This is a picture of our 14 yr old son, Fin, building his electric guitar. The incredibly talented and ever-generous Creston Lea mentored him through the process. We are grateful. 


This is a picture of Fin playing his new guitar. It’s safe to say he loves it a whole bunch. 

PS: Hey, Dylan, recognize the shirts? 

Now when I milk I kneel atop a layer of snow, compacted from repetition of the act, all those hoof and knee prints and even the weight of the milk itself as it gathers in the bucket. In the woods, the snow lies a foot deep or more, and we ski nearly every day. I grew up skiing, and I’m grateful for it, I love that sense of fluidity and grace, and the surefootedness I feel on skis. It’s a big part of the reason I’m so fond of winter.

I haven’t had much time to write much of anything but what I’ve committed to for work, but I will soon. In the meantime, Penny has a few more humble offerings. The birch bark birds pictured directly below are $15, plus $5 shipping and handling for any quantity. They are really pretty and satisfying to hold. I like to run naked around the house with one in each hand, making little tweeting sounds.


Up next, you’ll find a collection of fine art cards featuring her photographs. Perfect for sending notes to friends, or maybe to our new president-elect. These cards are $5 each, or receive the entire set of 12 for $45, shipping included.


Here are all the different images you’ll receive if you buy the whole set:

Finally, she still has a handful of birch bark stars available for $10 plus $5 shipping.


You can order any of the above right here, or you can email me at ben@fairpoint.net to arrange payment by carrier pigeon. Thank you.



19 thoughts on “Stuff”

    1. Yeah, well, I just wanted to be sure people understand you can do more with these things than just hang them on the tree. There’s a whole universe of options.


    2. In some ways, I think I’ve learned more about Penny because so little is said about her. The thought that keeps coming to mind is that if there is such a thing as sainthood, then she’s sure to be at the top of the list of deserving recipients. Electric guitars and a streaking husband… it’s no wonder you moved deep into the wood.

      1. There’s a place in Pennsylvania (Candlewic) that mail orders it. But they are out of it right now. I’m pretty sure bayberry only grows in the northeast. It was prized in the olden days as a light source that didn’t stink like whale oil did. S’matter of fact it smells right nice. Making it from scratch involves gathering a lot of berries and rendering them. Or so I’m told. Never done it myself. I live in Cauliforn-ya unfortunately. Maybe there’s another place that mail orders it. It ain’t cheap but a little goes a long way. You can mix it with paraffin or beeswax to make it not so expensive.

  1. You guys (and lady) never cease to amaze me! Love the guitar. Seriously, how many 14 year olds would have chosen the chickadee! Good to hear about the snow. I saw MRV was having snow blizzard conditions today. The birch bark in Vermont is incredible. Magical in many ways, the tree falls, inside rots, and the bark envelop outsurvives the rest. Do you use any for medicinal purposes? I still have a little bottle of birch syrup made in one of the Northeast Kingdom farms.
    Wishing you smooth skiing.

  2. Such talent in your family! Even your naked running. I would love to see those images of Penny’s made into a calendar. That would be a lovely thing to hang on the wall.

  3. So much fun to hear about Fin’s successes with his guitar. I was at camp with him and September and learned something about the process and hopes. Please tell him that it turned about beautifully and that I’m so glad he was a camp this year. And those birchbark creations are absolutely stunning! I can’t get enough of them. (and the cards, I love the cards). Thank you for continuing to share about you and your family, Ben, it’s a joy to read daily about the things I heard bits about it your books.

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