Archive for the ‘Farm’ Category

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Farm Fresh From Vermont

Update: The goal was met and Swan&Stone are headed to NYC!!! Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!!

If you have ever visited my blog you know my love of all things Vermont. Vermont is my happy place. Anytime I get the opportunity to share it, I take that opportunity. And I take it seriously. I have something really special to share today.


It’s not often you see the word millinery. I found Swan&Stone a couple of years back when they were Little Hill Woolworks and bought a hat right then and there!

Collaborators Samantha Stone and Nora Swan, both former New Yorkers, are the brains, hearts and hands behind Swan&Stone. Both have contributed fascinating halves that make the whole of all that is now a thriving millinery housed in The Granary in quintessential, bucolic Brandon, Vermont.

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Robbin, my oldest and dearest friend, and I were treated to a personal tour of Swan&Stone when we were in Brandon last October. Yes, Vermont in October. Heaven on Earth! Our tour guide was Kelly, whom I met through the wonderful world wide web when we were both in business – she owned a handcrafted lollipop business and I owned Dahlem’s Soapworks. I don’t remember exactly how we met, but it was meant to be. Kelly is an amazing mom and friend AND an extraordinary photographer. I have given her credit on the photos that belong to her – though you could probably tell already – they are amazing.


Stepping into Swan&Stone is a feast for the eyes for anyone – but for a couple of women who love Vermont, LOVE handcrafted, LOVE sustainable products, LOVE locavore culture, LOVE farms and sheep and hats…well our breaths were taken away! We tried on hats, admired and admonished our choices, and had an amazing and educational visit with Samantha. I am kicking myself for not purchasing my favorite of the day – a felt beauty that was a little steampunk, a little country with lot of attitude – you know, like me! LOL! The trim on it was bits & bobs of metal found after Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on beautiful Brandon back in August of 2011.

There are numerous articles written about Swan&Stone online and I will give you links at the end of this post. But the words that are their own are the best. What interesting women, business owners, and artisans. I have to admit, I will never look at hats the same. I say all the time: I wish people still wore hats. WELL, people do! Bold people. Confident people. People who don’t bend and give to the latest fashion trend. That’s what I love about Sam & Nora’s creations – they are timeless. Beautiful, extraordinary, handmade hats for now and forever.


wooden hat blocks


one of a kind hats for men

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hats waiting for embellishments

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LOVE the blue!!

1238936_10202224198471397_6562650_n(from STRUT 2013) photo credit: Kelly McCullough


photo credit: Kelly McCullough

there’s something for everyone!

felt hats, straw hats, fascinators, kids’ hats, hats for brides

These are literally farm to head hats!


photo credit: Kelly McCullough


photo credit: Kelly McCullough


photo credit: Kelly McCullough (I need this one framed)

Now Samantha and Nora have a once in a lifetime chance to show their hats to the world! After a rigorous jury process they have been invited to show and sell their hats at the 2014 Grand Central Holiday Fair! Yes! THAT Grand Central – in New York City! There is a little bump in the road, a catch if you will – the $16K entrance fee. But you know what? This is very doable – and you, me, we can help them meet that challenge head on (no pun intended) and become the famous milliners they are destined to be. I believe in what Swan& Stone is doing. Grass to market isn’t just about food anymore. Every product that is made from sustainable goods should be readily available to consumers who care about that very important factor in producing goods & services. Fine hats should be no exception. So please visit their KickStarter page and contribute.

Every little bit will help them realize their dream.  AND you too can own an original Swan&Stone creation with your contribution.


Please do you and me both a favor and follow the link, visit Swan&Stone’s Kickstarter Page and help this woman owned and operated business show in NYC! You know what they say: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And Samantha and Nora deserve this opportunity – they have worked so hard and offer beautiful handcrafted hats that anyone would love.

Be sure and watch the video on your visit to their kickstarter page. There is also an easy “go to” link in the right column – check it out!

You can read more about Swan&Stone here:

You can also follow them on twitter @ and find them on Face book @


With warmest regards,



Tree Huggin’ Revisited

This is a post I wrote 3 years ago…just revisiting

I am all about the tree huggin.  I know that might be hard to tell from my blog…but I am a tree hugger from way back.  A little more diligent at times but my heart has always been huggy.  This morning I got a very interesting email about Victory Gardens.  I really love the whole concept.  Victorious of what?  Who cares.  It brings up thoughts of community and playing in the dirt and growing your own.  Michelle Obama has planted one, or had one planted might be a better way of putting it.  I doubt a busy woman such as herself was out in the 100 degree weather like I was yesterday, tying up tomatoes! Frankly I think she looks a bit overdressed for gardening.

