The New Mountain Farmgirl Wants to “Trade Howdys”

Greetings, farmgirls, from the Mountains of New Hampshire!! As my bio says on the sidebar, I hail from the Presidential Range in the White Mountain National Forest. I’m only minutes as the crow flies from Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast … and oh my, what a view! Whether I’m on the summit surveying the panorama … or far below, gazing up at the magnificent peaks, I am in absolute awe of Nature’s many blessings! That’s why I’ve decided to call my new farmgirl blog “Mountain Bounty.”
Although I’ve lived in other places over the course of my life, I’ve always been near the mountains … they speak to my soul! As I sit in my rustic cabin today, I’m overwhelmed by the opportunity to be able to converse with my kindred farm-sister spirits who reside across our diverse country. I’m sooooo longing to make your acquaintance! It’s my hope as Mountain Farmgirl, to round out our “verbal topography,” so to speak, in a blog with a slightly different twist. I’ve found that life in the mountains has a unique perspective, which provides both challenges as well as opportunities. In fact, I find that mountains are a great metaphor for life in general. Sometimes we’re feeling on top of the world and the sky’s the limit; other days it feels like one long, uphill climb, where we have to make a conscious effort to just put one foot in front of the other to keep on goin’... But that’s okay; it’s all part of the journey. Let’s hike it together!
To introduce myself to you in a nutshell, I am a 55 year old wife, writer, artist, and homeschool mother, who’s had 4 boys and a girl, one of whom was born in a tipi! Homeschooling has been one fantastic lifelong adventure after another; a real blessing! Though most of our kids are out of high school now, we’ve kept the learning ongoing by running an inn together (now in our 6th year) here in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state of New Hampshire. It’s become a calling I feel passionate about. I’ve recently started giving weekend workshops on topics of special interest to artsy- and outdoorsy women at my log cabin on Tin Mountain. Up here, I coined the phrase “Hermit Hospitality,” because what I try give to my “sisters” who stay with me is a warm, loving, cozy haven of sharing and learning, but one which also honors the sacred, “quiet” space we all need from time to time, to just “get away from it all.”
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to reinvent myself a number of times. After college I worked as a curator for a 19th century farm museum, demonstrating all the homestead crafts such as weaving, spinning, open hearth cookery, cidermaking, candle- & soapmaking, and even blacksmithing. I’ve also owned and operated a restaurant; been the editor of a magazine, built a post and beam house from the trees on up, cared for orphaned wildlife on our nature sanctuary, as well as lots of other neat stuff which you can read briefly about on my website ( From time to time I’ll write about some of these things; it’s all grist for the mill! Like you, I’ve had many ups and downs along my journey, but throughout it all, the good times and bad, there has been a common denominator of good clean living, a homesteader’s passion for self-sufficiency, independence, self-reliance and a love of everything “FARM”! Discovering MaryJane’s first book at one of my favorite haunts was like coming home for me! You know … a dejà vú moment; the kind of “kindred spiritness” that just clicked in a strong and profound way. (But then, ladies, I don’t need to explain such a thing to YOU; that’s just a farmgirl “thing” we all have in common!)
Because of my community involvement through our inn, I am known locally as “The Lodge Lady.” Each year I create the 600-pound cake for the annual Town Festival, as well as special “culinary carpentry” projects I construct for the holidays. (I make large architectural pieces out of gingerbread for charity.) On the flip side of such large and outrageous delights, however, I revel in doing quiet, contemplative, everyday things like drawing, painting, journaling, taking long walks in the woods and hikes in the mountains. I love to play the recorder. I also spend as much time as I can find in my studio, just creating. And while it’s true I’ve had some fabulous life experiences, I don’t consider myself at all “out of the ordinary.” Much of my life I’ve lived on a shoestring and pulled myself up from my own farmgirl boot straps. I have learned through necessity to create opportunities, and just as importantly, to recognize the ones that we all encounter in everyday life. I’ve learned that opportunity is everywhere … and once we learn to recognize it, the trick is then to act on it. I love helping others realize their potentials in this way. As Mountain Farmgirl, I like to approach life’s adventures with a compass in one hand and a conqueror’s outlook in the other … but like all of us, I’m very human. When I stumble and fall, I find that’s where a lot of the “real life” stuff happens … in the getting up again between one’s peaks and valleys. I like to write about stuff like that. Writing is a passion for me; I’ve been doing it since the second grade! I’m not new to blogging, either … I write a daily column for my website at the inn. Anyway, that’s the kind of sharing the Mountain Farmgirl’s blog hopes to be about … I eagerly look forward to meeting you online, as well!
Mountain Blessings,


By: Marisa
On: 06/21/2010 17:34:14
Looking forward to reading more of your posts! I'm currently in my first few years as a homeschool mom.
By: JoAnn
On: 06/21/2010 17:40:28
Wow, am I excited! I was thinking there should be a mountain girl blog on Maryjane's Farm--after all she was a backcountry ranger--and now my wish has come true. I live in the Selkirk Mountain range in the "Forgotten Corner" of Washington. I also have been married 40+ years. My husband is a retired mycologist so lots of our life revolves around mushrooms and the outdoors. Looking forward to your posts. JoAnn (Mountain girl on Maryjane's chat room
By: Mary Anne
On: 06/21/2010 17:41:19
Dear Cathi,
Thanks so much for your unique part in this quilt of farm girls! Living near the Cascade Mountain foothills, they are a constant in a ever changing world. Even though the colors change with the seasons, there is a permanacy and strength that is always there. Looking forward to some great postings!
By: Sheila Heichel
On: 06/21/2010 17:46:08
Welcome to the world of Mary Jane, I have just found my very first issue of this wonder*filled magazine and I just can't seem to put it down. I can't wait to read more of your blogs and to get to know you better, soul to soul, spirit to spirit. I have become a rural farm girl this last year and I am so loving being able to bond with Mother Earth once again and to really get back to my roots and to teach my grandchildren to love and respect the land and all it's ways.
Welcome home!
By: Lorinda
On: 06/21/2010 17:46:21
Thank you for the wonderful blog. I would love to sit and have tea with all the other farm girls around the country. As far east as you are, I'm out in the "west". I live in a small community called Chino Valley in Arizona. I was born in New York, but spent most of my life in Phoenix, until a little over 4 years ago. We moved onto 5 acres of land, with a garden, pet deer and have now acquired, 3 chickens, 2 cats and 3 dogs. I knew absolutely nothing about living on or off the land.

