Making a Stand meditations by Joe Hall

picture of Joe Hall in a field
Photograph by Corinne Cavolick.  

Joe Hall’s Making a Stand is a collection of meditations on farm life, family, and the joys of nature by a man who has spent his life working a tract of land farmed for generations by his forebears.  Joe is a protector of the environment; a generous supporter of local initiatives; a naturalist; a repairman with a genius for fixing whatever is broken; and a writer often stopping his tractor in mid-furrow and pulling out his notebook. His roadside stand has long been a trove of seasonal produce in the Simsbury, CT region.

About the book, Susan Masino, Professor of Applied Science at Trinity College, offers this praise: “In Making a Stand, we visit the fields and forests, ‘the all of it,’ where Joe’s family has stewarded the land since the 1800s. Take a walk with Joe, quietly, and make time to ‘learn from the already.’ ”  Tara Donohue Willerup, Vice Chair of the Simsbury Free Library, writes that “Joe Hall gives us a rare insight into time and place.  His quiet approach to life has great depth as he connects all that he is to the earth and the world that grows from it.  His moments in time give us a chance to pause and reflect on the everyday things we see and maybe take for granted.  Now through his words we can see them in a new light.” 

Joe Hall is continuing the long tradition of a family with deep roots in the Simsbury region. His grandfather was the station master of the Simsbury depot, and his relatives have worked the land in the area for centuries. Joe’s many interests in farming, writing, woodworking, hiking, and archaeology have merged as one. Beginning with trade schools to learn masonry and carpentry, and briefly studying engineering, Joe entered the University of Connecticut, where he studied agriculture and upon graduation continued farming. For the last thirty years, he has operated the J.L.Hall Farm.

  Making a Stand cover image
  Photograph by Joe Hall.







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ISBN 979-8-9898548-0-2
First Edition, 2024
80 pages
Copies of this book are available
from all booksellers including Amazon
 and buyers can order inscribed & signed copies
 directly from the author: Joe Hall
83 Terry’s Plain Rd.
Simsbury, CT 06070.
Send $15 per book
plus $4 shipping
by check payable
 to the author.



copyright © 2024 by Joe Hall




New Old Tractor

I remember being with my father the day he bought the small Farmall tractor. It looked just like the one back home that we were having trouble with except for the turf tires which are not so practical for our farm but indicated the used tractor might have seen light work towing a mower behind. It got delivered and the planter and parts needed were switched over to our already old new tractor...and right away seeds were getting in the soil so we could have something to pick and sell. While the tractor most likely cost my father just under two thousand dollars and paid for outright...on a small farm when your tractor dies for good it’s a huge setback. Already pinning our hopes on seeds and all that follows. The bottom drops out when when one needs to scrape up enough money..,find and buy the exact same old tractor so the existing implements can attach. But he and we persevered and throughout the years these same patterns of what seemed like epic periods of determination were repeated over and over. And what does a man faced with such burdens and at times full of anger and frustration feel when his boy looks up at him with so much admiration and wants to be him...and this in turn adds more of a burden..,perhaps the heaviest of them all. A boy can’t save a man...the man can’t save the boy from being him...and it becomes unbearable for the man to be around a miniature version of his own purity of so many years ago that was taken from him and created in himself a dark corner. And dark corners beg for more...and still we choose our heroes for what they should have become...and leave it at that.


When working the soil on my farm one can really get a sense of standing in the valley...what seems like the center of the valley. It’s not just me but generations of generations of people in need of this very same...a marked location for its offering... good land..,a river..,decent ways to arrive and retreat. Did they think about me as much as i have of them?  Unlikely any of us could imagine a good thirteen thousand years into the future..,but here where i stand there were others all the way back and my people a mere couple hundred years with me at the very tail end looking around at the very same sky from the very same spot. I can’t help but think others stood center field as i do... and i rotate myself around like a human compass and simply learn from the already.