As the story goes, the farmers cooled the cans of cows milk in the chilly waters of the Spring Bird creek, back when it was a dairy farm, a century ago.
With the cows long gone, forest has flourished, but you can still get fresh milk from All Grass Farms not far from Spring Bird.
We were able to meet the cows and a couple of their calves during our farm tour. The dairy cows, all with adorable names like “Daisy”, are productive ladies that are herded twice daily to the barn for milking.
In between milkings they are free to munch on fresh grass, since they are moved each day to new pasture.
We were careful to step over cow pies, which I was surprised to see were pie sized - or even larger - as we stroked the backs of these large ladies, occasionally swatting the pesky flies from their faces with the backs of our hands.
They were a highlight of the tour, for me, anyway!
Have you ever tried raw milk? I hear it makes the best cheese!
Oh boy! This was a good story! I don’t want to give any spoilers because the plot was so beautiful and suspenseful, but what I really appreciate about this novel is that it takes the ordinary and shows how it is truly extraordinary.
We all have trials in our lives, but this story shows how there is such beauty and so much love woven throughout them. This story begins when a scientist studying bird populations in the woods encounters a seemingly magical girl.
If you enjoy nature, the cosmos, the scientific method, a love story, a mystery, and a little magic, this book is definitely for you!
Also, this novel is so much like all the food it presents in its pages! There are weary days when you want to curl up with a good read just as the characters enjoy a grilled turkey burger and a toasted marshmallow after a long day of fieldwork.
I encourage you to take a look at Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah!
You’ll love it!
The first animals we visited on All Grass Farms were the egg laying chickens. There were 1,000 of them droning like a siren in unison and moving as a flock, too.
There was something otherworldly about the experience. It was louder than you can imagine!!! These dinosaurs lay 1,000 eggs a day, which the humans then have to collect. The humans also feed and water the chickens, and move them onto fresh pasture as needed.
A handful of chickens flew over the fencing, but Mike, our guide, reassured us that they mostly find their way back.
When the chickens were closer to the road, I remember seeing some that had crossed the roadside fence and then tried crossing Rt. 31. Or so the joke goes. Unfortunately, we occasionally see the remnants of chickens brought by owls and foxes to be plucked and eaten in the middle of Old Country School Rd. Their feathers blow about for days!
All Grass Farms sell fresh eggs daily! How do you like your eggs?
All Grass Farms sell fresh eggs daily! How do you like your eggs?
Another skill for your Nature Notebook!!! This one is really fun. Make a sunprint using cyanotype paper and collected plants, leaves, feathers, etc.
These are so beautiful and can be used in your nature notebook, pasted onto a greeting card, or put into a frame!
Celebrate the season with making a cyanoprint or sun print!
Learn more about the Nature Notebooks Workshop at Spring Bird here.
Did you know that Spring Bird’s neighbor is an amazing pasture farm called All Grass Farms? Just across Rt. 31, they raise dairy cows, chicken eggs, meat chickens, beef cattle, pork, and turkeys. All animals get fresh grazing land as needed and live happy, healthy lives until they are processed for our consumption. The dairy cows being the exception, of course.
All Grass Farms also has a farm store attached to an enormous red dairy barn, where you can purchase fresh produce and locally sourced food products in addition to the milk, eggs, and meat that All Grass Farms produces.
The farm has a free tour on Saturdays at 2:00 PM, and this past Saturday, Patrick, Penelope, and I hopped on the flatbed for a tour with Mike driving the tractor and guiding us through fences and over cow patties.
On the tour, we were able to meet and greet all of the animals raised at the farm, learn about how the farm takes care of them, and what life is like for these beautiful, healthy animals. More on that in subsequent posts.
For now, here is a drawing of the exterior of the farm store, which is open Monday through Friday 10:00 - 6:00 & Saturday and Sunday 9:00 - 5:00.
So, if you are coming to Spring Bird for a retreat day in the woods, you may want to stop at the store for some tasty treats. I quite enjoy the kimchi that they sell there, and their pork sausages are truly delicious. No time to stop? At the very least wave to the cows as your turn into Country School Rd.
So, I have recently started to read again - everyday - for at least 10 minutes. I am hoping to tear through the beautiful books on my shelf, that I have been accumulating for the past couple of years so that I can read the ones tallying on my reading list!
BUT, a couple of weeks ago, a book mysteriously showed up in my mailbox - well actually the box for the newspaper that is mounted next to the mailbox.
It was titled Fabulous and was published in 1960. It appeared to be a young adult novel looked like it was beloved. It was someone’s treasure, and that someone thought someone, probably Penelope, would enjoy reading it. I decided to honor its showing up in my life and read it!
So, I read the beautiful, sweet story of a teenage girl on a ranch taking care of a Palomino mare and an Appaloosian stud. It was one of those stories written about the tender relationship between human and animal, that also happened to give much respect and autonomy to the animals.
Having a house and a barn full of animals, I treasure my relationship with them and the wild ones, too. I think there is something so wonderful about these human/animal relationships that this book makes me want to write more about it. It’s especially interesting to consider our relationships with animals that humans have domesticized - like horses and dogs. These animals have been designed to fit into our lives and tell us as much about being human as being human has.
Has anyone read this book Fabulous? Do you have a cherished childhood novel about animals?
I drew this image for the Fall Issue of Woolgathering. It’s my daughter, Penelope, waiting for the bus in her very first jean jacket, which she received as her birthday present last May.
In the Fall Issue, I wrote about how I cherish my time waiting for the bus with her. We notice the nature around us, discuss our days ahead, or just dance around to keep warm. It’s just a lovely way to spend 15 minutes in the morning. That said, this morning I was absorbed in posting on Instagram and not paying attention to her. She sat down and started reading Book 6 of Harry Potter. After the bus took her away, I had a little bit of an empty feeling - like when you don’t get to say goodbye to someone. I did say goodbye and gave hugs, but I know that my attention was pulled into my phone and social media land and not on her. Uggh! I am so frustrated with myself.
Anyway, there is always tomorrow’s bus!
Happy back to school time for everyone - whether you have school aged kids in your life or not. This time of year marks a shift in our energy and certainly in our natural worlds. Take some time to notice the changes around you and inside you today!!!
Look for more information about Woolgathering, my quarterly magazine about the seasons, on my website here.
Woolgathering is becoming a hallmark of each season, bringing stories, illustrations, and essays about how we are connected to the cycles and seasons in nature!
The Seasons are changing, and so must your desktop/laptop Wallpaper image!
Save the above image to your desktop and have Fall invade your digital space!!!
As fall approaches, the leaves will be released from the treesI really enjoy getting to know the leaves, noticing them, and incorporating them into my art practice.
Here are two ways to use leaves in your creative expressions- leaf rubbings and leaf prints. These are great techniques for kids, too!
You can incorporate them into your Nature Notebook if you like.
I will be teaching these techniques at the October Nature Notebook Workshops on October 3rd and 5th.
Learn more about them here.
If you get a chance to make some leaf prints or rubbings, let me know how it went
Nature Notebooks Workshop
Make your own Nature Notebook and
spend the day observing, collecting, and writing in it,
while connecting with nature!
Join us for a day in the Spring Bird’s woods learning to make your own pamphlet book, sun prints, and leaf rubbings and create a book for your writing, sketching, or creative project. Get inspired by being in the woods!
October 3rd & October 5th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
At Spring Bird's Cottage
Workshop Cost: $75
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.