well being

Huckleberry Hideaway for Lovers of the Light

One of my most favorite things to experience at Light Heart is time alone on retreat at the Huckleberry in the Spring. I start the day in the hot tub— no jets. It’s about the pleasant contrast of being submerged chin deep in warm water and cool, crisp air on the face. Distant hills beyond Taunton Bay glow with the sun rise, mist rises up in the valleys.

So still, so quiet.

It’s hard to leave, but I do love my cup of morning tea which I sip from my stool, watching the sun’s progress as I journal.

To have nowhere to go, nothing to do, is there anything better? There’s not a single place I’d rather be before Summer’s bugle plays Reveille, than at the Huckleberry Hideaway, reveling in the Light.

Revel in the Light, Shine the Light, Be the Light!

Spring’s blessings to you from Joanna


Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful!
We almost want to say bad things to try to keep a secret but the positive energy must be shared… Perfect mountain cottage that feels like a home. Has everything you need for a perfect get-away. Cozy fireplace with plenty of wood. Towels, full kitchen, soft sheets. Watch amazing sunsets from the balcony. Watch the sunrise on the trees while still in bed. Walking trails just outside the door and Acadia not too far away. Too many amazing features to describe! Joanna is the perfect host– shows you what you need then let’s you have your space. We will be back again. ~  Cinnamon B., September 23, 2016


Just Ask

David had a license plate on his truck that said Just Ask.

What is it that you’ve been wanting and have been so wrapped up in the wanting, that you forgot that perhaps, all you have to do is ask?

Before winter had even shed its first snow flake, I was asking for and having faith in a shorter, milder winter. As each storm approached I asked that if it wouldn’t upset the apple cart too much, could the storm please go out to sea. We had two storms that produced enough white crystal medicine to ski or snowshoe on– fair enough. It’s been wonderful to walk the trails of Light Heart Retreat in hiking boots. There was never a time when the trails were not accessible.

I know I am not the only one in New England to have taken the stance that nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I might as well Just Ask. It doesn’t look  like the photo above here yet…However we are well on our way to an early Spring or at the very least, a timely Spring arrival.

Water Fairies and 2 Orbs 3/04/2016

Orbs and water fairies dancing at Light Heart Retreat enjoying an early ice out on the morning of March 3, 2016.

When we ask for something, it is good to remember that just because we haven’t received it yet, it doesn’t mean it’s not already on its way to us.

Many of you have asked me for recipes. I don’t just follow a recipe, it’s always evolving. Some recipes, like soups and salsa, I have in the recipe box inside my head. Others are in the old Apple Works program and I’m unable to access them. ( I hope this doesn’t happen to the aforementioned recipe box.)  Then there are those recipes that no one has been able to reproduce. And yes, I do have a proprietary feeling for these and some others.

So there! You see? There is a Cooking Deva and she is listening. If only she weren’t the Cleaning Deva, Bookkeeping Deva, Laundry Deva, Lawn Mowing Deva, Gardening Deva, Reservation Deva, All Purpose Deva– then perhaps, just maybe or maybe not, you would have received a recipe. So here is a recipe for you for pumpkin bread below. If it’s not the one you asked me for, please let me know and I may put your requested recipe on the docket for another blog post.

I can highly attest to taking a retreat at the Huckleberry Hideaway this time of year. The light is beautiful. It’s warm in the sun. It’s a good time to work on a project that you’d hoped to have completed by now. It’s a great time walk the trails here or at Acadia National Park, see a movie at Reel Pizza, visit Jasper Beach. Spring is coming early this year and you’ll soon be mowing the lawn and a whole lot of other things. You could prime your pump for all the upcoming doing, doing, doing, with a gently paced and well fed stay here at the Huckleberry Hideaway at Light Heart.

If you don’t, I will. And when I hear the Barred owls calling Whooo cooooks for you? to their potential mate, I’ll answer,  I doooo! 

Blessings for an early Spring and Shine your Light!