A friend of mine recently introduced me to your books which I devoured in one sitting and now go back to in depth. It was like finding a friend. I never knew that inside of me there was this farm girl!

I was a teacher for over 17 years, but have decided to home-school my last son this year. We are truly looking forward to the adventure.

I hope that more farm girls will share their journey on this blog and bring a connectedness to us all.

Blessings on you and yours.
By: Monica Huber
On: 06/21/2010 17:47:03
Interesting Blog, I hope to one day visit your lodge! Love your Farmgirl Spirit!
By: Jane
On: 06/21/2010 17:50:17
Very nice to meet you! Sounds like you have an interesting life and I look forward to your writings.
By: Tammy
On: 06/21/2010 17:50:43
Greetings from Nebraska Cathi. I look forward to you sharing with the farmgirls. I enjoyed a cup of tea and quiet as I got to know a bit about you.

By: Patty
On: 06/21/2010 17:59:19
Hi Cathi!
I look forward to reading more from you.
I live "next door" in Vermont.
By: Rebecca
On: 06/21/2010 17:59:42
A Warm Welcome Cathi! Was thrilled to read more about you and what "stirs your soul" so to speak. Am looking fwd to reading more about you, the Inn, and your postings. What a wonderful way to start the evening learning about someone new. Though you mentioned you don't see yourself as "out of the ordinary", we are all extraordinary women with different challenges and have so enjoyed reading about some of what makes you, you. Looking fwd to more.

By: Pam deMarrais
On: 06/21/2010 18:02:45
Well Cathi, I am so pleased to read about you. You are a woman of many talents. Better yet, you have realized the joy of giving. I am sure that you have touched many lives, and now you will touch ours!
I lived in beautiful New Hampshire in a little town called Strafford, at the foot hills of the White Mountains. I too, have enjoyed the amazing views from the top of Mount Washington. On a clear day, we could see the smoke from the Cog Railway from Blue Job Mountain in Strafford [named after the carpet of low bush blueberries]. When the winters got too long for me, I moved a little farther south on the Appalachian Range, and I landed in Tennessee, not far from the Great Smokey Mountains.
I am looking forward to your wonderful stories and gifted writing.
By: Jennifer
On: 06/21/2010 18:12:17
Welcome! I am so happy to hear from a sister in another region. My mountain view includes Mt. Hood (near Portland, OR) or when visiting my mountain-dwelling sibling in California- Mt. Shasta. I'm looking forward to hearing more about you and learning a thing or two, too!
By: Johnnie Lynn
On: 06/21/2010 18:12:28
What picturesque writing that pricks the imagination with desire to run wild into the mountains for solitude. Thank you for sharing an attitude which comes from a full heart desiring a place to share life.
By: Marsha
On: 06/21/2010 18:12:46
Howdy, right back at you!

By: Reba
On: 06/21/2010 18:17:12
It is a great surprise and blessing to find your blog! I absolutely love the mountains. They do give you a different perspective on life. Welcome! I look forward to getting to know you. Reba
By: Luann
On: 06/21/2010 18:18:21
I am sooo glad you are here. We seem to have many different things in common; from homeschooling 3 boys and 1 girl, I taught myself many homemaking/homesteading skills, I am about to graduate with a nursing degree and just bought 60 acres of WV mountain (holler actually). We are building a post and beam cabin, my husband and disabled 27 yo daughter hopefully will move by August and I will move in Dec. when I graduate. If all works out maybe I will be able to come for a visit before I get a new job in WV. Oh, and I am married to my high school sweetheart, we have been together 30+ years. I will definately be looking forward to your postings. Thanks for sharing!
By: Heather H :) :) :)
On: 06/21/2010 18:24:30
HI Cathi,

My name is Heather. It's nice to meet you. I was just checking my email and I saw this and I thought...this must be new :) :) What a delight it was to read your post about your mountain life, what you've done in the past and what you do now. I would love to do much of the same someday. Your photos are really favorite was the wood porch!!!
I hear you on the Mary Jane Butters books..I LOVE them...and when I picked up my first copy of the magazine..well, it was definitely a "kindred spirit" thing going on as you say :) :) :) I found something that embodied the kind of life I want to lead for myself!!!

It was a delight to meet you. I look forward to reading more of your posts. I'll go and check out your website, too!!!

Greetings and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)
By: Amy
On: 06/21/2010 18:25:21
Hi Cathi. Our family just returned home to North Idaho after a visit to your lovely "live free or die" state. I must say, we fell in love with New Hampshire. We were primarily in the Albany, NY & Stockbridge, MA area for my son's graduation from RPI and wedding in South Westerlo/Greenville, NY (Another beautiful area!). He's now living in Walpole, NH so we spent a little time there...what beauty and wonderful history there is everywhere! I look forward to returning some day. I also look forward to reading your blog.

By: Theresa Haislip
On: 06/21/2010 18:31:26
Hello and Welcome Cathi!
I live on a 10 acre farm on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Mountains of North Carolina and am so glad to hear from another Mountain Farmgirl. As a fifth-generation weaver and former (graduated) Homeschool mom, I found much to relate to in your sharing. That's what I love about this Mary Jane community. . .so much in common amidst so much diversity.
I look forward to hearing more from your corner of the world. ~~~
By: Brenda
On: 06/21/2010 18:42:06
There is something about the mountains that speaks to me as well. I don't live near any, but spent many wonderful weekends with my family in the Adirondacks, Upstate NY. Then our second oldest daughter married in Redstone, Colorado; in the mountains; moved to Alaska; to the mountains, and every time I visited, my soul soared. Also, I have a sister that lives in Phoenix, Arizona, so I've enjoyed her mountains too. Everywhere I go, I am blessed by Nature.
By: Bonnie
On: 06/21/2010 18:48:23
Your life is an inspiration to me! Teaching your life experiences to others is valiant! I will follow your blog to see more about your daily life at the Lodge! Thanks for sharing!
By: Marie
On: 06/21/2010 18:58:24
Cathi - I know your blog will be a refreshing addition! I look forward to following it. I am a born and raised Florida girl, but the mountains are magnetic for me. I was drawn to several western mountain states in college to work and a love for them grew. I even met my husband while working in beautiful northwestern Montana. Hopefully, one day, our family of 5 have a chance to make our own mountain home...that is our dream. Thanks for sharing about your life experiences. I can't wait to hear more.
By: Molly
On: 06/21/2010 19:04:09
WOW this is soo amazing! I really enjoy reading these blogs !
By: Gretchen Eike Myers nee Manco
On: 06/21/2010 19:11:35
Dear Cathi,

