The Waxing Crescent and the Thistle

Some things take time.

The name of the farm — McClary Hill — came early and easily enough, back in the days when I moonlighted as a farmer.  Since then, I’ve pondered the appropriate logo — that simple rendering of pen-and-ink that would capture the meaning and the spirit of this place.

The designs have run from the complicated to the simple, from the (not- so-very) sublime to the (downright) ridiculous.  From talking cows to complicated fonts with stars and moons and flowers indicative of the four seasons — you get the picture.


At last we have a logo that befits our operation.


The thistle and the waxing crescent moon.


Clean, simple and symbolic.

Many farms reference the moon in their logos, and for good reason: the moon has informed agricultural activities throughout human history.  It has reminded us when to plant, when to harvest, when to celebrate abundance and when to hunker down for times of scarcity.  We watched the moon to know what needed doing.

In the lunar cycle, the waxing crescent starts the process of moving from the darkness of the new moon to the brightness of the full. It is a beginning and promise of brighter things to come.

The thistle takes a little more explaining.

Alice said, “It says a lot that you would choose a weed that drives you nuts to symbolize the farm.”

It really does.

The thistle is the symbol of Scotland.  Stewarts are Scots and so is a significant portion of my mother’s side of the family.  Our hill was named for Andrew McClary, Epsom’s original Scottish settler.  He arrived in the early 1700’s with his family and a King’s grant of 1000 acres.  His son’s house still stands next door a quarter of a mile down Center Hill Rd.

The image of a thistle is an appropriate nod to the Scots heritage of the family and land that give our farm its name.

The thistle also happens to be beautiful, and hardy — as well as painful to grasp and difficult to eradicate.  I can think of few things more emblematic of farming in New England.

There is a saying: “grasp the nettle” better known in England than here.  It means “to tackle a difficult problem boldly.”   Nettles or thistles, the sentiment holds.  Every time I lean over to root out the flattened spikey first-year growth of a newly seeded thistle, I am encouraged by thinking about what it means to “grasp the nettle.”

So on we go, with a nod to the past, and resolve to face what lies ahead.  Beauty, struggle, joy and challenge:  all are here in great abundance, and are symbolized in the new logo.

We hope you like it.

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