Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Living our dream at GeerCrest Farm

IMG_4472 GeerCrest Farm GeerCrest Farm IMG_4390 IMG_4423 GeerCrest Farm GeerCrest Farm IMG_4416 GeerCrest Farm (quilt made on the Oregon Trail 1847) IMG_4399 GeerCrest Farm IMG_4453 IMG_4525 GeerCrest Farm IMG_4473 IMG_4444 GeerCrest Farm IMG_4480 IMG_4484 IMG_4493 GeerCrest Farm GeerCrest Farm IMG_4395 GeerCrest Farm (muddy puppy kisses) GeerCrest Farm IMG_4465 IMG_4470 IMG_4455 IMG_4519 IMG_4513

So many pictures and so much to write about but I will try to keep this the condensed version.

Last week, K's eighth grade buddy and her family invited us to spend the day with them at GeerCrest Farm. They have been spending their summer there on and off. We were so very excited to see our friends and to finally check out this special farm that we had heard so much about. During the school year, the students at Portland Waldorf school spend a week there, becoming part of the farm community (I believe in third grade but don't quote me on that!).

“GeerCrest Farm holds a place in this world for an experience which is vanishing; it holds an unspoken reverence and appreciation for nature and life, and it allows the developing child to connect with that in a very deep and personal way.”
Nina Churchill, Portland Waldorf School teacher

The farm is a little over an hour away from us, nestled in the Waldo Hills between Silverton and Stayton, but was so worth the drive. When we pulled in I gasped; it was the farm of our dreams, almost exactly as I had envisioned our "someday farm" to be, right down to the surrounding woods, a pond and a creek!

Our love of Oregon Trail history made this place even more extraordinary. The homestead and farm was established by Ralph and Mary Geer when they arrived by wagon train in 1847. The following spring, their 640-acre homestead became Oregon’s second land claim. It is unique in that it has been kept in the same family since 1847, who still dwell in the original home. A true piece of living history! I wish I could have taken more pictures inside the farm house to show you all the beauty inside (but a wiggly L made that a bit tricky). There are numerous books and treasures brought across the prairie aboard Ralph and Mary Geer’s wagon, including a hand-cranked sewing machine, a rocking chair, and  my personal favorite - the quilt hand-pieced by Mary along the way.

My children instantly felt right at home and after a quick tour by K's eighth grade buddy they took off exploring. They spent the entire day playing with friends, loving the animals, swinging, catching freshwater snails, getting muddy puppy kisses, learning and a little bit of helping, too. Truth be told, I was hoping to have us work their most of the day. I miss gardening and tending to the animals on farms (I used to ride horses growing up and was blessed to volunteer at The Gentle Barn while living in California and then to milk the cows and work at Gita Nagari Farm in Pennsylvania for six months). But my children were much too busy being free. Eh, I can't blame them. What an experience! We'll be back in August to help out. (I appreciate that they have children do real activities, helping out with whatever needs to be done on the farm, from mucking out the chicken coops to harvesting vegetables from the garden.)

 It was so uplifting to see them so free and happy running around barefoot in the big open fields. It was a feeling of joy one can only experience on farmland.  I can remember feeling it myself on the horse farms I grew up with. I hope to have this feeling again someday. Who knows, maybe after Idaho our farm dreams can become a reality. Until then we will hang on to the memory of this perfect day.

p.s. There's even more pictures on my flickr page here.

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