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. I’ve had my seed pots sitting outside on the front porch the last few weeks, since it started warming up.
The tomatoes have been doing great.
The tomatoes are doing so well, I transplanted them to the garden boxes today.
I planted a little bit of extra basil in one box also.
I over-planted the tomatoes–I planted them all, but I figure I can weed out the ones that don’t grow as well, and some may die. There are yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes, big tomatoes and small tomatoes. I’m going to have tomatoes, I’d say!

I scattered in a few marigold and zinnia seeds, too, because flowers in a vegetable garden always look pretty, but also because marigolds in particular are a superstar at keeping away pests, especially from tomatoes. So plant some marigolds with your tomatoes!

And be patient with those peppers….

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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 candlemaking. You will learn to make mozzarella, cream cheese, and yogurt along with how to make hot process soap–you will make your own soap and take it home! We will also grind grain and you will bake a rustic loaf which you will take home to your family. (They’ll love ya!) You will, of course, get a chance to milk Glory Bee, and you’ll also make container candles.

Available “Taste of Sassafras Farm” dates coming up:

Saturday, June 20, 2015
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Saturday, September 26, 2015

All activities take place at Sassafras Farm in Roane County, West Virginia. (Near Charleston.) See the bottom of this post for more information to sign up for an upcoming Taste! Meanwhile, here are some photos from Saturday.

There was cow milking.
Glory Bee is accustomed to lots of different hands on her down-unders by now. She’s been milked by literally hundreds of people.

There was cheesemaking.
Here, pairs were working on mozzarella pots. “Look, curds!”
We also went through the process of heating, setting, and draining soft cheeses and other dairy products including cream cheese, sour cream, and yogurt.

There was soapmaking, too, of course. “Science” attendees in the studio soapmaking laboratory.
And let there be bread-making! With fresh-ground wheat berries.
And the baking!
We also made container candles, but I somehow managed to not take a picture of that. Meals were, I hope, delicious. Breakfast was farm-fresh eggs with sausage and biscuits, banana-pineapple muffins, and apricot coffee cake. We got out the drained yogurt right after breakfast, so yogurt and granola was breakfast dessert. (Who doesn’t need dessert with breakfast?) Lunch was roasted chicken and gouda sandwiches with chips and homemade brown sugar cookies. Supper was fried chicken, baked potatoes with fresh-made sour cream and butter (which the attendees made themselves during the afternoon), salad, cornbread, and peanut butter brownies with Glory Bee ice cream. I think everyone had enough to eat!

And then there was the special visitor who always shows up during workshops at some point.
Maia! In her tutu! Come to say hello and eat some cookies.

During the afternoon, we also always take a break and we leave the studio to take a tour of my quaint little 1930s farmhouse and I tell stories of the original family with 21 children who once lived here back in the day when it started out as a family farm. They also got a look at the little guest room I’m fixing up–the bedframe was delivered on Friday.
New mattresses and some cute bird-themed decor (to go with the bird lamp) come this week, yay, and I’ll be posting more pictures as the room comes together.

Interested in coming to an upcoming Taste of Sassafras Farm?


This one-day retreat, including three home-cooked meals and one very full day of hands-on workshops plus all your supplies and take-homes, is $115.

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!

See more retreats and workshops offered this year here.

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  1. IMG_5343

    May 14, 2015 - The Little Room Project

    There are three bedrooms in this little house, though I enjoy taking retreat attendees on house tours and showing them how there were once five bedrooms in this 1300 square foot house. The area downstairs that I use as a dining room was once walled off to be a downstairs bedroom. Upstairs, there was the room that I use now as the master bedroom, the room that is Morgan’s, an upstairs bathroom and … Continued…

  1. IMG_9965

    May 6, 2015 - Taste of Sassafras Farm — All New Dates!


    ALL NEW DATES! These retreats have been filling up so fast, I’m opening five more brand new dates.

    These retreats are all the fun that can be packed into one day! It is a true “taste of Sassafras Farm” touring you through my most popular workshops all in one day. All workshops and activities … Continued…

  1. IMG_5203

    April 30, 2015 - Seeds in the Dirt

    I’m very excited about gardening this year. This is the first year that I’ve felt as if I had the gardens organized here in a way that works for me, and the first year I’m planting more than flowers and a few peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. The box garden that I had built by the studio is prepped now–boxes filled with garden mixture and soil.

    Tomatoes … Continued…

  1. IMG_9965

    April 22, 2015 - Taste of Sassafras Farm


    All the fun that can be packed into one day! This retreat is a true “taste of Sassafras Farm” touring you through my most popular workshops all in one day. All workshops and activities will take place at Sassafras Farm in Roane County, West Virginia. The following dates are scheduled for registration for … Continued…

  1. IMG_5083

    April 15, 2015 - Ramps 101

    Look what I got!

    I was in Charleston yesterday and happened on the ubiquitous “fresh ramps” truck on the side of the road. I drove past it before my brain clicked in, turned around at the first opportunity, and went right back to nail two bags. I had fried potatoes with ramps, eggs, bacon, and biscuits for supper!

    I first became enamored of ramps several years ago, … Continued…

  1. IMG_5065

    April 10, 2015 - Garden Plans

    I got a lot of preparation work done on revamping the gardens around the house and studio last fall. I minimized the front garden beds–they were just too much for me. Too big. There’s no way I can stay on top of that.

    I just let the goats eat them and gave up. The smaller beds are more manageable…. Continued…

Daily Farm


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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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