Recent Farm Mail

We have been having so much fun making and delivering farm mail to all of our Head Start friends! Each week, we drive around Frederick and Emmitsburg to make our rounds of all the classrooms – two classes at Frederick Community College, one at Staley Park, two at the Bernard Brown Center, one at Lucas Village, and one at the Emmitsburg Senior Center. In recent weeks, we have distributed a great many items of farm fun. Here are just a few of the things we have sent via Farm Mail:

A pair of stilts

We made these in our workshop and made a video of that process to send to all the kids! These toys are great for kids to develop their gross motor skills – and have a lot of fun doing so! 

Flat Fandi

This little horse has long been a familiar face around the Head Start classrooms, and is once again getting loved and played with regularly in the classroom.

 

 

 

Pool Noodle Horses

Using just a few ribbons, googly eyes, and a pool noodle, we made fantastic little hobby horses. Each classroom now has one to play with!

 

 

 

 

 

Coloring Pages

Farm-themed coloring pages are always a hit – the kids often give us the finished products back as a little gift the next week.

 

 

 

 

 

Flat Matilda

We heard that Flat Fandi might be getting a bit lonely, so a Flat Matilda joined him!

 

 

 

Animal Autographs

One of the classes sent us a big poster with everyone’s handprint on it early in the school year, so we returned the favor by making a page of animal autographs! 

 

 

Posted in Farm Mail, Head Start

ThorpeWood Open House and Calendars!

Today is the second and final day of our Open House! We are so enjoying having small numbers of folks out to our lodge to enjoy our magnificent Christmas tree, roaring fire, cider, and ThorpeWood cookies. Despite being quite busy at the North Pole, Santa has made his way to our mountain to see all of our guests. Email Julie Castleman at [email protected] to sign up. 
 
We also have our 2021 ThorpeWood calendars that we are so excited to share! This year, we used photo submissions from Missy Zook Grimes, Wendy McLean, Tim Voigt, Kai Hagen, Joy Smith and me to make this extraordinary calendar. So many calendars have already shipped out to their new homes. Carrol County Public Schools took 20 for their disadvantaged girls enrolled in summer camp and each of the Head Start classrooms received one in their farm mail this week. Take a look at the stunning photos below:
Posted in Holiday Open House, Uncategorized

New Virtual Learning Videos

As our preschoolers are still not able to come visit the farm at this time, we are making more distance learning videos to share with them. The children in both the physical and virtual classrooms have been enjoying their small glimpses into life at the farm. These videos offer a wide range of content for our preschoolers, including read alouds and videos from all aspects of farm life. Take a look at our latest videos below! Also, you can visit our ThorpeWood youtube channel for all of our videos!

Meet the Farm

This is the first video we made this school year to introduce new students to our farm (and baby Josie!). It is a read aloud of a new story we farm folk wrote recently. All of the classrooms got a copy of this book in their farm mail!

The Farm Alphabet

This is a read aloud of one of our farm stories, read atop our tractor! Each letter of the alphabet is paired with something from life at the farm. Each student, both in the physical and virtual classrooms, got a miniature version of this book in their farm mail!

Making Stilts in the Workshop

This video shows me building a pair of stilts in the workshop. The children get to see many different tools in use. Each class got a pair of these stilts in their farm mail that week!

Let’s Get Hay

This video shows a fun day at the farm where we farm folk go get 100 bales of hay from a local farm. The kids get to watch us load and unload the hay – and finally deliver it to the animals!

Leaves

As the students were studying leaves in their classrooms, this video shows leaves at the farm and all the fun you can have with them. From making confetti, to jumping in leaf piles, to making a little leaf village, there is all kinds of fall fun in this video.

Posted in Activities for You, Farm Mail, Head Start, Stoney Lick Farm

Third Thursdays at ThorpeWood

We are so delighted to announce the return of Third Thursdays at ThorpeWood, a nature-themed storytime event. In years past, this event was held in our ‘tree room’ in front of our beautiful tree mural. Stories were read by different local librarians. We hope to return to this perfect storytime area in the future, but in the time of COVID, we are opting to hold our storytime outdoors. Children and their families get to sit on haybales near our barn for the storytime, then head out on an adventure.

For our first storytime event this November, we read ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. Following the reading, we colored and constructed paper binoculars which the children wore around their neck for the big bear hunt that followed. During this, we tromped through the woods, keeping our eyes peeled for a bear sighting. Although no live bears made an appearance, we were delighted to find painted wood cut out bears at the pond. These fun cut outs were loaned to us by our wonderful neighbor Barb Palatucci.

We hope to see more families at our next event! Please email [email protected] to sign up.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Visits from Camp Journey

We were so thrilled this month to have our friends from Camp Journey out to our farm. Over the course of the month, four crews of their kids took a little field trip to enjoy our property. Two groups came to feed our animals, go on a night hike and have dinner here. After trekking through the woods armed with flashlights, the hikes ended with two great moments. First, we took 5 minutes to lay down in our big field in silence, just staring up at the stars and taking in the sounds of the night. Afterward, we continued our silence as we made our way to the pond to spy on our beavers. The beavers, accomodating as always, swam to the edge of the pond and allowed the kids to watch them from mere feet away.

