they’re a little older …..16 and 11 yr old very active boys :D:D ……I’m really wanting them to get experience of helping out where someone actually lives …to chat to them and get a little understanding that there ARE alternative ways of living as well as the ‘skill’ factor ….they both love outdoorsy stuff ….bouldering, hiking etc …my eldest did his DofE award which included an expedition and learning a skill …he worked with a ‘wood turner’ and produced all sorts …he loved it ….thing is recently he’s finding it more attractive to hang out with the ‘bros from the hood’ …so we’ll see:)

  8. I have enjoyed your blog, your book on schooling and this interview on RSV. As a Yankee now living in another part of the country, I struggle to find a balance between staying connected with my New England home and my new home — without dwelling too much in the past. A big part of it has been to introduce traditions related to self-sufficiency, gardening and “Yankee ingenuity” to my kids. Your story and the methods through which you tell it has helped me to better articulate my own. I appreciate that you share it.


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