When the Rain Came Tumblin’ Down


It’s been raining here every day. EVERY DAY.
Even if I do have to wipe off my camera lens between every photo because it’s so humid, the lens fogs up in seconds.
Though it does lend a magical mysterious ambiance to the garden. But it’s no mystery what the rain is doing! My tomatoes are blooming! And so are the bush beans.
I even have baby green beans dangling down!
They taunt me with dreams of a big pot of green beans with bacon.
The squash and zucchini are also blooming away! And the cucumbers have gone darn crazy.
I wasn’t sure how my secret side garden from the studio would do. It’s not in full sun. But–it’s doing great, and the constant rain is working miracles. I can’t wait for a pot of beans. And a big sliced fresh tomato. And squash casserole. And fried squash blossoms!

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Wonderful Wildflower Weekend!


We had an absolutely fantastic weekend with wildflowers! This was our June Wildflower Power Primitives & Pioneers retreat, with my artist teaching partner Kelly Walker. Two wildflower-themed days packed with more wildflower projects that you could shake a daisy at! Everyone who was here said it was more than they expected. We took a walk to pick wildflowers then made wildflower syrup, wildflower jelly, pickled wildflower buds, wildflower-infused olive oil, mulled apple wildflower juice, and even batter-fried daisy heads. We had wildflowers in salads and wildflowers on waffles (with the wildflower syrup!). There was wildflower embroidery and two wildflower painting projects. Plus pressed and dried wildflowers on candle jars (after we made the candles!). We went wildflower wild!

And we’re doing it again! September 12-13, 2015! See more info here.

Here are some of the photos I took over the weekend. And thank you to Kelly for sharing some of her photos here also.

Wildflower pickers:
After picking the wildflowers, we infused them in water–getting ready for syrup and jelly.
Wildflowers strained after infusing.
Breakfast the next morning was wildflower syrup with waffles.
So pretty!
CITR Breakfast
And dandelion-blueberry muffins. (Dandelions in the muffin batter as well as decorated on top!)
Daisy jelly.
Left, olive oil infused with wildflowers, garlic, and rosemary. Right, pickled wildflower buds.
Batter up!
Daisies, battered, in the frying pan.
Amazingly delicious!
One of our suppers during the retreat–this was fried chicken, baked potato, salad with daisies and red clover, and garlic rolls.
CITR Dinner
We made container candles….
….then pressed and dried wildflowers for the jars.
The glue mixture dries clear–these jars weren’t quite finished yet.
Painting with Kelly!
We had a power outage for a few hours, so the painters moved outside to work.
This is one of the beautiful paintings they all created to take home.
I’m always amazed at how people who’ve never painted before can create the most awesome art under Kelly’s instruction.
Here are more of the finished pieces.
Coco was keeping watch on the studio deck.
There was also a second painting project, which was adorable.

WildflowerEmbroidery-317x320This is the finished embroidery piece Kelly made, and what all the attendees made also.

Attendees at work on their embroidery.
And, of course, Maia the tutu-wearing goat made her official appearance for cookies!
Casper and Coco had to help.

Come join us on September 12-13, 2015 as we do this again!


A two-day retreat to Sassafras Farm including three home-cooked meals each day and two full days of instruction plus all your supplies and take-homes is $225.

How do you sign up?

Email me at CITRevents@yahoo.com to sign up. I will need the full name, address, and phone number for each attendee. (You may sign up for a friend if you are coming together.) I will send you payment information at that time. Directions to the farm and other information will also be provided to attendees in advance of the retreat.

A 50 percent downpayment will be required to reserve your place. The remaining balance will be due 30 days before your retreat. If you sign up, please plan to attend. Retreat reservations are nonrefundable.

Points to note–

Accommodations are not included. If you’re coming from far enough away that you need a place to stay, you can find options on the Suggested Accommodations page. (Come with a buddy and split your costs.) You’re responsible for making your own arrangements. If you’re in the area, you won’t need a hotel.

All meals are included. Breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks will be home-cooked and served right here from the studio kitchen.

Teens are welcome. Mature teens 13 and up may sign up to attend retreats at Sassafras Farm accompanied by a paid attendee parent/guardian. (I’ve been known to let a 12-year-old sign up, too–please be a good judge of your child’s maturity and interest in the subject matter.)

Spaces are limited. Smaller groups will allow a greater focus on the quality that I want–of each workshop, of each meal, and of the entire experience. But it also means–if you want it, don’t delay!

This is a real retreat to a farm, and I’m committed to making it an awesome experience for each person who is here. I will be welcoming each attendee not just to the studio and the farm but to my home.
Let the adventure begin! See you at the farm!

Check out ALL of this year’s workshop retreats at Sassafras Farm here. All retreats take place at Sassafras Farm in the beautiful Appalachian rural foothills of Roane County, West Virginia.

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  1. IMG_5758

    June 11, 2015 - Wildflower Soaps

    While I was out playing with wildflowers the other day, I picked some clover and dandelion to dehydrate–then I made soap! I’ve made quite a bit of soap lately. Here is a sampling of the different soaps I’ve made in the past week or so.

    Far left, lavender. Then there’s a bar of brown sugar and oatmeal, and a bar of the cinnamon sugar. … Continued…

  1. IMG_2139

    June 10, 2015 - Cheese, Bread, Herbs, and Soap!

    Come learn at the farm!

    Summer Cheese, Bread, Herbs & Soap Retreat
    July 9 – July 13, 2015

    This retreat is offered with options to choose the entire retreat or only parts. The retreat will last five days, but it’s up to you whether you choose one day, two days, three days, … Continued…

  1. IMG_5717

    June 9, 2015 - West Virginia Wildflowers

    This is a wonderful time for wildflowers as many of the spring wildflowers are still in bloom with summer wildflowers already sneaking in.

    Those are ox-eye daisies, which are edible! We’ll be making daisy jelly at this weekend’s wildflower two-day retreat.

    This is Philadelphia fleabane, which is slightly crumpled looking from rain.

    This … Continued…

  1. IMG_5493

    May 27, 2015 - The Little Room Project Continues!

    I’ve been making progress in my project to revamp the small guest room upstairs in my house. There are only three bedrooms in this little old farmhouse, and this is my only guest room. As I posted recently, this was the “before” picture.

    I had been using it as a junk/storage room, so that photo is actually not indicative of just how terrible the room looked … Continued…

  1. IMG_5373

    May 19, 2015 - Coming Along

    Apparently, I can grow peppers, after all!

    I learned what was my pepper problem from all the comments when I posted about my non-sprouting pepper seeds recently. I wasn’t keeping my pepper pots warm enough. Pepper seeds have to be warm to sprout, much warmer than the conditions needed for tomato seeds. I don’t have a heat pad or heat lamp, so I just waited. … Continued…

  1. IMG_5356

    May 18, 2015 - A “Taste of Sassafras Farm” Day!

    The first “Taste of Sassafras Farm” one-day retreat of the year happened this past Saturday. These special one-day retreats are a true “taste of Sassafras Farm” touring attendees through my most popular workshops all in one day. I have more Tastes coming up–if you’re interested in coming, here’s what they’re about: This retreat is a full day, from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 5 p.m., with four workshops including cheesemaking, soapmaking, breadbaking, and … Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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