0320_michellegardens_460x276Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

But likely having not done much gardening previously, she might not have realized the VERY expensive black leather boots might be overdressed.  Or this might have been a photo-op.  Nawwww.  Look, before you think I am ragging on Mrs. Obama.  I love the couple.  And the children.  LOVE them.  Voted for them.  Support them.  And think her promoting gardening and growing your own is FANTASTIC.  I was just having a little fun.  If my calves were than skinny, I’d have a pair of those boots too.  But anyway, the gardening seems to be going well at the White House and the First Lady seems to be getting the hang of “gardening attire”:

MichelleObama_WhiteHouseKitchenGarden_April9You go girl!  Get those knees muddy!

But back to my email.  The Queen now has an allotment at Buckingham Palace.  GET OUT! Copy cat. Kidding again. I LOVE THE QUEEN. Love her.  Love her country.  Love her palace…I have been there you know.  I have pictures to prove it.  The movie The Queen made me cry like a baby.  I won’t get into all the reasons why but, I was touched.  But I do believe Mrs. Obama might have had a bit of influence.  You can read all about it here: The White House Organic Farm Project ~very interesting website.

PD*29463063Image from the Telegraph

The email linked to an article here that went so far as to call The Queen frugal. I am happy to hear that but wonder exactly what that means in royal circles. Anywho, back to the gardening.  In the UK allotments are evidently growing in popularity by leaps and bounds.  Considering they have a very limited amount of free space for gardening, I am impressed.  Husband works with several Brits and they talk gardening.  He told me a bit about the allotment thing.  VERY foreign to me, since we have 3.5 acres to mow every other week!  Our garden is as big as we would like it.  And quite enough for me to tend to while Husband is away at work.

I am curious as to how many of you plant and tend a little spot?  A big spot?  I have left you with some VERY interesting links this morning.  Happy Reading and Go Hug a Tree!



It ain’t easy being green!

And it wasn’t easy for me to get this GREEN post written for today.  It’s been a wild morning with lots of things going on.  This had to take a backseat for a little while.  But here I am !

It will be short and sweet!  Mowing is calling me.  Gotta get it finished before the rain starts.

NotQuiteJuneCleaver’s 7 Favorite Green Tips

  • Paper or plastic?  NEITHER make or buy reusable shopping bags. Baggus are my faves, as you see!bags1
  • Don’t let your car idle for too long when waiting. Now I think maybe someone (maybe even my husband) might argue this point, explaining to me how much gas it takes to crank your engine so, I think it is relative to how long your car will be idling.
  • Turn your electronics off at night or when not in use!  Just shutting your computer down could save upwards of $75 a year.
  • This is one I struggle with all the time…every season.  Set your thermostat on a reasonable temp.  68 is too cold for running the air and 78 is too hot for running the heat.  BUT if you will reverse them you will save money! Not to mention energy. I really do struggle…if Mama is hot, she is soon to be mad!
  • Wash your laundry in cold water.  There are detergents ( I know, I know – that’s another can of worms for another day) that specify for cold water.
  • Paperless billing.  No need in getting all that mail.  Pay bills online.  Save paper and money for stamps!
  • And last but not least: If you will place a brick, yes a BRICK,  in the tank of your toilet you could save as much as 10 gallons of water a day!

So there you have it!

NOW—a BIG announcement! Ready? Okay…drum roll…..You are invited to participate in the first (of hopefully many) NotQuiteJuneCleaver Photo Contest!  Beginning tomorrow and running thru the end of the month you have the opportunity to send me via email (notquitejunecleaver  at gmail dot com) a digital photo no bigger than 800 px by 600 pix, jpg format and no larger than 2MB.  If you are kin to me, I will post your photos but you can’t win, k?

The theme you ask??? GREEN. Anything green. The greener the better!  Now I don’t think I have to say this but DO NOT submit a photo that is inappropriate!  If you wouldn’t show it to your mama, don’t show it to me! You have until the 30th at midnight for me to get the email.  Put NQJC GREEN PHOTO CONTEST in the subject line of your email.  Okay…now get to snappin’  You also need to write a  note in the email telling what, who, where, when and that I have permission to post the picture on this blog! And that you promise it was taken by you and if there is a person in the photo, be sure they know what you are up to too!

More details forthcoming.

Here’s mine even though, well duh, I can’t win…but I do get to pick who does.  With a little help, of course.


Alrighty…talk to you happy people tomorrow! Oh and hey, why don’t you look over in the right hand column and sign up for my newsletter.  That’ll be fun!

Thanks everyone!

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