October 2014 Primitives & Pioneers Retreat


Come learn at the farm!

October 2014 Primitives Pioneers Retreat!
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Sunday, October 12, 2014

The September Primitives & Pioneers Retreat started filling up so quickly that I’ve opened a second weekend. There are still a few spots left in the September event, but if that date didn’t work for you, try this one in October! (See all the current available events here.)

This retreat will last two days. Retreat days will be full days, through supper! ZERO cooking/baking or art experience is required. Come as you are–whether you are a beginner, or just ready to learn more.

Points to note–

Accommodations are not included. 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 local, 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, and in this retreat, you will be helping to prepare some of them.

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:


IMG_6401This fall retreat will span two days, with workshops including old-fashioned cooking, canning, art, and craft techniques. My teaching partner will be 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 is desire. All workshops and activities will take place at Sassafras Farm in Roane County, West Virginia.

Oh, Pioneer!

Jump into an old-time farm cooking and crafting adventure at Sassafras Farm! In canning, we’ll make corn cob jelly, from corn to jar–the most primitive of pioneer delights. In candles, each attendee will make their own hand-dipped tapers.
cakedone1IMG_1694IMG_6179We’ll go for a walk and find natural elements to create a homemade scented potpourri, then back in the kitchen we’ll make old-fashioned burnt sugar cake, learning how to “burn” sugar to make a simple but tasty primitive syrup not to mention cake and icing. We’ll be simmering a pot of fresh lard throughout the weekend, and everyone will make their own rustic loaf of peasant bread. We’ll also hunt for eggs, clip chicken wings (if you’ve ever wondered how), milk the cow, and trim some goat hooves. IMG_5936IMG_4690IMG_3002Take-homes include corn cob jelly, tapers, potpourri, burnt sugar cupcakes, and your own loaf of bread. Your family will be so glad to see you with your goodies and your newfound know-how!

Let’s Paint Primitive!

Expand your creativity! We’ll guide you through step by step as you create your very own primitive style masterpieces. 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 go home with your personal masterpieces and a new-found talent to explore…along with lots of great memories to share!
View of Farm at Twin Mtn20140515_205007_resized
We will create one work on canvas and one painted bucket (similar to the samples here). What could be more fun than that?!


This two-day Primitives & Pioneers Rtreat, including six meals and two very full days of instructions plus all your supplies and take-homes is $200.

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 October 1. 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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The Devil Wears Wildflowers


This is a part of the yard I want to fence in, but since I haven’t been able to do it yet, I’m trying to keep it under control. It got high on me, and I’m working to get it all back down.
There’s a creek here, so once it’s fenced in, the goats will have an area to graze that is fenced and has a creek.
And it will keep them out of my garden, where they just ate all my hostas down to the ground. I’ve been letting them out of the barnyard to “help” me, but they aren’t very task-oriented.
I have, at least, been able to keep the main parts of the yard around the house and studio down.
On the upside, despite how difficult it is to mow the part of the yard that got out of control (the mower keeps clogging because the grass is so high), I’ve been oddly excited about my mowing efforts. I can already feel that I’m stronger and have more stamina. It’s all that uphill sideways mowing, not to mention the weedeating. There’s so much that has to be weedeated–entire areas (multiple) of the yard that are too steep for mowing–that I weedeat every single day. It’s a workout!

Things are mostly looking good, though.
My neighbor came over the other day and said, “Weston must be helping you a lot. Your yard looks good.”

I said, “I did it all myself!”


I wasn’t sure he believed me. I told him Weston was in the Army in Oklahoma!

The first time the mower got clogged, I thought the mower was broken. Then it occurred to me to check underneath and I unclogged it. I felt very wise. I felt even smarter the time I figured out it was out of gas!

Don’t make fun of me. I’m a new mower.
I’m getting there!

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    May 19, 2014 - September 2014 Primitives & Pioneers Retreat

    Come learn at the farm!

    September 2014 Primitives Pioneers Retreat!
    Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Sunday, September 14, 2014

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    This past Saturday and Sunday was the Creative Blast — Art & Cooking Retreat here at the farm. We had a full house with 12 attendees (my limit for the studio class size). Kelly Walker was here leading painting workshops–canvas and gourd birdhouses–and I led the Julia Child cooking workshops. We cooked and painted our feet off, let me tell ya. I was so tired yesterday, I sat on … Continued…

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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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