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Fall Semester at Stone Soup (October 15 - December 15)

As the Fall season really begins to come fully into it's own, the days are considerably shorter, the weather is beginning to take on a chill, the trees are in full Fall color, the wild Mushroom harvest is in full swing and the garden has gone past its full vigor.Most of the canning and freezing are done but there are still Pigs and Chickens to butcher, beets,carrots and rutabaga's to put in the cellar.We have made wine from the Summer fruit and now it is time to make wine from Apples, Pears and Peaches. It is time to store the firewood for this Winter and start cutting firewood for next Winter. As we are driven inside earlier by the shortening days there will be more time for making music and more elaborate cooking.The social gatherings will take on the flavors of the Fall season as the house is filled with the smells of Apple Pie, Pumpkin Donuts and Mulled Cider.
  To this end Stone Soup Institute is offering a Fall Semester to four students who are curious and adventuresome enough to explore the experiential learning opportunities on a small homestead in Maine.

The Curriculum

  • Gardening and Crops
    • Storing root vegetables for Winter
    •  Cover Cropping 
    • Planting garlic
    • Threshing dry beans
    • Shelling corn
    • Saving seed from fall crops
  • Animal Husbandry
    • Butchering pigs
    • Daily care of laying hens
    • Butchering broiler chickens
    • Daily care of draft horses
    • Logging with draft horses
  • Craft
    • Wild harvesting mushrooms
    • Wine making
    • Baking in a wood-fired outdoor oven
    • Introduction to Fiber Arts
    • Introduction to Blacksmithing

The educational experience is designed around the practical skills and seasonal rhythms associated with maintaining a small homestead. The primary delivery of the curriculum is through the hands-on experience where students are expected to be self-motivated and able to self-evaluate, as there is no required reading, or testing.  

Living Arrangements

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.

Social Opportunities

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

Fall Semester: October 15, – December 15, (Email or Call for exact dates each year.)
Fees: $2300 which includes full instructional program, seminars, and room and board.
Click here to download an application form.

The Fall 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.


Stone Soup Institute
Harpswell, ME 04079, USA
Phone: 207-833-2884
E-mail: [email protected]



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