How wonderful of you to be a part of the "verbal topography" of this community! Thank you for sharing about your life--the up-hills and the down-hills, which we all experience.

Until recently, I've lived near both the ocean and the mountains...I'm on the edge of desert now, and developing new "lenses" with which to see the beauty has been difficult, but do-able (yes, a farm-girl can...). The ladies in West Texas have been just wonderful, and there is now a burgeoning group of farm-girls who meet to encourage one another and to learn from one-another.

May you be blessed in this endeavor, and I'm looking forward to more mountain news!


P.S. My Bernese Mountain dog is adapting to the heat; but, like me, misses the snows.
By: Linda
On: 06/21/2010 19:16:53
What a lovely woman you seem to be! I enjoyed reading this and hope to read more. I will also visit your Inn website. I am in middle Georgia and my dream is to one day move to the north Ga mountains and create my own little piece of Heaven on earth. I am inspired by women like you who are living their dream. Keep writing!!
By: Grace~katmom
On: 06/21/2010 19:17:43
Hi Cathi,
so glad to met you and I look forward to hearing aout your museings on the mountain...
By: Ann
On: 06/21/2010 19:24:19
Welcom Cathi
By: Pamela Thoms
On: 06/21/2010 19:33:14
I, too, love the mountains and am happy when I can get out and enjoy their beauty. Looking forward to reading your posts.
By: Michelle
On: 06/21/2010 19:41:19
I'm very interested to read what you have to write. I'm fifty-six years old and live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. I didn't move here until my husband retired five years ago, but wanted to be here always...
By: Mickey V
On: 06/21/2010 19:51:29
You are a wonderful inspiration to all of us with dreams.
By: Julie Weaver (ClaireSky)
On: 06/21/2010 19:56:33
Welcome to MaryJane's Farm! I have just met you and I can tell you are going to fit right in! I look forward to reading about the Mountains of New Hampshire. Welcome!
By: Jeanine
On: 06/21/2010 19:58:14

It was a pleasure to read your Mountain Farmgirl blog. I look forward to more insights into mountain living! At the moment I live in Colorado with our own set of mountains. Being in the mountains, next to the trees, is just a special way to revive the soul. I take my boys camping whenever possible. Thanks for joining the Farmgirl blogs.
By: Margaret Taffi
On: 06/21/2010 19:58:55
Love your attitude and spirit! I sometimes feel like an odd ball among the folks I meet, but reading your comments as with MaryJane's, I know that I'm not alone!Thank you!
By: Joan Chunko
On: 06/21/2010 19:59:23
Hi Cathi, it seems we have some common interests! I, too, live in the mountains in Northeast Pennsylvania and love it. Writing, photography and living 'free' are some of my interests. I just had a nice article published in our local newspaper about deer. If you'd like to read it, you can access it at:

You can find me on Facebook; there you will find some of my websites. Joan Chunko
By: Noreen
On: 06/21/2010 20:27:22
Dear Cathi,
Wow! I can't wait to meet you. It is "neighbor" farm girl. I live in Vermont. I would love to see you place and maybe come for a visit. I grew up on a dairy farm and now live in the woods. We love nature and animals here. I home schooled for 14 years and loved every minute of it and still like to have adventures with our children. Thanks for sharing with us.
By: Tara Aarness
On: 06/21/2010 20:33:01
Hi Cathi,

It's a real pleasure to meet you. Your photos are absolutely breath taking and I must say, you've found your calling as a writer, as well. In a moment here, I'll be heading over to your blog to read just a bit more.

Your words of...

"Much of my life I’ve lived on a shoestring and pulled myself up from my own farmgirl boot straps. I have learned through necessity to create opportunities, and just as importantly, to recognize the ones that we all encounter in everyday life. I’ve learned that opportunity is everywhere … and once we learn to recognize it, the trick is then to act on it"

...are rolling around in my mind, like a tumbleweed. I feel you've given me a gift or a puzzle (one of my passions) to sort out.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and I look forward to growing our Farmgirl friendship.

All my best to you and yours,

By: Dorene Paoluccio
On: 06/21/2010 20:34:56
What a dream life you have!
We've lived on a six acre (now 40) almond orchard in central CA for over 35 years. I have an antique replica one room school on the property to teach "penmanship and deportment" to the neighborhood children. Our log cabin in the foothills near Yosemite is on 110 isolated acres. It was inspired by the American artist/ author Tasha Tudor and the movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (especially the sleeping loft),so we don't have TV or a computer or any modern appliances. I think I have always been a pioneer woman at heart. Thanks to Maryjane, I am now in contact with other kindred spirits who love antiques, wildlife, gardening and the 1800's lifestyle.
Thanks for sharing,
Dorene P.
By: Dorene Paoluccio
On: 06/21/2010 20:35:29
What a dream life you have!
We've lived on a six acre (now 40) almond orchard in central CA for over 35 years. I have an antique replica one room school on the property to teach "penmanship and deportment" to the neighborhood children. Our log cabin in the foothills near Yosemite is on 110 isolated acres. It was inspired by the American artist/ author Tasha Tudor and the movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (especially the sleeping loft),so we don't have TV or a computer or any modern appliances. I think I have always been a pioneer woman at heart. Thanks to Maryjane, I am now in contact with other kindred spirits who love antiques, wildlife, gardening and the 1800's lifestyle.
Thanks for sharing,
Dorene P.
By: kay
On: 06/21/2010 20:42:05
Welcome....We are about as far apart geographically
as can be in the United States, this "farmgirl" lives in eastern Washington.