Another group of campers came later in the month to spend time with our animals. In addition to helping our barn manager Joy feed everyone in the evening, the girls got to work grooming the horses. This volunteerism was greatly appreciated by us farm folk and the animals, of course! 

The final group of campers came to the lodge on a Saturday to bake cookies! Marie from Tastefully Ever After graciously taught the girls from Camp Journey all about baking and decorating some truly delicious cookies!

We can’t wait to see our Camp Journey friends again soon!

  

Posted in Horses, Stoney Lick Farm

EAL This Fall

After having canceled and postponed so many EAL sessions and other farm programming, we were delighted to host a few groups for Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) this fall. In October, we saw the directors and supervisors of Potomac Case Management during their two-day retreat at our lodge. Through their work with our very differently-tempered horses, the participants were reminded how to recalibrate their management methods to each case and employee. They also delved into their communication and leadership styles as we experimented with working with the horses ‘at liberty’ and on a lead. The two-hour session was wonderfully fruitful and we received some lovely feedback afterward. 

In November, we had Frederick Memorial Hospital’s forensic nurses for EAL. Even though it was a cold and rainy day, the lovely ladies that came out were ready to get down to business! They had a great time challenging themselves to lead our horses without being too forceful. Being forensic nurses, they knew how to have a gentle touch while still taking charge and getting their mission accomplished. After EAL, they returned to the lodge to warm up around the fire and continue their staff retreat. We so enjoyed have both groups out for EAL – we so missed getting to share this experience with our community!

 

 

Posted in EAL, Horses, Stoney Lick Farm

Virtual Farm Visits

With sixty of our Head Start friends in virtual classrooms this year, we decided to join in on their weekly sessions over Google Meets. At the start of their class, we introduced ourselves and took a tour around the farm – showing them our barn, horses, goats, dogs and more! Towards the end of the call, we let them know that the farm would be sending them an envelope stuffed full of fun farm activities. We honored that promise as Head Start handed out learning materials to each family. In each kid’s package, there was an envelope from the farm containing one of our miniature Farm Alphabet books, a little Flat Fandi, a letter, and some worksheets. Each month going forward, we will be sending our farm fun to all our virtual students! 

Take a look at some of the materials we sent below:

Posted in Head Start, Stoney Lick Farm

Halloween at the Farm

Happy Halloween from the farm! Our animals were very excited to dress up this year. So, they got to work on their costumes! Our horses Glampi and Bowie went the magical route dressing up as unicorns, while their buddies Garpur and Stormur went on more of an old west theme in their cowboy costumes. In a saddle, halter, and lead rope, Flint the goat dressed up as a horse. Our chicken Matilda used a little blue bonnet to dress up as her hero, Mother Goose. What did all of you dress up as? Did your animals go in costume, too?

 

Posted in Stoney Lick Farm

Farm Mail (with Dizzy and Daphne)

For our third week of farm mail deliveries, we brought our two silkie hens, Dizzy and Daphne to join in the fun! Our items of farm fun included a laminated class copy of our latest book, The Farm Alphabet (read it here, watch a read-aloud of it here), a small booklet copy of the same book for each child to take home, and a letter from our chicken, Dizzy. Check out these items of farm fun: 

We stopped by each classroom, dropped off our farm fun, and showed the kids their visitors, Dizzy and Daphne the chickens! The chickens kept their distance, of course, but were oohed and ahhed at from afar. Upon seeing Daphne, one little girl very matter-of-factly announced ‘she’s very beautiful.’

Also during this adventure, we picked up some truly terrific mail from the kids to us farm folk! Such beautiful drawings, lovely notes, and expertly-completed worksheets from last week made us smile ear-to-ear!

Take a look at some of the mail we received this week below.

Each of the drawings had such great messages! Here are a few of our favorites:

“Hey Everyone on the horse farm. Thank you for making the books for us.” -Ke’Wan

“I wish I could come to the farm again like last year. One day, I will visit the farm. I want to see your animals” -Elijah

“Hello! Thank you for the animal videos.” -Sebastian

“Hi Miss Katie. I miss you.” -Dylan

We can’t wait until we get some more mail next week!

Posted in Farm Mail, Head Start

We Got Mail!

As detailed in a previous blog, we have been sending our friends in Head Start some ‘farm mail.’ These fun little books and letters are delivered each week by us farm folk, in person. When we did our pick-up last week, we received some mail in return! We were unspeakably happy at these gifts from our Head Start kids! The kids sent envelopes full of doodles, their completed coloring pages which we had given them the week prior, and some beautiful artwork. We have included some pictures here so you can see these treasures first hand! Thank you so much to the teachers who went out of their way to make this happen!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Head Start