The studio that has been on our list to build is underway and will be completed and ready for late winter/ early spring classes. Over the last several years we have been offering classes here at the nursery and farm. Rick has taught many classes on native plants, plant propagation, and designing beds for shade. We’ve had workshops on building hypertufa vessels, dyeing and spinning wool, and soap making. We’ve taught people how to butcher their own chickens and cure and smoke bacon. Now we are wishing to expand the classes and workshops we offer. More classes on raising sheep, washing and dyeing wool, and spinning and felting. A workshop on fermentation, home canning, and sausage making, may be what’s offered. Imagine wanting to learn about homesteading skills, and knowing of a place to learn them. In addition, Rick will increase the amount of workshops being led on horticultural topics. A native plant walk and idtentification class. A talk on shade and woodland plants for the garden. A hands-on work shop on plant dividing. Just to name a few. We think the nursery and farm here are unique in many ways. The nursery is unusual with regards to the native and woodland plants ( shade and some sun loving plants, as well) we grow . Rick has been working with natives and woodland plants for well over thirty years. His knowledge and experience has always been a welcome help to customers who have questions or for those who want to learn the most they can about native and woodland plants. We have always been a rare find amongst plant enthusiasts. Though we actually have about 15 acres of land, we grow a tremendous amount of food on what would be considerd a small holding. We can see all of our gardens from the house. In addition we raise at least two pigs a year, 75-100 meat birds ( chickens ), lamb, and raise a substantial laying flock. Our three large organic gardens easily produce enough food for two to three families. We operate a greenhouse, a hoop house for an extended growing season, and several cold frames. What we buy for food is kept at a minimum on account of what we are able to raise and preserve. We feel that we are a good model for living sustainably on a somewhat small piece of land. Not everyone wants to own large 100 acre parcels of land, and knowing that you can provide for yourself on far less, can be helpful information. Also, we are firm believers that growing even a little bit of food on your own decreases your dependency on others to do it for you. We see our life here as a cycle of activity that allows us to be as self sufficient as possible. So, in order to accomplish this, we pay close attention to how we’re doing things. We are good soil stewards. We rotate crops. We pay attention to pollinators and how to avoid plant disease using organic methods. We keep our overhead low and try to always be efficient in our work. These are the types of skills we’d like to share. The new studio will be a place to offer more workshops and classes on all that we do here, from native plants to growing your own food, to learning about soil amendment or making your own soap. We’ll be keeping you posted on the progress and would love to hear any suggestions about classes folks might be interested in ( Sharon, if you’re reading , I have your ‘what to do with herbs’ class on the list). If you are interested in plants, take advantage of the knowledge and experience Rick has to offer, and suggest a class. By spring we will have a list of what’s being offered so far, so keep checking in. In the meantime, we’ll keep writing about life here at Fernwood.