Looking forward to reading more.
By: Cindy Williams
On: 06/21/2010 20:42:24
Well hello Lodge Lady! I do believe that we are Kindred spirits! We have so many "loves" in common and I'm sure that we could meet an the front porch and chat for quite some time! The only thing I worry about is how on earth you would find the time to do that...sounds like you are a mighty busy gal! I wish I had half of your energy...could you send a bit my way?

I'll be waiting here for my portion of energy and it sure was nice meeting you!
By: Debbie Bird
On: 06/21/2010 21:49:17
I love your article! What a full life your have chosen. I can almost feel, taste, smell and see it. In my minds eye and ear I hear recorder music flitting around like butterfly wings while sitting in your lovely wooden rocking chair and life settling for a warm summer evening. Yum! What a slice of life pie you have. Way to go sister! you inspire me. Sister #1700
By: Katie Pence
On: 06/21/2010 22:04:27
I love what you've written, you sound like my inner dreams.

I live off the grid in a home I contracted from the tree up.Garden like a maniac,cook for everyone and have overwhelming enthusiam about almost everything.

I want to know how you do all you do and still get to spend most of your time creating.I run around so fast cleaning,cooking,working(although most of that is creative) driving kids,bills, so that then I can be creative.

Good luck with this bog,I look forward to reading it.
By: Sue Grimm
On: 06/21/2010 22:25:18
Hi, Cathi! I live west of you, in NY state's Adirondack Mountains. I'm so pleased to meet you, and learn about your life! The lodge looks gorgeous in the photos. I'm a performing musician who also teaches privately, an interpretive naturalist who works in a butterfly house at our nature center, and a lifelong student of nutrition and aromatherapy. In former re-invents I was a college librarian, an administrative assistant, a language tutor, a weekend manager of a lodge, and a yoga / dance instructor! (Still do that sometimes.) Mountain gals usually need to have multiple jobs to survive, both financially and intellectually! So much to experience, so little time!
By: Raynita
On: 06/21/2010 22:28:54
Cathi, I enjoyed reading your blog and picturing your beautiful mountains in my head was a joy. As you can see by my email address, we have some things in common. Our place is known as The Lee Lodge:) We live in Oklahoma and home school. My sister-in-law is a Midwife and one of her best birth stories was of a birth in a tipi. I never tire of hearing that story:) I also felt like I was coming home when I picked up my first Mary Jane magazine. I read her magazines and books over and over.....they feed my soul.
Looking forward to your future blogs............Raynita
By: Debbie Siemens
On: 06/21/2010 23:04:26
What a wonderful life you have discovered and embraced! This is an encouragement to us all to make the most of this one, precious life we each have.
I also must say that the picture of you on the rock is so lovely, it would make a great painting! It is amazing and inspiring.
your Farmgirl friend,
Debbie S.
By: Robin In Washington
On: 06/21/2010 23:35:27
Love your Blog and I am looking forward to the next one
By: Donna Coburn
On: 06/22/2010 03:06:21
So glad to meet you Cathi! I'm next door in Maine!! N. H. is one of my favorite peaceful & beautiful!! My son lives in the N.H. Mtns. in any sparetime!! He's a hiker, climber, skier. not a commercial hiker, etc. a backwoods hiker, etc. He's taken me to some of his special spots. I've been in love with N.H. since childhood (50-60 years ago!!) I've been a country, mountain farm girl all my life!! animals, woods, gardens, you nameit!! Love It!!! Donna
By: Jean Thompson
On: 06/22/2010 03:08:41
I traveled up near the White Mountains in the New England States back in 1976 for 2 weeks,when the Tall Ships sailed to Boston Harbor. I was on Vacation and drove some of the back roads and swam in a cold Mountain Lake with a Friend and camped out in a tent...The Mountains are Beautiful and you are right about the Peacefulness of being with Nature.. I live in the North Eastern Corner of Ohio in Ashtabula County, about 12 miles south of Lake Erie. I own about 4.5 acres of land, I too am 55, married, 3 sons, youngest is 21 and will start his 3rd year of College this fall and have
4 Grand children ( 3 boys and 1 girl ).
We have Flowering shrubs, fruit trees, 2 Hazelnut bushes, 20 Blueberry bushes, elderberries, Thorn less Blackberries, Purple and Gold Raspberries,Rhubarb and a Garden and lots of weeds of course.
I work full time with Comfort Keepers - home care for Seniors, used to work in a Nursing/Rehab Home in Activity Dept plus am a State Tested Nursing Assistant- licensed since 1996 , and in a Upholstery shop 3 mo. long enough to know that I didn't want to work there any longer., Past Member of Boy Scouts of America, Den Leader,Training Staff, Unit and Roundtable Commissioner Took Outdoor Leader Training and was very involved while my sons were active, Oldest son became an Eagle Scout. and my Husband was involved for quite a few years too. I have been a Hospice Volunteer for about 10 years, visiting Patients.

I love baking breads and pies, sewing, starting to Quilt, crochet, and love my 2 dogs...Love to Read when I find free time....Lots more on my want to do list...
I just started to Read the Blogs here on Mary Jane site..
By: Ruthe
On: 06/22/2010 03:18:05
Dear Cathi,

What wonderful blog and perspective on life! You are indeed a kindred spirit! I truly look forward to reading your insights on Mountain Bounty. Thank you for being willing to share your life journey with the rest of us. Can't wait to hear more!

Blessings to you!

