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.
I’m going to weed them out, lay down mulch, and plant marigolds and zinnias, my favorites. Then there are my new garden boxes I had set up in the side garden area by the studio.
I need to get the weeds down, bring in a good soil mix, and get seeds and plants in.
My plans here are for vegetables.
I had quite a few boxes built, in different shapes and sizes to fit the area.
I also still have this falling-down garden by the driveway.
I have garlic in here, and a few other perennials, and I’m planning this as my herb garden. I need to do something about shoring up the rock around it.

I’ve had all kinds of different ideas and plans about gardening since I moved here, but I never got it quite up to the top of the priority list until last fall when I got these garden “bones” finally put in place. Now it’s spring, and time to get to work and make it happen.

Call these the “before” pictures. “After” is coming…..as soon as it stops raining!

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Wildflower Retreat, June 13-14



Primitives & Pioneers retreats are a full weekend of old-fashioned arts, crafts, and fun with ever-changing workshops for the first-timer at a Sassafras Farm retreat to repeat attendees ready to learn something new and different. All workshops and activities will take place at Sassafras Farm in Roane County, West Virginia. The “Wildflower Power” weekend of themed workshops is currently open for registration. Note: Along with all the other varying new workshops, this retreat also includes a workshop in which you will create your own themed painting–no prior art experience required! You will also be creating your own embroidery masterpiece. See more details below.

Here is the painting you will be creating under the guidance of a skilled art teacher.

My teaching partner for this retreat is Kelly Walker, writer of Life of a Daily Painter. Kelly is a daily painter and experienced teacher who believes the only thing you need in order to learn to paint–or embroider!–is desire.

WILDFLOWER POWER — June 13-14, 2015

WildflowerEmbroideryGet your wildflower power on! This retreat will be two full days, from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 5 p.m. each day, with themed workshops centered around flower power! We will be taking a walk in the wild to pick flowers then we’ll be back in the studio to can up some wildflower jelly as well as working through the basics of creating wildflower syrups and infusions. We’ll also be baking with wildflowers, drying wildflowers, and making pressed wildflower jars–and making poured candles to go in them. In embroidery workshops, you will be learning all the basic hand embroidery stitches that will be applied to creating a lovely wildflower sampler that will make the best keepsake for the retreat weekend (see photo). Previous embroidery experience is not necessary! There will be extra embroidery projects available for those interested in learning and doing more with this ancient craft. You’ll also be guided step by step as you create a primitive style masterpiece on canvas. This is not your average art class. No Experience Required! We’ll provide everything you need: aprons, paint, canvas, brushes, and all other painting supplies. You’ll follow along with an experienced and enthusiastic artist who will give you stroke-by-stroke instructions and you will learn how simple it can be to create art. You’ll go home with your personal masterpiece and a new-found talent to explore…along with lots of great memories to share!


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! Welcome to the farm!

See more retreats at Sassafras Farm here.

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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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