Spring 2013 Wool and Writing Retreat


Come learn at the farm!

Spring Wool & Writing Retreat
May 2 – May 6, 2013

Retreats in 2013 will be offered spring and summer, with options to choose the entire retreat or only parts. Each retreat will last five days, but it’s up to you whether you choose one day, two days, three days, or all five days, offering more flexibility for your needs, schedule, and budget. Retreat days will be full days, going into the evening after dinner with mentored practice time for what you’ve been learning during the day.

Points to note–

Accommodations are not included. Accommodations in Elkview, WV, approximately 15 minutes from Sassafras Farm (closest and most convenient hotel to the farm): Elkview Inn & Suites. Their info is: 101 The Crossing Mall, Elkview, WV 25071, 1-800-230-4134. You can also find other 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, dinner, and snacks will be home-cooked and served right here from the studio kitchen, and will focus on fresh, culturally iconic and delicious West Virginia foods.

Teens are welcome. Mature teens 13 and up may sign up to attend retreats at Sassafras Farm accompanied by a paid attendee parent/guardian.

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!

Get the lowdown on the summer retreat with Cheese & the Family Cow, Breads/Biscuits/Pie, and Herbs & Soap:
Cheese, Bread, Herbs & Soap Retreat

Open NOW for registration:


IMG_6401The spring retreat will span five days, including two full days working with all things sheepish, one day of herbals, and two days of writing workshops. My teaching partner for this retreat will be LauraP, an experienced shepherdess, spinner, and herbalist as well as a multi-published writer. Choose to attend one day, two days, three days, or all five–up to you! All workshops and activities will take place at Sassafras Farm in Roane County, West Virginia.

WOOL WORKSHOP – Thursday, May 2, 2013 – Friday, May 3, 2013

Come to the farm for a two-day woolly adventure! We’ll start with shearing the sheep, and anyone who wants to join in will have a hands-on chance to take off some wool. From there, we’ll skirt, wash, card, and practice spinning with a drop spindle. You will also have the opportunity to see how a spinning wheel operates. You’ll find out what it’s like to keep a small flock of sheep, play with some bouncy new lambs, and learn to cook with lamb. We’ll dine on lamb for supper! (Not MINE!) Evenings will be spent practicing knitting, crocheting, and spinning. If you’ve never tried it before, you’ll leave with the skills and a couple of easy patterns. You’ll also take home a bag of wool from the Sassafras Farm sheep to work with at home. Whether you want to start a flock of your own or just learn more about working with wool from raw to sweater, this workshop offers the inspiration and know-how for all your woolly dreams.

Herbals Day – Saturday, May 4, 2013

Continue your Sassafras Farm adventure or begin a new one with a fun day of hands-on herbal instruction. We’ll start with a general overview of traditional kitchen and medicinal herbs and their uses. Weather permitting, we’ll take an herbal walk and gather wild edibles and medicinals to use in the practical formulas you help prepare in the Sassafras Farm Studio kitchen. You’ll learn how to use essential oils safely and how to make your own medicinal teas, tinctures, decoctions, infusions, herbal syrups, salves, and natural lotions. You’ll also learn how to stock a basic home herbal medicine cabinet and plan your own kitchen garden, a women’s herbal garden, a medicinal garden, and even a section for the benefit of pets and livestock, if that suits your needs. Whether you’re ready to begin making your own ‘simples’ and potions or just want to know more about the many practical uses for garden and wild herbs, this workshop offers the information and advice to get you started.

WRITING WORKSHOP – Sunday, May 5, 2013 – Monday, May 6, 2013

(Writing workshop has been cancelled–that’ll learn me to not offer a non-farm-related experience! This workshop set did not meet the minimum attendee size.)

Written a book? Don’t know how to sell it? Or still dreaming of the day you’ll set pen to paper? Or maybe you’ve started one and are floundering? Maybe you want a start a blog, or already have? Whether it’s fiction, memoir or other non-fiction, or an online blog, this is the workshop for you. Come learn from two experienced published authors about the inside track to publishing, writing from idea to finished work, and everything in between. This two-day workshop will include presentations and tips, practice exercises, plus hands-on critiques and personalized mentorship to set you on your way. In advance of the workshop, attendees will be invited to share their goals so the workshop can be geared specifically to their interests and needs. Leave with the motivation and advice to move your writing from passion to published! (And get a sneak peek at my own wild and juicy memoir.)