By: Sherry Mitchell
On: 06/22/2010 03:20:51
Good Morning Inn Lady! Though I am new to the world of Mary Janes Farm world, but having lived my life on a farm, I am delighted with your blog! We have much in common, though I don't have any mountains here in Southern Ohio, 35 miles east of Cincinnati,I recognize the beauty in all that is around me.I married my high school sweetheart too, 35 years ago this August. I am working on my first children's book. I look forward to reading more.
By: Debbie Pavlovcic
On: 06/22/2010 03:38:42
Your place sounds wonderful. I also live in the mountains of Pa. I would love to come to New Hampshire and take a workshop! I loved reading your article
By: Katy~TheCountryBlossom
On: 06/22/2010 03:45:49
Hello! :) It's wonderful to *meet* you! :)
By: meredith
On: 06/22/2010 04:57:16
So happy to have another Farmgirl friend! We farm in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia- I understand about that "mountain thing!"- Our place overlooks the Blue Ridge for miles. Welcome!!!!!!!
By: Cam
On: 06/22/2010 06:02:06
Welcome Cathi!
Your experiences and interests sound as diverse as mine, well, as many of ours, on this Farmgirl Connection venture. I'm looking foward to learning more about your neck of the woods. Glad you're here!
Cam in Indiana
By: Donna Rae Barrow
On: 06/22/2010 06:05:03
Howdy, Cathi!

What an interesting introduction! It sounds like you live in a beautiful spot. I'm in Virginia, and visit often the mountains here where my father grew up. It's always like coming 'home', though I've never actually lived in those majestic mountains. Looking forward to future posts!!!
By: Jo Ann
On: 06/22/2010 06:05:09
I live in Pennsylvania in a beautiful valley, but escape to our cabin in the Allegheny Mountains as often as I can. Reading your blog was like reading a letter from a sister. We are indeed kindred spirits. The quiet, writing, painting, reading............can't wait for another visit! Keep writing!
By: laura sage
On: 06/22/2010 06:20:56
have a feeling that, i'll be having tea with you every morning.
By: Jacquie
On: 06/22/2010 06:32:50
Good lord woman. You have to write a book. I grew up in one of New York City's worst tenement housing communities. I read every book I could find about women, wilderness and solitude. Dreaming, always dreaming, of the day I could live another kind of life. I now live in an Illinois suburb, on a busy road, with two acres and a ton of learning ahead of me. My square foot garden is the beginning. Really happy actually with how much there is to learn about homesteading right outside my door.
By: Karen Nessly
On: 06/22/2010 06:52:32
What a lovely addition to the "family" ! Welcome, welcome, welcome!
By: deborah motylinski
On: 06/22/2010 07:07:24
It is a pleasure to read your blog. You have accomplished quite a lot in your life and still sound very upbeat. I look forward to many more notes from you. I would love to hear about all your homesteading and living off the land experiences. I think the way of the future is to live simply yet with fun and laughter. Please continue to chronicle your life. It is an inspiration to me. Thank you.
By: Ann
On: 06/22/2010 07:10:30
Hello,Cathi. I am happy to see that we farm girls now have an East Coast presence. I was immediately drawn to Mary Jane when I discovered her self-published magazine in the Chautauqua Institution bookstore several years ago and I have been a fan ever since. I enjoyed your comments about your mountain life and will look forward to reading your blog. I am amazed at the stories and lives of Mary Jane's bloggers. Welcome! Ann
By: Marsha
On: 06/22/2010 07:24:10
You have done a "million" things in your life. Congratulations. I live in the mountains of West Virginia. After school I spent 12 years in Washington DC and was so glad to come "home" to WV. I have always wanted to travel to the northeast. I look forward to reading your blog.
By: Catherine
On: 06/22/2010 08:09:15
I loved your words of inspiration!! When I read them I thought, "Wow, she is me!" We are so much alike, and definately kindred spirits, but so many miles apart. I live in Kansas, starting with the beautiful Flint Hills. It is amazing living on our hundred acres of bluffs, creeks, woods and fields of wildflowers. Reading your blog makes me want to come to where you are, yet I love staying where I am, as I am sure you understand.
I look forward to more of your writings and inspiration!
Happy At Home!
Cat Livingston
By: Valynne
On: 06/22/2010 08:10:01

I was so excited to see a "Mountain Farmgirl" post waiting for me. The cabin graphic you show at the top of this post is similar to the one I used when I first opened my little soap business in Evergreen, CO. We are currently caretaking in Cape Cod...maybe I can get away for a few days of "Hermit Hospitality" at your Inn before our next sit...that sounds lovely. So pleased to meet you here in blogsville - I am headed over to your lodge website now : )

By: wanda
On: 06/22/2010 08:26:20
Whew...what a lovely find when i saw your site. Thanks for sharing yourself!

i LOVE mountains....i think the ideal place to live would be in a forest, if only weather conditons permitted! but it is fun to have a nice nest in our upstairs bedroom amongst the trees, sort of like a treehouse. i love all outdoors...have since birth, as far as i can tell!

i was born in Nashua, parents had gone there from Maine, seeking employment opportunities, and they moved our family back to Maine when i was 14. We had lived in Derry most of those years.

i am 54, have been married to my high school love since 1974, and we have been blessed with three daughters, one son, three grandsons and one granddaughter. Hey! Never noticed the reversal there before~

i'd love to walk the AT one day, among many other dreams i hold. Another dream is to have an alpaca farm!'s another love of my life. Haven't climbed Mt Washington....a bit of a drive, and no guarantee of proper weather. Took a walk up Layfayette with our oldest daughter one time...wanna go say at the Green Leaf Hut there sometime.

You do so many of the things i dream of doing, ie "soap-making, spinning, painting, writing, etc etc!!"

i love hiking, biking....outdoors!

Thanks for introducing us to you!

By: Sunny Florida
On: 06/22/2010 08:27:48
Greetings New Hampshire from Sunny Florida...Welcome to Farmgirls, such an adventure for us all. Luv your expression in your writing and hope to come to NH sometime to see Mt. Washington Observatory. Have a Great Day, thanks for sharing the Mountains that I Luv sooo much...:)
By: Quiltsjoy
On: 06/22/2010 08:31:47
Hello Cathi. Whoopee I get to be the first to say Howdy! I love your pictures. I don't live near mountains but they do speak to me too. I especially like the one of you on the mountain top. What a welcome addition to the Farmgirl community.
By: Marie
On: 06/22/2010 08:42:33
I look forward to your updates. Welcome!
By: Deborah
On: 06/22/2010 08:46:13
WOW, I let out a whoopee when I read you were from the east. When I opened your post I assumed you were from the west, since MJF are ot there.

