Stone Rising at Tahilla Farm


It was a sunny day in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire when I first viewed Tahilla Farm, an antique farmhouse built in 1790. I remember it like it was yesterday, except it was October 2012 (story here). With just two visits worth of photos on my camera card, I headed back to Vietnam for the big "talk" with Mr. H to determine if we would purchase it or not.  As we looked through the photos he asked..."Is that a mountain through the trees?" My answer "A mountain? where?" For me it was clearly a case of not seeing the forest for the trees...or rather not seeing the mountain through the trees. How I missed it is a clearly shows that first impressions are everything and my mind was elsewhere. With a mountain peeking through the trees, Mr. H then asked "what if?" 

That's when I knew I had him….

We purchased Tahilla Farm in December 2012 (story here) and life at Tahilla Farm began in the consecutive order of


The summer of 2013 was all about trees. We previously had 34 acres of trees and now have 28 acres of trees with a view to a mountain. We focused on the dense areas of pine trees where very little was able to flourish underneath. Our visionary landscape architect, Gordon Hayward, and poet/forester Swift Corwin set the big and noisy wheels in motion for a pretty miraculous change.  ( Gordon story here and Swift story here)

I admit there were a few times when I needed to be reassured.
If you have experience a forest clearing you will understand why.
I will say no more except…

The end result was better than we imagined. 
The land opened up, the mountain stretched before us 
and the old stone walls, many hidden in the forest, 
called out to a farm that existed long ago.

As the last logging truck rolled away, 
we walked the property, taking in the changes around us.
Many of the stone walls were helter skelter from years of cover.
It was clear that the stone walls needed a tender hand and
Gordon knew exactly who that person needed to be and arranged
 a meeting with master stone craftsman, Dan Snow.


We met with Dan before we left in August 2013 and arranged
for work to be done in April 2014. During the winter I delved into Dan's book
Listening to Stone. Within the first chapter, entitled Stone Calling
I started underlining again and again. I completely got it…we had a
stone whisperer amongst us.

A few of my underlines...

The voice of stone is an echo from the depths of time.

A dry stone wall's source of life is found in the spaces between the stones.

The stones provoke the thoughts and the thoughts give birth to the form.

As Lao-tzu wore, "Being great, it passes on; passing on; it becomes remote;
having become remote, it returns."

 Since then I have been patiently waiting for winter to pass.
One week into April and our stone walls are returning under Dan's hand.

The anticipation of seeing the finished work in a few weeks
is very exciting. I have a feeling the flight 
from Ho Chi Minh City to Boston 
is going to whizz by on sheer anticipation.

I have a few photos to share, with thanks 
to Elin Waagen and Gordon Hayward, 
for sending them to me, I am overjoyed.
It is the next best thing to being there and allows
me to share in the journey and write another chapter 
for Tahilla Farm.

"Work is the key to creative growth of the mind."
~Eliel Saarinen~

"If my wrestling some stone toward a fresh aspect 
gets this old Earth to crack a smile 
then we both have had our moment."
~Dan Snow~

In the midst of his work, Dan wrote to say..

Dear Jeanne 
Tahilla Farm is a lovely place to be working.
Ravens and hawks are migrating overhead
and deer are stirring from the forest.
~Dan Snow~

"A dry stone wall's source of life is found in the spaces between the stones."
~Dan Stone~ 

"When someone expends the least amount of motion 
on a given action, that's grace"
~Anton Chekhoc, The Seagull~

 Within a wall are the moments that created it. 
                                                  They remain there like hidden messages
slipped between the stones as they were placed.  

  The finished wall's character is defined by the spaces 
                                  between the stones as much as it is by the stones themselves. 
                                                                       ~Dan Snow~

More from Dan on mending our stone walls
"Mending Pasture Fences" 
I can't help but wonder about the hidden messages 
in the stone walls around Tahilla Farm.
I am hoping to discover a few this summer.

If you would like to learn more about Dan Snow and his work, 
I encourage you to view this short
introduction to his DVD "Stone Rising". 
I have watched the full version twice and love it!

Stone Rising video 

You can find Dan here
where you will also find information
on his work, books, workshops and blog.
Dan Snow Stoneworks

The trees are down, the mountain has risen,
the stones have taken shape.  Next on my list...

with Sheldon and Renee 
coming soon!

Sheldon and Renee at Tahilla Farm

Sending one and all best wishes for a wonderful weekend!
For those of you who asked for postcards, many are on their
way. There has been a writing frenzy this week between
photos and stories of our stone has been lovely.