Chunky Pumpky Bread from the Light Heart Retreat Kitchen

You can use any cooked, orange-fleshed, winter squash with this recipe. When using your own squash or pumpkin, decrease water to 1/3 cup.

Beat together in medium-sized bowl:
4 eggs
2/3 cup water (or milk or buttermilk make it more cake-like)
1 cup light olive oil or melted butter
2 cups or a 16 oz. can pumpkin

Sift together and stir in a large bowl as this is the bowl you’ll be finishing in:
3 1/3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
3 cups organic sugar (not too coarse)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg (decrease this if your don’t love nutmeg)
pinch of cloves
Optional: 2 cups chocolate chips, 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts,
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill flaked coconut. These are my favorite additions
for Chunky Pumpky. For a more traditional bread add 2 cups of raisins. I also do a blueberry/coconut version. 2 cups blueberries (thaw first on paper towel if frozen) and 1 cup coconut.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and add wet mixture to this. Stir to mix and then stir in the optional ingredients of your choice. Grease and flour 3 large bread tins or 4 smaller ones. The baking time varies according to the size of the pan and optional ingredients. Use a tooth pick to test. The larger size will take an hour plus. The smaller pans start checking at 50 minutes or less. If you’ve got a good sniffer you’ll smell this when it’s done.

Additionally your mouth may begin to water and kids will start bugging you about it’s readiness.

Clackers & zuke bread

Grandsons Kyle and Colby enjoying some Zuke bread after a dowsing lesson.

If you’re bread isn’t done, but is already brown on top, place a piece of tin foil loosely over the top and continue baking until a tooth pick comes out clean. This bread freezes wonderfully.

I like this bread best, not when it’s hot, but when each flavor has had a chance to stake it’s claim after a couple of days. That would be loaf #2 or #3 as loaf one will be long gone. ENJOY!

Trout Fishing in the Light Heart

It’s a big treat for David and myself to go into Bar Harbor after a busy day’s work at Light Heart Retreat and see a quality movie at Reel Pizza. We recently saw Salmon Fishing in the Yemen about a Sheik with a love of fishing who has a dream of introducing salmon fishing into his country but, it’s not about the fish…

We enjoyed a refillable bowl of buttered popcorn– real butter and we topped it off with nutritional yeast that Reel Pizza provides. David stretched out his 6 foot 6 inch body in the roomy aisle with the popcorn resting on the counter in front of us. Others were seated up front on living room furniture eating pizza or nachos, some drinking wine and beer. This is how we go to the movies in Downeast Maine!

Fishing in the Light Heart. This past Saturday we stocked Rainbow Trout in our large quarry for catch and release fishing for our guests and our own quiet enjoyment of seeing them rise. An added benefit of having fish in the quarry is seeing the birds that come to fish for them: Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Osprey and the little bird with the big head, the Kingfisher.

Our grandsons, Kyle and Colby love to fish. They’re like two little old men out in the canoe, all quiet and contemplating their lines in the water until they catch a fish.Then they’re all excited about it, no matter what it is, and no matter the size. After the fish is released they’re still again.

Grandson Kyle on recent trip with his Great Grandfather, Dickie, on Lake Ontario.

Kids don’t need a pill to help them concentrate and experience calm…They need to be in nature.

When you’re out on the quarry in a canoe, fishing or not, you’re taking in all the shades of green and blue, of sky and water.  The bull frog chug-a-rums and the green frogs answers with short croaks and a long twang. The little tree frogs trill from their hiding places blending in with the granite and tree bark. The sun and breeze feel wonderful on your face. Time stands still.

While I was typing this out I received an email from my father, outdoor sportswriter, Dick Pinney, with this photo. Do you know what kind of fish this is? It reminded me of the many hours spent out on the water fishing with my Dad and a Landlocked Salmon I caught with him on Alton Bay in New Hampshire. It wasn’t a warm spring or summer day. It was the first fishing of the year and I was wearing a snowmobile suit! I drew a picture of that salmon to size in my sketch book. It was a big sketch book and a small salmon!

