20 Years at Heartstone


Happy February!

We made it! We have reached midwinter and the light is on its way back!! How did you celebrate this festive moment? Build a fire outside? Light a candle? Pause and offer gratitude for the return of the sun?

There is such power in the pause.

Has the birdsong changed around you? Can you sense the changing light?

As the new Sleep Alchemist comes to a close my days have more space to pause. I wander the land a little after the snow looking at the tracks of the creatures we share the land with; turkey, deer, coyote, our new resident red fox, rabbits, fisher, the meandering possum & raccoon and the raven trio.

Tracking is easier and fun in the winter!

I realized in my recent wanderings that this year marks the 20th year Kris & I have been on this land. It’s the longest either of us have lived somewhere and the gratitude, blessings & groundedness I feel overwhelms me.

So, in honor of our 20 year anniversary, this February newsletter is about the land here, and the Heartstone Apprenticeship.


A 20 year co creative relationship with this beautiful place. 20 years of asking, listening and trying to meet the needs of the all-encompassing community here. Our prayers have been & continue to be, to live in a good way with the community of creatures here and make an offering with our hands & hearts for the alleviation of suffering.


This year marks the 17th year of running our Herbal Apprenticeship.

We bought the land with the intention of sharing it as we helped folks return to the knowing in their bones about plants, life, community living and belonging to each other & the land. Yes, it’s a big goal for a curriculum. But hey, life is short, so why not?

The six month, one-weekend-a-month immersion/residential program is really the cornerstone of Heartstone. We love having folks show up every month to leave their cars, technology and the fast pace of the “regular world” behind, as we dive into understanding the plant world, ceremony & community living together.

We are together through three seasons and we are blessed to be able to witness the transformation occurring on the land, in the gardens and in the people showing up for our time together.

I thought it would be fun to create a photo montage of the land & apprenticeship over the years. Quite amazing to step back and see the transformation that has occurred.

In 2009, with the help of many friends, we put the yurt up and had a place to hold classes.


The barn kitchen, outhouse and other structures have come a long way since then. Can you notice the wood chips on the floor of the barn!!


We’ve made significant changes & upgrades to the structures. In 2015, we even managed to get married here!

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The Herbal Apprenticeship has a seasonal rhythm of activities.

We harvest roots in the spring by dividing up into different groups. The burdock group usually tends to be the raucous bunch exclaiming with whoops & cheers when they finally get the precious whole root. We also spend time prepping a bed or two and planting seeds to watch progress & flourish throughout the seasons.


Summer months bring harvesting and various forms of medicine making. Infused oils extract in the center of our medicine wheel garden before it was fenced and students peeling birch bark to make infused oil. Tincture making & flower essences from the year we didn’t even have windows in the barn. 😝

Hand & Foot baths, more harvesting, & ceremony celebrating our beautiful expressions of gender.


Over the years, we’ve even started to figure out how to schedule in some down time on the weekends!

In 2022 we built a new structure, the silo, and now have classes in yet, another round structure. This year’s class made dream pillows and mugwort wands in our September Saturday night class.

Graduation weekends are bittersweet. Once it even snowed!


Much has changed and yet much has stayed the same. Our mission to help folks come home, to work with the land and the people in a good way, and to have a little fun along the journey remains at the forefront of our intentions.


If you’re interested in the Herbal Apprenticeship here at Heartstone, we have a few spots open and you can read more about it and register here, on our website or contact Kris directly at krisheartstone@gmail.com.

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I'm a researcher, educator, guest lecturer, and co-founder of Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials in Van Etten, NY.