Write your own ticket! Each two-day set (Wool or Writing) is $150 per person. The herbals day is $50 per person. However–

Choose all five days (including BOTH two-day sets) and the herbals day is free. (Total: $300 for FIVE full days.)

Take one two-day set (either Wool or Writing) and attend the herbals day for $25. (Total: $175 for THREE full days.) If you want to choose one two-day set and NOT attend the herbals day, your total will be $150.

You may also choose the herbals day only for $50.

How do you sign up?

Email me at CITRevents@yahoo.com and tell me what you want to sign up for (Wool, Writing, Herbals–all or which parts). 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.

The Summer 2013 Cheese, Bread, Herbs & Soap Retreat is also open for registration!

A payment in full will reserve your place. If you sign up, please plan to attend. Retreat reservations are nonrefundable.

Not only does offering retreats in this way at Sassafras Farm enable me to provide a higher quality and more in-depth experience, it also allows the full atmosphere of the farm to become part of the experience. The Wool retreat includes hands-on work with animals as part of the workshops, but every workshop at every retreat at the farm will include multiple opportunities throughout the day for attendees to visit with the animals, feed a goat a cookie, pet the horses, take a hayride, and join in farm chores if you choose–collecting eggs, milking Glory Bee, tossing hay, cleaning out the chicken house…. Did I sneak that last one in on you?

party2011Evenings will provide casual time to practice what you’ve been learning, hang out in the studio or the house, and even enjoy a bonfire. 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!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 23, 2013  

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14 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-23

    Does this mean that you will NOT be doing Chickenstock?

  2. 1-23

    Denise, I’ll be doing three in-depth retreats, spring, summer, and fall. (I found out that the Chickenstock name was taken already by another organization!)

  3. 1-23

    Are there any campgrounds near there?

  4. 1-23

    I sincerely hope that I can attend one of the retreats this year. The spring retreat sounds exciting…especially the writing workshop. I need to get my ducks in a row though… :)

  5. 1-23

    That explains why I couldn’t find the original blog re: Chickenstock. Will you still be doing your annual party at the farm?

  6. 1-23

    Yes, there will be a party on the farm in September like always!

  7. 1-23

    brookdale, I believe that Suzanne has camping spots on the farm. There are also other places to camp such as the KOA in Flatwoods which is about 30 minutes North on I79. How about I start a Forum topic and we can post accommodation links and folks could also find roomies for Retreat stays to split costs with.


  8. 1-24

    brookdale, you CAN camp here, though it’s primitive camping. There are other campgrounds around here. Do you have an RV or just regular camping?

  9. 1-24

    Good morning. when will you post the summer and fall retreats? Ican’t wait to read about them.

  10. 1-24

    As soon as I have all the info lined up!

  11. 1-24

    Can I bring the wool I bought from you last year to learn to spin with it??
    Also, last year I think you had the opportunity to buy a spinning wheel? Will that be available??

  12. 1-24

    Yes, you can absolutely bring your own wool if you like! We will not having spinning wheels here to sell, but we can make recommendations. I know at least one attendee already is bringing her own wheel to learn on her own wheel, and there will also be a teacher’s wheel here. If you get a wheel of your own before the retreat, you are welcome to bring it! If you want some recommendations in advance, let me know.

  13. 1-24

    Oh how I wish I could attend one of these retreats! BUT 1000 miles (one way)is just a little too far to drive when you’re “elderly”. So here’s hoping you post lots of pics, and maybe virtual workshops. Wishing you all the best in these new endeavors!

  14. 6-7

    I just discovered your blog today–I’m so disappointed that I didn’t know about the writing workshop! I would love to take a workshop at the farm. Will you think about offering it again?

    In the meantime, I’ll have to keep my eyes open for another wool weekend!

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"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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