Winter in coastal Maine on a small homestead...a slow time, an outsider might think. Slower than the bustle of high summer for sure but busy none-the-less.
There are handles to replace on hand tools. Horse harnesses to oil and mend, next year’s firewood to put up, this year’s firewood to carry in, saw logs to cut, drag to the landing with horses, sort, load onto a truck, then off to the sawmill to turn into lumber for next year’s building projects.
The livestock that has been out on pasture all summer now have to be fed and mucked out. All of this made more complicated by the plowing and shoveling of snow. As late winter draws near there are maple trees to tap and sap to boil into syrup.
There are fiber arts to indulge in, seeds to sort through and store, new recipes to try, old recipes to indulge in, awash in the abundance from the shrimp and scallop season which will be in full vigor. There are friends to visit, meals to share and music and spirits to enjoy.
To this end, Stone Soup Institute is offering a winter semester to four students who are curious and adventuresome enough to explore the learning opportunities on a small homestead in coastal Maine.
The major focus of this semester will be logging with the horses. There will be twice daily feedings and mucking out of the stables. Coursework will include:
Daily sharpening and maintenance of chain saws
Building new and maintaining old logging equipment
Felling and preparing trees for appropriate uses
Various methods of hauling trees from the woods with horses
Introduction to the basics of blacksmithing
Introduction to the basics of fiber arts
Participants in this semester will live in a 2000 square foot house built by Jim Cornish, the co-founder of Stone Soup Institute. The house is heated only with wood from a cast iron Jotul in the south and in the north end, a brick Finnish fireplace, with a bake oven and hot water heater.
There are three bedrooms available to students, one in the north end over the Finnish fireplace which sleeps two; one in the south end and a loft in the west end which will accommodate one each.
Students will prepare meals using the wood stoves and electric stove and serve on a common table in front of the fireplace.
There is one television with cable, VCR and computer access.
Stone Soup Institute is located on Harpswell Neck, a peninsula that is nine miles long and ½ mile wide at its widest point. There are miles of shoreline to explore within walking distance of the house, miles of public trails for snow shoeing and cross country skiing.
A small general store and post office are ¼ mile from the house.
Brunswick, the closest town to Harpswell, is nine miles north. It is a typical New England college town with movie theatres, libraries, restaurants, small shops, etc. A health food store and Farmers Market provide opportunities to buy provisions and visit with other farmers in the area.
Tuition, Fees and Dates
Winter Semester: January 4 – March 31
Fees: $3400 which includes full instructional program, seminars, and room and board. Click here to download an application form.
The Winter Semester at Stone Soup promises to be physically demanding, emotionally challenging, spiritually expansive, and intellectually stimulating. We hope that you are ready to stand in a place where our past meets our future and explore the possibilities.