I'm off to go visit your website.


By: Julie Wemken
On: 06/22/2010 08:52:06
Hello, it's so nice to meet you. I love the mountains too. We are hoping to move up to our cabin near Yosemite in the California Sierra's once we get the remodeling done on it. You live in such a beautiful place. I'm looking forward to your blogs. I know they will be awesome. Blessings!
By: Sondi
On: 06/22/2010 09:05:16
Welcome! I too am a mountain farm girl! I live a stone's throw away from Moscow Idaho where the Palouse is an exquisite patchwork of fields but it is the mountains just to the north that bring me joy. I look forward to hearing about your neck of the woods. Thanks for joining the group!
By: Aly
On: 06/22/2010 09:08:16

Hi Cathi!
Your home and life in the mountains looks and sounds magical!
I look forward to reading your inspirational posts. I live in the big city of San Francisco, so reading about country life is refreshing and therapeutic.
I can live vicariously through you...
Take care,
By: Mary Jane from Florida
On: 06/22/2010 09:30:33
Love your blog. I was born, raised and spent all my life in flat country (not too many mountains in Central Florida) but love the mountains. Look forward to reading your posts and seeing pictures!! Became intrigued with MaryJanes Farm due to having the same name and have enjoyed reading about other "farm girls."
By: Lucinda
On: 06/22/2010 09:32:09
I feel like I can really relate to this blog! We live in a one room log cabin in the foothills of the Alleganies. We are surrounded by a hard wood forest. We have an organic garden and a small flock of free range Rhode Island Reds. We live a very simple back to the earth life style. I look forward to reading your blog!
By: Kindra
On: 06/22/2010 10:00:56
Hello Cathi!
I was excited to see your blog added to the Farmgirl Connection and look forward to reading them. I live on a small farm in central Washington State with my husband and two sons whom we also homeschool. We are hoping to move to the mountains of NE Washington one day - we love the combination of mountains and farm land - but for now we are here to help our elderly parents and are enjoying every minute of it. We enjoy raising our farm critters and gardening - each year we expand and experiment with different plants. Perhaps in the future you will be able to share about growing vegetables and flowers in the mountains? We are actually finding in the last few years that our little micro-climate here at the farm is becoming more like the mountain zone of our state, so we are having to adjust our crops, which has been fun, exciting and at times very frustrating - but again, we enjoy it.
Well, just wanted to say welcome and am looking forward to reading more on your blog.
By: Jodi
On: 06/22/2010 10:01:41
It's great to meet you, Cathi, and hear from another perspective of farmgirls. Personally, as a homeschool mom of six making do on one income, I'd enjoy hearing of your experiences raising your family. Looking forward to reading more of your blogs! Beautiful pictures too, I can just picture sitting on the porch sipping coffee and breathing in the mountain air.

Jodi (farmgirl from North Idaho)
By: Cora
On: 06/22/2010 10:10:36
Oh Cathi, I loved reading your blog...I could relate to a lot of what you wrote about life....picking ourselves up by the bootstraps when we stumble is also a more than once occurrence in my life. I am 65 and live with my husband and care for my 94 year old mother in law...I fell in love with Mary Jane magazine and could not get enough.....It brought me back to appreciation of the simple things in life...keep writing....I thoroughly enjoy it.
By: Kathy inozarks
On: 06/22/2010 10:14:37
stopping by with Howdys, I live in the ozarks of Missouri-in the woods, now retired, enjoying my creativity, and the abundant wildlife here Kathy
By: kathy inozarks
On: 06/22/2010 10:17:19
So good to read and get to know you.
By: Nan
On: 06/22/2010 10:48:40
Would be very interested in seeing pictures of your studio and some of the projects you do there. Also, the theory on how you chose to set up the studio-ideas that others can adapt.
By: Barbara Jill Brooks
On: 06/22/2010 12:25:26
I'm so happy to see mountain farmgirl's blog--wow! I am also a "farmgirl" in the mountains (the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina) southwest of Asheville. After three careers of court reporter, shopkeeper, and then postal technician, am finally in my rightful place in these beautiful mountains. As you know, mountain living involves a much different set of circumstances, but believe me it is worth it. I feel blessed so many times during each day to view the EVER changing vistas here in the southern Appalachians. Couldn't be happier. Gives me great pleasure to read your comments and to respond.
By: Vicki
On: 06/22/2010 14:25:11
Howdy to you!
I'll be looking forward to reading your blog again. I agree life is a journey,you have to take the good and the bad.
Your mountains look lovely. Good to meet you.
By: Brian
On: 06/22/2010 14:33:12
It's great to have more folks sayin' "Howdy". I have been a strong "howdy" advocate since Junior High School. There is something disarming and welcoming to the greeting that sits well with most folks.

Howdy back at ya!
By: Terrye Lenzini
On: 06/22/2010 14:53:22
Glad to meet you! I'm 61 and live in Riverside, CA. I'm crazy for beautiful photographs and you have surely posted some fantastic ones here. As a retired RN, I have lots of spare time and enjoy flower gardening, photo scrapbooking and numerous other crafts. My mother was a home economics teacher, so I learned at a very young age to sew and embroidery and just wish that I had learned her baking secrets. Welcome to the Farmgirls!
By: Tammy
On: 06/22/2010 15:36:02
You are awesome and may be my new hero. I would love to hear more about your lodge and womens weekends. I, also am a lifelong learner and am constantly learning new crafts to use in my small business and on our farm. You speak for so many of us.
By: Carol Ann
On: 06/22/2010 16:01:12
Dear Cathi: What a delight to read your blog and Lord have mercy you have got a hepin bunch of accomplishments. I am so proud of you and for you. I sure appreciate you sharing your diversity with us. Tell us some more. I know we would love to hear from you. Thanks a bundle. Lots of blessings.
By: Sunny
On: 06/22/2010 17:06:40
So nice to meet you, Cathi! I appreciate your writing, and I agree wholeheartedly with your feelings about the mountains ... I love them, too. And the photos you posted are wonderful. Is the woodcut your artwork? Very cool, and the rustic rocker is awesome. Did you make that, too? Again, great to meet you, and I look forward to reading more from your neck of the woods!
By: Jane
On: 06/22/2010 17:14:53
Hi There, gosh you are a very interesting person. I am Jane from Nebraska. A farm gal.. I enjoy, alot of the things you do too. Am getting ready to move to a fishing and hunting resort, to run restuarnt and old barn hotel. Will be moving my 6 dogs and myself to the campground there.. The resturant is almost done. I had worked 4 years at a bed and breakfast at redstone colorado. Well i just had to say Hi to you.. Jane
By: Kathleen
On: 06/22/2010 17:48:22
Wow, what a beautiful person you are and you live in a fantastic place. Looking forward to read about your interesting life; you have the courage and the energy to live like you desire. Bravo!
By: carolj
On: 06/22/2010 18:38:45
Howdy, Cathi!