For all the fish I’ve caught, it’s not the fish that comes first to mind when I remember fishing with my Dad. I remember what it felt like. And even on that chilly spring day when I caught a salmon,  it felt Good!

We have so much to offer both individuals and families on retreat here. I’ve never written much about fishing on the quarry. It’s not about the fish…

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is the not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Come cast a line out, swim with the fishes or maybe even kiss a fish, and find what your soul has been longing for…the peace and beauty of Light Heart Retreat.


Leave Room in your Garden

This is a repost from 2011

My mother called this week from NH to tell David that the carrots he’d grown were the best she’d ever tasted. She said that all the time she was eating them, she was thinking about how good they tasted and that most carrots don’t taste like a carrot should.


She said that all the time she was eating them, she was thinking about how good they tasted and that most carrots don’t taste like a carrot should.

What’s the underlying the difference between the vegetables you’ve grown yourself versus those you’ve bought? Energy and Spirit. According to my dowsing, the carrots from our garden have an energy of 42,000. The average energy of a store bought carrot is 5,000. The average energy of an organic carrot bought in the store is still only 10,000.

Every living thing has it’s own particular spirit. Carrot Spirit may not be present at all in supermarket orange tubers labeled as carrots. When I ask and dowse on “What percent spirit is present in supermarket produce, overall?”, the answer is just 15%.

What does this mean for you, the consumer? It takes more energy to digest and assimilate poor quality food than it gives you. This puts a strain on your body. Nourishment is not just a matter of vitamins and minerals from fats, carbohydrates and proteins. It’s far more. You can begin to learn about plant spirits and energy by reading Machaella Small Wright’s, Behaving as if the God in Everything Matters, one of my all-time favorite books.

What does any of this have to do with Light Heart Retreat? David and I feel strongly that how we eat as a society, has an impact on every facet of our lives. It’s the subject of much conversation when we get together with friends. David and I have decided to take what we know about this subject out of the bounds of our garden, kitchen and dining room and extend it to our guests at Light Heart Retreat.

Next year during the summer into early fall, we’re going to expand our offerings to include a small, self-service store for our guests where we’ll offer up fresh vegetables in season, home-baked goods, cultured vegetables such as kimchi, pickles and perhaps some jams, jellies and more.

During the slower months we may have a small pre-order menu for guests to choose from.  A special order dinner package (with the best foods we can grow and find locally) is in the works for this year. We hope the difference in taste and quality will inspire some folks to start a small garden and/or buy locally and to do more cooking from scratch.

Next summer I’ll be offering classes on the principles of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats,  by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig.  For the most part these classes will be hands on, held in our kitchen.  There’ll be a focus on the importance of cultured vegetables and fermented foods in our diet and how to prepare grains, nuts and seeds for optimum assimilation. Whenever possible we’ll use vegetables grown here at the retreat or from local farmers. I’ll also be writing about this topic for the LHR blog and The Dowsing Deva Blog.

David has always been happy to give garden tours and share his gardening techniques with our guests and will continue to do so. I may help him develop a workshop of his own to teach his dowsing technique for soil amendments.

We’re still in the early planning stages of this mission to gather converts to home gardening and nourishing traditions. We appreciate your suggestions and input about what you’d like to be able to have available to you as a guest of Light Heart Retreat, along these lines. You can email myself or David using the contact form below.

What do you need to leave room for in your garden?

One possible answer is in this photo.

I hope you’ll put your head lamp on after supper, go on out and start turning over the soil for your little (or big) kitchen garden–great exercise, less lawn to mow next year and you’ll give the neighbors something to talk about when you’re out there

Shining your Light!

Blessings for your perfect nourishment,


P.S. I’m letting David have the last word–a very rare flower.

Seeds & Soil

Gardening is not complicated.

It’s a simple thing that God created.

A few things you need to know,

A garden only wants to grow.

The soil’s nature is to give,

Supplying food for us to live.

Does a plant respond to love?

You bet! Bigger plants is what you’ll get.

When you put a seed into the ground,

Then Paradise you will have found.

