New Farm Story: The Farm Alphabet

To expand our collection of farm stories, we ventured into the staple of every preschool classroom, the alphabet. Of course, we made this alphabet story farm-themed, with each letter representing something from the farm. Of course, some letters were a struggle to come up with (most notably, U and X). Read the story below to see what we did with these tricky ones! Or, if you’d prefer, listen to a read aloud of the story here!

 

Posted in Farm Story, Head Start

Farm Mail: Week One

As of now, we are unable to visit our Head Start friends in their classrooms due to Head Start licensing visitor policy during Covid-19. However, we are allowed to drop things off for them, so we have created the farm mail service! This idea centers around our little mail totes which we just delivered to each class on Wednesday. Each week, we deliver farm fun to the mail tote outside the classroom door, while being sure to wave at the children through the window. Since the mail tote stays at the classroom, the kids have the chance to put drawings or letters inside to send back to the farm. We will share the fun items we receive on this blog in the future.

These were our materials for week one:

An introductory letter

A Meet the Farm Book (read it here)

A coloring pages for each student

And a photo of the farm

Posted in Farm Mail, Head Start

New Farm Story: Meet the Farm

As we prepare to go to Head Start classrooms in the coming weeks, we are so excited to unveil our latest book, Meet the Farm. As these kids haven’t been to the farm since last fall, we doubted how much of the experience they might remember. So, we put together a little cute book to reintroduce our farm, animals, and humans who work here. Enjoy our book below!

 

Posted in Farm Story, Head Start, Stoney Lick Farm

Barn Cleaning Day

Anyone who has been in our horse barn knows it is the cleanest barn known to man, with each minuscule piece of goat manure picked out of the stalls and every bird dropping scrubbed from the walls and floors. The center aisle is blown out with a leaf blower daily and the water bowls are scrubbed regularly. Even the chicken coop is tidied each day. Everything is immaculate. This is all the effort of Joy Smith, our barn manager extraordinaire. Her work is valued most by those who are familiar with barns – the ones who know just how much work it takes to keep a barn oh-so clean.

Every few years, we farm folk do a full barn cleaning with all hands on deck. This cleaning involves taking everything out of the barn and power washing it all down. This is an all day adventure that yields stunning results! This past week, we undertook this effort and are quite pleased with the results :) We ended our day with some celebratory mint chocolate chip ice cream bars!
 
So, next time you visit our barn, take a moment to appreciate all the hard work of our farm folk – and pay our Barn Manager, Joy, a well-deserved compliment! 
Posted in Horses, Stoney Lick Farm

New Farm Signs

​Our farm has recently been adorned with a set of beautiful handcrafted signs! These signs can now be seen around the farm to designate three popular wedding areas: the Pine Cathedral, Dawn Redwoods and Magnolias. These signs, posted atop old tool handles, were unveiled during the recent wedding open house. 

 
The signs were created by Joy Smith, our barn manager. She is also responsible for the ‘Slonaker House’ sign which hangs above the chicken house in honor of our now-retired property manager.
  
Posted in Stoney Lick Farm, Weddings

Noodle Horse Makeover

Our pool noodle horses are some of our lesser-known herd members, but are part of the family nonetheless. These creatures were brought to life back in the summer of 2017 and have been a part of our programs ever since. Our Head Start preschoolers so enjoy riding through our riding ring atop them! The pool noodle horses also travel to Frederick to visit the kids in the classroom. During these visits, the children use these toy horses to learn our ‘animal handshake’ before coming to the farm and greeting our other animals.

Three years into their little lives, the pool noodle horses were in desperate need of a makeover. They had lost many a googly eye, clumps of their curled ribbon manes, and their bridles. So, in preparation for our upcoming visits with Head Start students, the great makeover went underway. With the help of a hot glue gun, these adorable animals were restored to their former beauty. Take a look at their before and after photos!

                        Before

 

                                                 After

 

 

Posted in Head Start, Horses, Stoney Lick Farm

Back to School

Happy first day of school to all our friends at Frederick County Public Schools! A number of our Head Start students are heading back into the classrooms soon and we wish them well! We are so excited to bring our outdoor programming to them in new ways this year as they aren’t able to come to the farm. So, in addition to all the videos we made for them last school year, we are hoping to teach outside at their schools. Bringing our farm-based curriculum to the city parks is a new challenge with a big benefit: the activities we will be doing will be more accessible, both for the families to do on their own and for the teachers to lead during normal school hours, without the extra cost and hassle of transportation up to Thurmont. We will be updating this blog with our new lessons and activities as we do them with the kids!

Posted in Head Start

Program Puppy Updates

Over the last few years, ThorpeWood has hosted quite a few litters of hound puppies on the farm. These puppies are an especially fun part of our programming as our students get a chance to cuddle and take walks with these darlings – in addition to learning how to properly greet a dog. After a few months, the puppies go back to their home in New Jersey and are reintegrated into a community pack of hounds, where they learn to hunt. Recently, we checked in on these pups to see how they’ve grown! Here are a few updates:

From our first litter of foxhounds…Barnacle is now a father!

Here he is as a pup with our preschoolers back in the spring of 2017…

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and here he is full grown!

 

And these are his babies!

 

 

 

This litter of pups, sired by Barnacle, came to the farm too! Among them, a little girl called Almond stood out as the smart, athletic one. She once led her siblings in jumping out of the pen we put them in – and they ran through the woods to find us with our preschoolers by the pond!

 

 

 

Here’s Almond as a pup on the farm in the summer of 2018…

 

 

 

 

…and here she is full grown! She still jumps out of 5′ tall fences to join her friends on the other side of the kennel!

 

Our final puppy update comes from our litter of basset hounds who stayed at the farm. Rosette held the title of cutest pup, and now is the best of her litter at hunting rabbits. Her keen little nose has gained her respect in the larger pack, too.

Here is Rosette on the farm in the fall of 2017…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and here she is full grown!

We plan to get more updates on our program puppies in the future! Stay tuned!

 

 

Posted in Stoney Lick Farm

The Adventures of Flat Fandi (Part III)

As announced earlier this summer, Flat Fandi is back with our Head Start friends! With some students at summer camp and others being visited by teachers at home, about 120 of our Head Start friends are getting to see their old pal Flat Fandi again! We, of course, have asked for photos of these reunions and here is what came back! 

If you’re not quite sure who Flat Fandi is, take a look at our blog introducing him here! To see the letter that accompanied his summer visit to these children, click here!

Posted in Flat Fandi, Head Start, Stoney Lick Farm

Latest Batch of Distance Learning Videos

Through the summer, we have continued to make videos for all of our Head Start friends who missed out on so much farm time this spring and summer. This latest batch of distance learning videos features our chickens, goats, a read-aloud story and a favorite tree from the farm! We have sent Head Start a few farm worksheets, too, to go along with these videos. Take a few minutes to share these videos with a young farm-enthusiast in your life! The videos can be found by clicking the links below or, for the whole collection, visit our ThorpeWood youtube channel here!

Vinur and the Goats

Taking Care of Chickens

Meet My Favorite Tree

Goat Day!

 

Posted in Farm Story, Head Start, Stoney Lick Farm