Jeanne xx

If you would like to get in on the postcard action from Vietnam, simply
write to me with your address


  1. ... It's all beautiful and will truly bloom through the spring and summer ... how great it is to watch the farm coming into it's new glory ... you are great caretakers ... have fun

    Karen in VA

    1. Thank you is a every sense of the word! ;)

  2. I feel like a voyeur archeologist watching the "old" farm re-emerge from years of sleep. What fun to know that it's all yours to love, cherish, and keep.

    1. Years of sleep...I love that Webb, thank you! ;)

  3. Wow Jeanne - that IS Mt.Monadnock isn't it? How wonderful now you have opened up the forest and can see the mountain more clearly. Such a lot of work but you appear to have found wonderful people to do it - good NH workers who put heart and soul into keeping the entire state so pristine. When I lived there (DH is from Manchester) I loved the countryside, mountains and seaside……could almost go back except for the very cold, snowy winters (such as this one). We're now at an age where we seem to feel the cold much more, sigh!

    Loved seeing Dan working his stones - and his words are beautiful, especially in the note you received.
    Can't wait for you to be there and sharing more of your charming new home and acreage.

    Safe journey - will it be soon?
    Happy weekend.
    Hugs, Mary

    1. Thank you will be soon...24 days and counting... :)

  4. Oh wow these pictures are so beautiful and exciting! I just adore New England stone walls, and I'm happy we have one in our own back yard. These are really lovely, and I'm so happy you're investing the time and energy and money to restore them to their true beauty. Congrats!

    1. Thank you you well know, when you have them around you, it is hard not to develop an attachment. I think many of us could happily follow their trail for miles. ;)

  5. Those stone walls have left me speechless. I can only imagine that you will walk them over the years and come to know almost every stone.

    1. Love that thought Lisa..I think you are right. A life project... ;)

  6. What a lovely post, Jeanne! Tahilla is infused with such character...from your natural landscape to the poetry and prose of the people helping you to make it your home. I was reading the post and perfectly appropriate for Jeanne to have a poet/forester as well as a stone craftsman who thinks like a poet. The fourth picture of the walls and the fall foliage took my breath away. I seriously think you should write a book about Tahilla!

    Have a lovely weekend, my dear! xoxo

    1. Thank you Sandy, I am writing a photo book for the family, many of the posts here will make it into the book. So many stories yet to be written..a life time project, who knows how long it will take! ;)

  7. Oh what a fabulous property....the stone walls remind me of Yorkshire.
    You must be itching to get packed up and move in!

    1. I am Leslie...partly packed already with 24 days to go. ;)

  8. I adored watching everything about Tahilla + how blessed you are.

    1. I call it an Irish blessing Peggy.. for the name has roots back to do I. :)

  9. It is so wonderful that you are capturing every moment of Tahilla Farm! It's such an inspiration! This would probably rank as one of my most favorite things to do if we could! It looks so peaceful and beautiful there! Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thank you have glorious countryside around you as well. An area I would love to explore one day. :)

  10. Wow, I love your posts on Tahilla Farm and "stone rising" opens up a whole new world to me. The stone walls are beautiful and will be a source of joy in years to come along with other aspects of Tahilla. That view of the mountain and the cleared area with the stone walls should reassure you that Mr. H had a good idea though I can see how you might approach a clearing with trepidation at first! How fortunate you were to find a good forester and a stone whisperer.
    Farm Gal in VA

    1. I count my lucky stars Farm Gal and for this blog which led me to Tahilla Farm. ;)

  11. What an incredible mission you and your splendid husband are on. I do so envy you guys. Restoring and creating, what could be more wonderful? I congratulate you for your vision and courage! Yes, yes, yes keep writing. The stone master should be one of my friends! Big hug from Texas, Jeanne.

  12. I'm so impressed Jeanne, that you are managing all of this from so far both had visions; first when you came across it and second, when your husband "saw through the trees" and focusing on building up the stone wall surrounding your beautiful Tahilla Farm....quite a loving task.

    1. Thank you has been a special quest, even across the miles. ;)

  13. Jeanne I have always adored dry stone fencing. Leavevit to you to find an artist and a poet.

    1. Thanks Cindy…I am with you, it makes all the difference. ;)

  14. I experienced joy following your photo-narration sequences of tree clearing and stone arrival and installation in the Tahilla Farm. The clearing brings the light and view of the mountain.It is a beautiful beginning.

    Stones, indeed, can speak and can conceal stories.

    1. I agree Edgar and I have a few little "stories" that I plan to bring back from Vietnam. I am looking forward to hiding them..;)


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