By David S. Buell

Autumn’s Splendor at Light Heart Retreat

My walk out to Bragdon Quarry this morning revealed splashes of gold and red maple leaves amongst the evergreens and along the granite ledges. There were many rusty-orange toadstools, the biggest I’ve ever seen here.

There was a section of mossy trail that was laden with tiny white mushrooms, the top of which was slightly bigger than a common pin. Approaching the quarry I heard a spring peeper and then the wing drum of a ruffed grouse, I’d put up.  Yes, this has been a strange entry into fall in Maine, with one foot lingering way back in springtime and one foot in the wood burning season.



It’s good to be home. David and I just returned from a 12 night stay on Prince Edward Island.  We very much needed a rest and as peaceful and beautiful as it is at Light Heart Retreat, it is quite a challenge for us to be able to turn our backs on the to-do lists, the phone messages, the gardens, and the back log of office work that accumulates over spring and summer.

Being away gave us a great appreciation for just how well we do our jobs here, in providing a quality stay in an especially unique and tranquil setting.  We stayed in two cottages on PEI. The first was a glaring example of a poorly executed guest cottage. The second cottage gave us the gift of experiencing what it must be like for those who find their way to a cottage at Light Heart Retreat. The dynamic between the husband and wife owners even reminded me of David and myself. You can hear me tell The Tale of Two Cottages by clickinghere .





I just looked at the 7 day forecast for our area and gave a sigh looking at tomorrow’s forecast for some considerable rain. And then….the little sun icon showed up every day after that with the cooler temps we associate with crisp Autumn days in New England. It’s coming folks! The bright foliage, the smell of woodsmoke in the air, apple crunch and apple pie…Oh, typing that gives me an idea, instead of a sweet bread awaiting you in your Light Heart Retreat cottage, how would you like an apple crunch instead?



David and I milk this time of year, taking advantage of there being fewer tourists and traffic. We hike the trails in Acadia and visit Schoodic Point. We go apple picking at Sandy River Apples , hoping every year to see that 90+ year-old Francis Fenton is still doing what he loves.



We walk on the beach at Lamoine and David gathers seaweed for his compost pile. We browse the shops in Bar Harbor, Eden Rising, is our favorite, and grab some calamari at Geddy’s . We go in to a movie at Reel Pizza where you can sit in the comfort of an arm chair with a bottomless bowl of popcorn. We visit Hammond Hall
for a play or to hear music at Schoodic Art’s Last Friday Coffee House.

At home, we’re still harvesting vegetables right up until the frost, which means you’ll often find me in the kitchen putting up the bounty. When not at work at Buell’s Granite, David is working on the firewood and campfire wood supply for LHR. Late afternoon you might find us sitting on the far side of Bragdon Quarry, catching some late rays. We’re glad for sunny, crisp blue days and yet we don’t mind a rainy day or two to spend inside by the fire reading and napping.

So, what will it be? Pumpkin bread with chocolate chips or apple crunch? We hope you’ll visit David and myself to experience the more gentle pace that Autumn brings here to Acadia, Bar Harbor and to Light Heart Retreat. We promise you that no matter what the weather is, you’ll find a past time to tickle your fancy or soothe your soul.



You can see more information on the venues I’ve mentioned above by clicking on the highlighted links. To see availability for the Huckleberry Hideaway, Blackberry Cottage and the Quarry House go our website www.lightheartretreat.com and see the individual link for each cottage to the calendar at HomeAway.

Blessings for all the riches and splendor that Autumn has to offer,

Joanna & David

P.S. Update on 10/5/10~ David and I visited Francis Fenton and his daughter, Carol today at Sandy River Apples. They’re doing a beautiful renovation on the barn, built in the early 1800’s. Francis is another year older since last  we saw him. At 95 he’s as quick and spry as ever. His secret? Eating applesauce daily made from his heritage apple variety called, Wealthy. Are you a quilter? Carol will be hosting a quilter’s retreat next summer. You can contact Carol for more information at the Sandy River Apples link above.