Welcome to the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) of Georgia. I am looking forward to reading your blog and have already been inspired by your list of activities. I teach high school English and enjoy needle crafts, gardening, journaling, and reading. How do you get so much done? I'll be glad for any hints you can give.


By: Marsha
On: 06/23/2010 12:32:26
Hello Cathi,
Just a short note, to let you know how much I appreciate this blog. Your pictures and your words put inspiration and a complete fulfillness in my heart. I stated earlier in the blog I spent 12 years in Washington DC and then came home to WV. I am 49, married, still work full time, but am looking toward to retirement at 60. I am an avid knitter so possibly thinking of either spinning or setting up my own knitting shop in my retirement. I know in your part of the country, knitting is common. Is knitting one of your many attibutes?
By: RuthMarieG
On: 06/23/2010 14:17:10
Hi Cathi,
Great to have the farmgirl in the mountains perspective. We are in southcentral Kentucky near the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. We have 20 acres in a wooded hollow with beautiful springs running through our property. Living in the woods may not be for everyone but we love it. Look forward to your mountain blog.
By: Nancy J
On: 06/23/2010 14:36:02
Hello Cathi,

From the seashores of New Jersey, a sand between your toes was great to read your blog...we have somethings in common!!! Looking forward to reading your future posts...and thanks for keeping it Farmgirl Real!!!!
By: Shery
On: 06/24/2010 08:27:33
Let me add my welcome to the chorus! I'm so looking forward to reading your blog. Vermont is my favorite state (outside of my own homestate...Wyoming). I've been to Vermont twice in the past and it exceeded all of my expectations. I'm sure there is a corner of Heaven that your state was modeled after. I would love to visit again and visiting to your inn would be a dream vacation. Shery Jespersen
By: Turtle
On: 06/24/2010 08:29:02
hi there, good to read about you. I am currently in Port Orchard WA (after a dozen plus years in hawaii). I grew up just south of you by 30 minutes also in the heart of the white mtns. Had to laugh as there were so many similarities in our career travel path. (many!) Maybe it has something to do with the huge white mtn seasonal climate changes! Will be nice reading more from someone in my old stomping grounds, lol, even if it makes me homesick! (that and mom just spent 2 weeks with us and flew back yesterday!)Hubby says my accent is back.
By: Cathy K
On: 06/28/2010 14:35:25
Hello and Welcome, Cathi,
You have certainly lived a varied and exciting life, and here’s to a second half filled with as much fun, love and adventure as the first! I’m a Mountain Farmgirl in the Salt Lake Valley. The peaks of the Wasatch Mountains are practically in my backyard. I work part-time (as a bookkeeper) at an historic working farm (Wheeler Farm) a block from my home. I know I’m so blessed to have this beautiful farm as my “second home”. I so look forward to hearing more from you and about you! Hugs, Cathy
By: Monique
On: 06/28/2010 15:30:58
Hello from the smallest state in the union (Rhode Island). Although we don't have very many mountains, I like to think that we live on a tiny one. We live atop what we call a hill in the woods of a small city. I look forward to reading your posts.
By: Christine
On: 06/29/2010 05:50:39
Love your life,sounds wonderful.Looking forward to more reads from you. I work part time as a cook and room helper at a daycare. So much fun! I have 1 grown daughter and 1 grown stephdaughter and a 16 yrs. stephson and another stephdaughter, 14 yrs. My husband and I liked each other in high school and I broke up with him and then 23 years later we get back together and have been married 10 years, We love the outdoors, Gods wonderful creation! We camp and garden alot. I can as much food as possible. Don't want any chemicals in my food. I'm also a vegitarian. Can't convince my husband to be though! lol God Bless you and your family.
By: Anita Louise
On: 06/29/2010 15:59:46
Oh did I love reading your blog..such kindred spirits we are. I too, love to farm, have home schooled our 5 children (3 girls, 2 boys). I am married to my high school boyfriend, going on 40 years this December. We live in Southern California, near the Idyllwild Mts. Great view, and love to go there whenever possible. I have ran a daycare buisness out of my home for over 33 years, and have taught all "my" kids how to garden, start plants, take care of them, sew, draw and beable to express their thoughts, dreams, write stories. My dream would be to buy acreage, even just 1, and have the chickens, goats, gardens that I so long to have. I too write stories, poems and love to draw. I plan on teaching myself to quilt ...having been left some quilting material from my gramma.
Thank you for such wonderful stories of where you live. I so look forward to reading more, from everyone, and having my morning coffee with all of you!
By: misty
On: 06/29/2010 19:09:36
Howdy from North Texas!! I just graduated my homeschooler. Its pretty flat here in Texas but I adore the mountains! I look forward to reading more.
By: Nancy
On: 06/30/2010 05:06:32
The mountains hold my heart also, even though I don't live in the mountains of VA my heart is there. My ancestors were from the Blue Ridge Mountains. I enjoyed reading about your life and will look forward to more information.
By: Laurie
On: 06/30/2010 17:17:09
How excited I was to discover your Mountain Farmgirl Blog through Mary Jane's Farm! Although I live on a ranch on the Plains, my heart remains in the Rocky Mountains where I lived for many years of my adult life.

