Scenes from A Retreat


This weekend was another two-day retreat at Sassafras Farm, with artist Kelly Walker on hand to give primitive art workshops. Attendees painted a primitive farm scene (with my barn in the picture!) on canvas and also painted a metal bucket. (I was SO amazed at the creativity that came out in the buckets!) I gave workshops that included corn cob jelly, burnt sugar cake, taper candlemaking, fall potpourri from the wild, along with demonstrating how to clip chicken wings and trim goat hooves. Attendees also had the opportunity to milk Glory Bee.

As usual, my camera fell by the wayside while I was busy giving workshops and preparing three meals a day, but here are some great shots from some of the people who were here. (Check out those awesome buckets!)

These photos come from attendee Jeri Starcher.
Photos from our art teacher, Kelly Walker:
Photos from attendee Brenda Goodall:
More from Kelly Walker:
The whole bunch:
We had a great time! I was run off my feet all weekend and I loved every minute. We’re repeating this two-day Primitives & Pioneers retreat on October 11-12 (still a few openings). I’ve got a one-day Taste of Sassafras Farm retreat coming up on November 15 (nearly filled already) and another one-day retreat, Holiday in the Country, on December 6 (open for registration!).

See my Workshops page for all the info to sign up for upcoming retreats. We’d love to see you at the farm! Click here to see all my retreats and find out how to sign up.

Thank you, Kelly, and everyone who was here this weekend!

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One-Day Retreats Coming Up!


Come learn at the farm!

Saturday, November 8, 2014 – TASTE OF SASSAFRAS FARM Retreat!

Saturday, November 15, 2014 – TASTE OF SASSAFRAS FARM Retreat!

Saturday, December 6, 2014 – HOLIDAY IN THE COUNTRY Retreat!

I’m offering my last workshop retreats of the year–as one-day events, these are the most affordable retreats I’ve held all year. Pick a day and come to the farm for all the fun and learning that can be packed into one day!

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!

Open NOW for registration (you can choose from two dates for this one):



IMG_6401This retreat will be a full day, from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 6 p.m., with workshops including cheesemaking (you will learn to make mozzarella, cream cheese, and yogurt) along with hot process soapmaking–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 also take home to your family. (They’ll love ya!) You will, of course, get a chance to milk Glory Bee, and we’ll also make container candles. 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.

Also open NOW for registration:


IMG_8681Jump into an old-time crafting adventure at Sassafras Farm! This retreat will be a full day, from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 6 p.m., with workshops designed to help you prepare for your holiday gift-giving–country-style. We will be making hot process milk soap–and you will take home your own soap to give to your loved ones (or keep for yourself, whatever you like). Also included will be homemade lip balm, lotion, sugar scrub cubes, and old-fashioned cake candles along with canning one of my most popular gift recipes–banana split in a jar. You will take home some of everything as well as the know-how to make more. This is a very hands-on day of workshops that will make your holidays more creative and affordable than ever. Your family and friends will be so glad to see you with your old-fashioned holiday gifts! (And your wallet will thank you, too.) All workshops and activities will take place at Sassafras Farm in Roane County, West Virginia.


Each one-day retreat–either TASTE OF SASSAFRAS FARM or HOLIDAY IN THE COUNTRY–including three home-cooked meals and one very full day of instruction plus all your supplies and take-homes is $100.

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 by November 1 for either retreat. If you sign up, please plan to attend. Retreat reservations are nonrefundable.

party2011This 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!

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  1. IMG_2929

    August 20, 2014 - Big Garden Project

    Out with the old, in with the new!

    The big flower gardens all around the front porch and to the side of the studio looked really nice when I got here. Roses and butterfly bushes and daffodils, irises, and so on. Lovely! The previous owners were members of a garden club and did garden tours.

    This is how the front gardens ended up after putting up … Continued…

  1. IMG_2855

    August 11, 2014 - Party in the Studio

    Workshops are coming up in a few weeks and I’ve been getting things set up in the studio. Before a retreat, I do all the big shopping for food and supplies that I can do in advance. There’s always a last-minute farmers market run for fresh stuff. I get all my tools and equipment in order, and get things set up for the workshops that are part of the retreat that’s coming.

    Then … Continued…

  1. IMG_2815

    August 7, 2014 - Busy Days on the Farm

    How many things can go on at once? That’s summer on the farm, busy, hectic, crazy. By the end of the month, color will start showing on the trees in the woods around the farm. Fall is on the way, and winter won’t be far behind. Everything that is a problem has to be fixed, and now.

    Like, say, this busted water faucet at the barn…. Continued…

  1. IMG_2783

    July 31, 2014 - Really Big Hay Feeder

    I’m having a big new hay feeder built right by the barn! I’m excited about it because hauling square bales across the front barn yard in the winter is not a fun chore. As I’m approaching the three-year mark at this farm (wow, has it really been that long?), I’m still learning all the time what works for me. Initially, I kept the goats … Continued…

  1. IMG_2632

    July 18, 2014 - Famous Baby

    Every once in a while, I’m offered a newly published book to review–often I turn this opportunity down because I’m terrible about getting around to it, but this book was impossible to resist. Famous Baby is a novel by Karen Rizzo. It’s a funny mother-daughter-grandmother story about the first famous mommy blogger and her 18-year-old daughter, who hated having every moment of her childhood shared with the world, and who “kidnaps” her ailing … Continued…

  1. 10489878_10204049985879338_8184382543769486143_n

    June 26, 2014 - Five Days on the Farm

    We’re just coming down from five workshop days on the farm here. It was a blast. Fun, exhausting, busy, fantastic! The attendees always make these workshops what they are, and this was a wonderful group. Laura, my co-teacher, and I had such a good time with them.

    We started out with two days of cheesemaking. Every day starts with milking the cow, of course! We made as many cheeses 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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