The Rural Diaries
Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm

- Hilarie Burton Morgan


While Hilarie Burton Morgan’s hectic lifestyle as an actress in New York and Los Angeles gave her a comfortable life, it did not fulfill her spiritually or emotionally. After the birth of their first son, she and her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the star of The Walking Dead, decided to make a major change: they bought a working farm in Rhinebeck, New York, and began a new chapter in their lives.

The Rural Diaries chronicles her inspiring story of farm life: chopping wood, making dandelion wine, building chicken coops. Burton looks back at her transition from urban to country living—discovering how to manage a farm while raising her son and making friends with her new neighbors. She mixes charming stories of learning to raise alpacas and buying and revitalizing the town’s beloved candy store, Samuel’s Sweet Shop, with raw observations on the ups and downs of marriage and her struggles with secondary infertility. Burton also includes delicious recipes that can be made with fresh ingredients at home, as well as home renovation and gardening tips.

Burton’s charisma, wide eyed attitude, and fortitude—both internal and physical—propels this moving story of transformation and self-discovery. The Rural Diaries honors the values and lifestyle of small-town America and offers inspiration for anyone longing to embark on their own unconventional journey.



Dear Diary,
Last weekend, Jeffrey and I got married. Really and truly married. It was the culmination of a decade of partnership, trial and error, and most importantly, effort. For years we had called each other “husband” and “wife.” We lived like we were married, raised our kids as a unit, built homes and a future together. But we knew that we’d sidestepped that very real rite of passage.


absolute favourite:

Love is like farm work. It requires consistency, and imagination. Your body will ache and you will be fatigued, but there is no greater reward than seeing the fruits of your labor.

I have been dying to read this book but have been reluctant; I’ve loved Hilarie Burton Morgan since my One Tree Hill obsession days and it’s my dream to have a small farm of my own. I found myself putting off reading this book, though, because I didn’t want to be disappointed.

Hilarie Burton Morgan is a goddamn storyteller. From the first page, I was drawn in with her warmth, honesty, and openness. I devoured this book and would’ve kept reading if it was ten times as long – and I wish it were. I love that she doesn’t gloss over the heartbreak and struggle, and sadness. I love that she is unapologetic about her life and her choices, and her mistakes. This book made me so happy for her and her ‘happy ending’. She has worked so hard for her family, friends, and herself, and she is honestly an inspiration. Because she’s not a martyr or a sidekick or a victim – she’s a tough, strong, amazing woman. If you loved Peyton as much as I used to on One Tree Hill, Hilarie Burton Morgan is a million times better.

Just trust me and read this book. I’m sure it will inspire many others, and it may just be the story you needed to hear to help yourself heal or grow or be better. I loved every single second of reading this book, of which there were too few. Thank you.


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