I look forward to reading more on your blog and connecting with other Mountain Farmgirls!
By: Sue Roach
On: 07/12/2010 08:21:45
I can't wait to read more of your blogs. I have never been to the New Hampshire area, but always wanted to go. I live in Idaho close to the beautiful mountains here, so I have the mountains, beautiful clear rivers and live on the prairie.
By: DD Edwards
On: 07/12/2010 08:57:17
Hello& Welcome!

I'm so glad you've got this going! I live in CA. and grew up going camping in the mountains of Lake Tahoe, rustic-style...felt at home more in the mountains than I felt in the city! Our lives I think have some similarites: Love of the mountains and farming, homeschooling our kids (I've been able to homeschool my 7 for a good portion of their education), had the privilege of speaking at our homeschool conference once, am on the artistic side (commercial art major while in college), had a craft business with one of my daughters while she was in high school (had to close it down 3 years ago though, and volunteered with three of my kids on a historical working farm in the San Francisco Bay Area (Ardenwood Farm). I definitely agree with you that the mouontains are part of life as in there are times when I feel like I'm on top of the world, and other times I feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle, and that it seems like putting one foot forward is the hardest thing to do. I'm struggling in my life right now-challenges, changes, new opportunities-I know that these are needed to grow for me, and that the challenges will pass for the time being until I need to climb the next least these challenges are helping me to refocus my thoughts and intentions, my 'quiet space' takes me back to the time I spent camping in the mountains, working on the farm, times I was able to get to the seashore.......Thank you for the refreshment you offer through this site!
By: Jennifer Rausch
On: 07/12/2010 09:06:59
Ahh the memories I have of your beautiful mountains in New Hampshire (Loon Mountain in particular) are something that bring a smile to my face. We actually reside in San Clemente, CA but love all of the wonderful stories and ideas in Mary Jane's magazine.
By: Denise
On: 07/13/2010 05:07:30
I was delighted to read your blog.I noticed the date on other comments was June.I just got notice of it yesterday.What's up with that? I love Mary Jane's magazines and often refer to it as my "bible"to daily living.We are neighbors of sort,I live on the coast and work at Tuttle's which is the oldest farm in America still owned by the same family since 1632.Hopefully some day our paths will cross.Looking forward to more of your insight.

By: Nancy Brown
On: 07/14/2010 15:41:58
Oh, how I wish I had known about you and the lodge last September when I was revisiting your lovely woodland! Franconia Notch was obscured by heavy mist and rain so I was unable to feel the soul satisfying sensation of gazing on it's greatness. The last time I was there, the Old Man of the Mountain was still holding court and I was with a man who couldn't appreciate it's wonder. I look forward to reading of your adventures.
By: Debbie
On: 07/15/2010 20:18:12
Hi Cathi,
How nice to get to know you ( another passionate farmgirl at heart) through your blog. When I discovered Mary Janes Farm it was as if I was hit over the head with all I knew was right and true for me...We share many things in common!
We've homeschooled our two kids since day one, ( they are now 12 and 14. Answering the call to homeschool our children and leave an 18 year career as a hairstylist and salon owner has been the best thing I ever did besides marrying my wonderful husband. I've always been optomstic, and living life on the homeschooling path has allowed me to embrace more of my god given creative gifts while nurturing them in our children.

I too have a soft spot for the mountains. The Sierra Nevada's in particular. I was raised in the high desert of Northern Nevada and those mountains were my play ground until we moved East 9 years ago. I can still picture the place on the highway where the sagebrush ended and the tall pine forest began.Before our children came, my dear hubby and I spent many weekends camping, hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing and canoeing, around the shores of Lake Tahoe... Some of our favorite times were just spent quietly sitting in the warm sand taking in the view and the smell of the tall pines while watching the water sparkle...When we traveled we always stayed in BnB's. Yours sounds especally wonderful and I'm not so far away that I couldn't round up a few of my farmgirl friends and head your way for a weekend retreat!

Life takes it's twists and turns as we listen to our hearts. These days we enjoy living in America's Hometown Plymouth, MA. and spending as much of each summer in our little Solar Cottage By the Sea as we can. We enjoy the luxury of solar lights, and a solar powered pump to flush the potty, but we haven't caved into Satelite for T.V.!

Don't think we ever will... We would much rather hear the mourning doves, fog horn, shorebirds and the waves... or just quiet.. that's o.k. too! The ocean has a corner of my soul too!

I'm passionate about teaching our children to be as self- sufficiant as possible in our modern world. We keep chickens, grow veggies and flowers, cook together, live and learn together...and after reading this months MJF, I'm on the look our for local grass fed beef!
So glad you are here!

I look forward to hearing more about your beautiful life in the mountains...

Beach Blessings to you!

By: Valarie
On: 07/17/2010 19:03:58
Hey Cathi! I am excited about this blog, I live on the north side of Mt. Wash in the Jefferson flats. Look forward to someone who understands our weather and its particular challenges ~ HOWDY!
By: Pat
On: 08/09/2010 16:47:36
Hi Cathi ~ I'm a happy & proud New Hampshire resident, too. My husband and I have been married for 37 years and lived in New Hampshire for 27 years and we will never leave. We live near Concord in a fairly rural area but we are in the process of selling our home of 6 1/2 years and moving to the home that we've dreamed of for all of our married lives. Our 2 daughters are grown and have given us 4 wonderful grandsons and now it's time for us to move to smaller digs. We are hoping to buy a small log cabin on 8 acres at the end of a dirt road. We want to start an organic vegetable farm and raise chickens & other animals (we have 11 hens and 2 roosters presently) and we also have 2 dogs and a 15 year old cat. My husband and I both were raised in very rural areas and feel like we're finally going back to our roots (at least as far as we can go nearing retirement). My dream would be to live in the mountains but we will just have to visit when we can. I really miss the Old Man ~ he was our NH inspiration but those of us who grew to love him will never forget him. Cathi ~ I hope to meet you someday ~ maybe take one of your classes ~ I love to make candles, sew, garden and care for my chickens.
Best Wishes, Mountain Lady.
By: Liberator
On: 10/10/2011 04:17:44

I've been searching in google for some ideas and fortuitously found your site. You truly can write and teach and inspire. Keep writing - I'll keep reading.

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir