CCPS English Language Arts Teachers

We were delighted to host Steph Dale of Carroll County Public Schools and her team of English Language Arts specialists. After a trying school year, these ladies were in need of a restorative day on the mountain. The women start their day gathering in our timber frame lodge and reading Rain before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls. 

The women then chose their next adventure: yoga in the stream-side pavilion with Kim Wilson or nature journaling on the wooden bridge. After those quiet, nature-based activities, the women reconvened in the lodge for a bit of work and lunch. After their meal, everyone hopped into their cars and drove over to the farm side of things. Here, the ladies journeyed into the woods for an abbreviated forest therapy walk, where we tapped into our senses and experienced simply being with nature. 

After a short stroll back to the barn, we stopped for a quick visit with the horses…and decorated Vinur with finger paints! What a light-hearted and delightful way of ending the day. 

We can’t wait to have these women back again someday!

 

Posted in Adult Programs, Forest Therapy

June Litter Pick Up

Earlier this month we performed our quarterly road clean-up on Catoctin Hollow Road. Our crew included TW property manager Jeff Isaac, property assistant Gage Frantz, barn manager Mattie Hoover, and me, program director Katie Guth.  As a team of four, we walked the 3.5 mile stretch of Catoctin Hollow Road from Mink Farm Road to Route 15. 

Litter pick up in the summer months is a bit trickier as the road-side stilt grass tends to obscure discarded bottles and take out containers, but we scoured the road for every bit of trash. Mattie ‘eagle-eyes’ Hoover found yards of heavy cable up on the bank, Jeff discovered an abandoned microwave in the stream, Gage reliably piled cans and bottles into our trash bags, and I hauled a multi-level cat tree out of the stream bed. We all teamed together to haul many atrociously heavy cement slabs up the cliffside.

At the end of the outing, we all enjoyed some ice cream back at the barn. 

If you would like to join us for our next litter pick up, email [email protected] for the details!

Posted in Activities for You, Volunteering

Meet Mattie!

Meet our new barn manager, Mattie!

We are so excited to welcome Mattie into the ThorpeWood family! Our animals are lucky to have someone so dedicated, conscientious, and loving on their team. Mattie is also proving to be a great asset for our programs and property maintenance. Stop by the barn someday soon to see her enthusiasm and contagious smile for yourself!

And now, here’s a bit on Mattie’s background:

A local to the area, Mattie grew up in Hagerstown, Maryland. Having relocated to Frederick with her husband in 2021 to be more local to work, she stumbled into the role of Barn Manager at ThorpeWood in an effort to change tracks from the biotechnology industry, where she worked for 2 years after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Maryland Global Campus.

Mattie has two passions: animals and helping others; which makes every day in her role at ThorpeWood a dream come true. When she isn’t grooming and riding the horses, or playing with the goats, she’s helping Katie teach any visitors about the wonders of nature and farm life, or she’s helping Jeff with property maintenance (seriously, 160 acres is A LOT!).

Mattie and her husband, Chris, enjoy chilling at the dog park with their senior Boston Terrier, Frazier, and watching the newest season of Bob’s Burgers in their spare time. She’s also a devoted nerd, reading comic books in her spare time, as well as other books that continue to fill up her home library. 

 

Posted in Stoney Lick Farm

Girl Scout Troop 37101

We love to get kids out on the trail, so it was a great honor to help 9 girl scouts from Troop 37101 earn their hiking/nature walk badge! This opportunity came to us by way of one of our favorite farm helpers, Shannon Fallon! As a member of this troop, Shannon and her mom suggested ThorpeWood to the troop and made the whole event happen!

In pursuit of this badge, we ventured out across the property, hitting many of our favorite spots:

The Circle of Dawn Redwoods, where we learned about the tree’s rare deciduous/conifer identity.

The Bamboo Forest, where we learned about the many uses of bamboo and its excellence in oxygen production.

The Muddy Backwoods Trails, where we identified raccoon and deer tracks in the mud.

The Pond, where we observed the work of beavers.

The Field’s Edge, where we investigated stinging nettles.

The Great Open Field, where the girl scouts attempted to sing some girl scouts songs – but no one knew the words :)

The Pine Trails, where we admired gumballs, pinecones, and the work of woodpeckers.

All along the way, we enjoyed each other’s company and the beauty of our surroundings. Thank you to all the girls who made this outing special!

Posted in Youth Programs

Homeschoolers at the Farm

This past Friday, we hosted a small homeschool group for a day at the farm. The kids were outdoor kids – used to going barefoot and enjoying their own smattering of farm animals at home.

Q: So what did we have to offer them?

A: New animals, a mud kitchen, tractors, and beautiful hiking trails!

First up, the kids enjoyed meeting our baby goats, brushing our horses, and meeting our various other furry/feathered friends. From there, we headed over to our skid steer, mowers, tractor, and rtvs. They had a blast climbing aboard all these fine machines! Afterward, we found our way to the mud kitchen. Equipped with all kinds of cookware (and MUD, of course), the mud kitchen encouraged us all to enjoy the dirtier aspects of the farm. After washing up, we explored our trails. Some highlights of the hike included climbing the pine cathedral benches, finding our beehives, and navigating around the pond. 

Thanks to the families for a fun morning on the farm!

Posted in Youth Programs

EL Camp Out!

 

All school year long, we have been hosting TJ High School’s English Learners. This cohort of students has visited the farm five times to enjoy our animals and nature. The teachers always plan fun lessons for the kids here, too – using microscopes, thermometers, hand tools, and more. For their final visit of the school year, thirty of these students spent two days and a night at the farm!

 

 

The first day’s activities centered around painting our horses and adventuring down at the stream. The kids had so much fun bonding with the horses during this activity. Afterward, we naturally had to go visit our new baby goats – Banjo and Mohawk. Everyone doted on them – going so far as to adorn them with flowers and rock them to sleep in their arms. 

Later that night, there were soccer games in the riding ring, hotdogs over the fire at 2am, and so much more. When sleep finally overtook everyone, the girls hunkered down in our homestead house while the boys retreated to their tents. Everyone slept in before tidying up their campsites and having a relaxing morning on the farm. We so enjoyed everyone’s company – it is such a thrill to see our property transformed by our visitors.

 

Posted in Youth Programs

Wholistic Women in the Woods

Oh, what a wonderful day with the Wholistic Women in the Woods! Around 25 ladies gathered in our homestead barn today for a women’s retreat to be inspired and restored. After a brief introduction by the group’s leader, Kelye Brown, the women were set free from their seats to go out…and play! Full-grown women lulled about in the grass kicking balls, throwing frisbees, riding the seesaw, and trying to recapture their younger self’s ability to hula hoop. After regrouping about 15 minutes later, the ladies began a new kind of play called ‘Let Your Yoga Dance,’ which was essentially a yoga class meets dance party. The amount of laughter and silliness that filled the homestead barn was wonderful.

Next up, the women learned about nutrition and wellness under the instruction of Kim Wilson, a holistic coach. Everyone took that talk and information with them to their picnic lunch at the pavilion. Here, everyone sat around at the picnic tables and got to know one another. 

The afternoon began with a creative writing workshop in the pine cathedral with writer Katie Ritter. The women wrote to their past selves, their future selves, or remembered a time they found the strength to handle what had to be done. The women opened their hearts to share their writings and offer support to others.

Next up, I led the women in a forest bathing experience. We started in the dawn redwood trees with a sensory awakening in which we tuned into each of our five senses. We then followed different ‘invitations’ as we strolled through the woods. I was delighted beyond measure to see these adult women spontaneously climbing trees. 

The day concluded with the group coming together to build and enjoy a fire at our fire ring. There is nothing quite like gathering around to enjoy the warmth and dance of the flames. It was a truly wonderful day that we hope to recreate again someday soon!

Posted in Adult Programs, Forest Therapy

New Animals at the Farm!

We ThorpeWoodians have been playing around with the idea of getting a new animal at the farm for a while now…but what to get? Sheep, pigs, more chickens, alpaca? We were set on only adding a productive farm animal to the family, and have finally made a decision…GOATS!

Although they don’t have names just yet, we have acquired two baby pygmy goats. They are twin boys and about three months old. We have high hopes for these little guys. First and foremost, our two new friends are planning to become stars of our animal programs. Who can possibly resist the spunk and silliness of pygmy goats? Second, Jeff is planning to train them as his new assistants – a part of the brush clearing team. We plan to have portable fencing that we will move around the property wherever brush needs to be cleared. This will reduce our reliance on weed killers and generally add an air of whimsy about the farm. 

For now, we are doing our best to socialize our new goats and will be starting lead training soon! Many more goat updates to come…

Posted in Stoney Lick Farm

ThorpeWood is Hiring!

Part-Time Barn Manager
 
15-20 hours/week | $15-18/hour
 
ThorpeWood is a 160-acre mountain retreat that runs animal and nature programs for all ages, primarily at-risk youth. We also are a wedding and events venue.
 
We are looking for someone local, hard-working, and upbeat to care for our 5 horses, 3 goats, 2 cows, and flock of chickens. Duties include feeding animals, cleaning stalls, harrowing fields, being attentive to medical issues, grooming, ordering grain and shavings, coordinating with the vet, farrier, and weekend barn help, etc.
 
Our ideal candidate would also be eager to help out with property maintenance and/or outdoor programs.
 
Must be able to lift 50 pounds, stack and throw hay, drive a horse trailer and tractor (or be willing to learn).
 
Must have experience with large animals.
 
Must be available 7-10 am Monday-Friday (additional hours available, including weekends if desired)
Posted in Horses, Stoney Lick Farm

Head Start Returns – Spring 2022

We are delighted to welcome back our Head Start friends to the farm for the spring season! We have cultivated a fun-filled farm experience for these kids on their two long days with us. 

 

On the first day, we will begin with a visit to all of our animals – horses, goats, chickens, cows, rabbit and bumble bees! After such a long winter, the animals are oh-so lonely for the loving touches and hugs of our littlest visitors. After lunch in the pavilion and playtime in the riding ring, the kids will regroup for a round of exploration. With our little metal buckets, we will gather dandelions, pine cones, and assorted sticks. We will see the pond and field of buttercups. We will run and cartwheel across our 160 acres.

 

 

On day two, we will announce to the kids that we farm folk didn’t get our chores done quite yet. Could they help out for a bit? With their helping hands, we will take shedding blades to the horses’ winter coats, use our pitch forks to clean the fields of horse manure, play on the tractors to make sure all the buttons and levers are in good working order, and gather compost from the old manure pile for gardening. After lunch and free play outdoors, we will fill our afternoon with a trip to the stream. Here, we will travel across the new bridge, find the old log cabin in the woods, and pay a visit to the stream. If it’s warm enough, we will take time to splash and swim here.

For this season of Head Start visits, we are resolving to take it slow and enjoy each animal and activity. There will be no rushing or jam-packed activities.

Let’s savor this.

Posted in Head Start, Youth Programs