First Sassafras Farm Party


That’s me holding the cup.

“Where are all these people coming from? OHMYGOD, AM I HAVING A PARTY?”


It was so much fun to throw my first party at Sassafras Farm, and it meant even more to have the fabulous Kelly Walker here putting her happy creative stamp on the studio during the party. Here (photo courtesy Kelly Walker), a little girl during the party helps her paint the wall:

I was also thrilled to be able to include a benefit for the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue during the event. It’s really important to me to make giving back part of everything I do with the studio. Tinia Creamer and her husband, along with Jessie and Tony Hardesty (also with HOP), worked with Zip in the barnyard and talked about horse rescue. The “petting zoo” was open with Clover, Nutmeg, Cookie Doe (and babies), Annabelle, and Minnie Belle right in the barnyard, available for petting and treating. I brought all the other animals down from their pastures to the other fields directly around the barnyard so that everyone else was right there at the fence line if they weren’t in the barnyard. I had cartons out for help-yourself egg collecting, and I toured as many people as I could grab through my little old farmhouse. I posted signs encouraging everyone to feel free to go into the house and upstairs, into every room, and look to their heart’s content. And there were more hot dogs and hamburgers than I’ve ever seen in one place before, too. (Anyone want a hot dog for breakfast? I’ve got leftovers!) Thank you to my cousin Mark, assisted by my Navy boy Ross, who manned the grills. The art in the studio was a HUGE hit, and I will have more photos of all the art, finished, soon. (Kelly and Linda are still painting today.) Based on advance signups for the party, I was expecting around 100, but I think there were maybe 60-70 who came (which is a relatively small party for my parties, but it was a good first-time party for Sassafras Farm, giving me a chance to try out my parking and other plans ahead of the big Party on the Farm in September).

We had a table set up in the studio for the HOP benefit. My goal was to raise at least enough to support one rescue. HOP likes to have a minimum $500 banked before taking on a new rescue–to cover the horse rescue and transport, initial vetting and medical care, and feed and shelter. We raised almost $700 on Saturday, and Kelly Walker, who donated all the prints from her painting of Zip and Patriot (as well as the pet portrait prize) also donated the original artwork to HOP for auction to raise more money–in the end, after auctioning the original, the day may well support TWO rescues. Yay! (The winner of the pet portrait drawing was Donna Pickett (aka Darlene from Stover Lane.)

It was wonderful meeting so many readers–and I hope everyone had a good time. To those of you who came, thank you for coming. To those of you who donated by mail, thank you for supporting horse rescue! And to everyone reading, thank you for being here. Thank you also so much to Pete from the CITR forum for managing the HOP benefit table, and Jerry Waters, who is responsible for all the best photos in this post.

Thank you to Tinia and everyone with HOP for helping out, and thank you especially to Kelly and Linda for painting in front of an audience and turning the studio into a happy, vibrant place full of art.

See more of Kelly Walker’s art (and see her blog posts of her stay at Sassafras Farm) and learn about HOP here:
Kelly Walker
Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue


  1. PonderinStuff says:

    Thank you so much for having us out to your place, Suzanne. It was so nice meeting you. And it was quite the adventure to find Sassafras Farm. Although I got there with no problem,I totally got lost going home. But then again, I’m not the best navigator. So sorry that I had to leave early.

    Probably my favorite part of the party was stalking the baby goats so that I could catch them and pet them. They were adorable!


  2. CATRAY44 says:

    Looks like it was a wonderful, happy day! How life has changed in less than a year! Love the pictures and the updates. Is that Pete, with a visor at the table in the picture above- 4th from the top? (So fun to put a face to the name and personality!)

  3. cindyinohio says:

    Oh what fun. Sure wish I could have come. We have a bunch of animals and I could not find critter care. It sure looks like the day turned ourt wonderful. Now, go take a nap!!!

  4. lavenderblue says:

    Reminds me of the family picnics we used to have when I was very young. Friends and family milling about and conversing and EATING! Eating was always the very best part.
    Wish I could have been there. My husband said if I could hitch a ride he’d pay. “Oh no, dear,” said I “we need the money. It’ll be summer soon.” Summer=no job for husband, the teacher. So I worked and wrecked my leg. I’ve been home since Wednesday. Should have come and fed a goat.

    Kelly B. Isn’t great when you can get the little ones enthusiastic about art? The interest comes naturally but some of them need that push.

  5. marymac says:

    Looks like it was a wonderful party!

  6. Rainn says:

    This was wonderful Suzanne-I’m so happy for u-it brought tears to my eyes! I’m so glad u got to relax and enjoy yourself too!!!

  7. justdeborah2002 says:

    I wondered too, if that was Pete with the gorgeous shoulder length hair and white shirt with the visor at the HOP table.
    (I feel like I’m peeking in on friends who I haven’t quite met yet in person).

  8. Rose H says:

    What a joyus day it seems, shame I don’t live nearer as I’d have loved to come!
    I know that you are and will continue to be so happy at Sassafra Farm Suzanne, your happiness exudes from ‘Chickens’ post each and every day. I am sincerely pleased for you.
    :happyflower: :sun: :happyflower: :sun:

  9. KRingsrud says:

    (Two different) people riding Patriot? Did I miss something? Cool!

  10. bonita says:

    Luv the tatted grill master. How wonderful that he ‘dropped in’ just before leaving. I bet the pride goes both ways between you two!
    ll in all looks like a grand party—hooray two more rescues in order.

  11. Dumbcatluvr says:

    That’s my great grand-daughter Kamryn, helping her paint. 😀 Her grandpa (in the wheelchair) is a painter, so she has a natural aptitude for it.Thank you, Kelly, for being so patient with her, and letting her help.
    It was a dream come true for me to get to come to the party and I’m hoping to get to visit again in September.
    Suzanne, meeting you was awesome.

  12. Old WV Broad says:

    Thank you Suzanne, you are a gracious hostess. We felt welcome and happy to be there. The food was great and the company was impossibly better!

    I enjoyed renewing an old acquaintance with Pete (was it really that many years, yes it was!) and am looking forward to September.

    I, too, would have liked nametags. I met several folks, (all nice) but could not match a name to a face to an internet name. Seeing names posted here and in the “All Prettied Up” post, I can’t help but wonder who I met.

    Sure hope the lovely young woman with the beautiful blue eyes and the wasp sting is OK!

    All in all, a great visit and I will come again anytime I am invited!

    Be well,

    Billie B. in way south WV

  13. doubletroublegen says:

    We had a wonderful time at your new farm! Thank you for inviting everyone out to enjoy admiring all your hard work over the past several months since you have moved. I must say this farm is much nicer than your old farm!! And no river to cross! :snoopy: Do you realize you were a hostage at that miserable place? Oh I am so thrilled for all you have done and the change is your demeaner is obvious! The studio will be a huge success! It is beautiful! Congratulations on your hard work! :heart:

  14. STH says:

    Oh, this post is making me all whiny because I couldn’t get there. 🙁 More motivation to find a job so that I can get to the next one! I hope everybody had a great time!

  15. liz2 says:

    You were very generous, Suzanne, to host a party to benefit Heart of Phoenix. You & all of your volunteers devoted much time & effort to a deserving cause. I commend everyone who participated. Wish I could have attended.

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