Hazel Ridge Workshop & Gallery


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Newsletter 24 Fall/Winter 2014

Around the Farm
This is the 100th anniversary of Hazel Ridge Farm. Let me just squeeze in here that our Holiday Open House which is usually mid- December will be in October this year. More details on this annual event later in the newsletter. The farm has been our home for 34-years and has gone through big changes from when we originally bought it. If you have been a faithful follower of all things Hazel Ridge you know what I am talking about. But to those who are new to us, the biggest change has been transforming a once working farm into a natural wildlife refuge with all manner of native plants, prairies, ponds and diverse habitat. It continues to be a work in progress and we enjoy every minute of protecting our 40 acres, especially this year. The county decided it needed to repair the drain system that runs through much of our rural area. The devastation was hard to watch. The clean up is slow and Nick spends all his free time transplanting and replanting native plants in the areas that were destroyed. Stewardship of Hazel Ridge will be his life long passion. The warm, wet spring and summer made for abundant and continued blossoms for my bees. I harvested 300 pounds of honey this fall and experimented with making creamed honey, infused honey, candles and lotion. All will be available at our Open House. We visited Kelly in Sitka, Alaska this May. It was fun to see her in her professional AmeriCorps mode at the school where she worked. When she wasn’t working she became our tour guide of the island. Alaska was beautiful, starting with our 9-hour ferry ride from Juneau to Sitka. Bald eagles and ravens were as common as crows here. Much to Nick’s dismay, we never saw a grizzly bear, scat or tracks. But other than that, it was an unforgettable trip. Kelly’s next gig is Peace Corps Senegal. By the time you read this she will be stationed for training in Thiès, Senegal (pronounced chess) with 65 other new trainees. Her training will be for 2-months and then they will place her at her site for the remaining 2-years. Our third grandchild, Jude, was born in December 2013. Noorah, 5, Zayd 3 and Jude, a rambunctious and loving bunch, give Heather and Ahmed much joy (and challenges) in their lives. Heather is still plugging away at her nursing degree..acing most of the classes. How she manages her busy life with school and family is nothing short of Wonder Woman. Ahmed continues to stay busy and challenged in his position at Manchester University College of Pharmacy.

We stayed busy with school visits, farm visits, nature center talks and conferences this spring and summer. It is a great way to connect kids and adults to our books. In November, Nick will be presenting at the 64th Annual Michigan Art Education conference at the Lansing center. This conference will be attended by over 650 art educators from the Great Lake states eager to learn more in their field. For 20 years we have had our open house in December to celebrate the holiday spirit but for the past 3 years the weather has been uncooperative. We have had blizzards and ice storms severe enough to keep most everyone tucked safely in their homes. So this year we are changing to Fall at the Farm. Of course in Michigan that doesn’t guarantee that snow or ice storms won’t be part of our celebration but the odds are in our favor. We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Hazel Ridge Farm this fall. To celebrate the 100th anniversary many door prizes and giveaways will be held throughout the weekend. The trails are beautiful this time of year and more conducive to hiking and exploring the back 40.

Hazel Ridge Fall at the Farm
October 16 through 19, 2014
Thurs. & Fri. Oct. 16 and 17, 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (limited goodies)
Sat. & Sun. Oct 18 and 19, 11 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
(big hoopla)

The quiet, relaxed hours of Thursday & Friday have been an ongoing success so we will continue the tradition. But many of you still prefer the food & festivities of the big weekend hoopla. We welcome you whenever you decide to visit the farm and gallery. Originals, prints and books will be available. Remember parking can be a hassle. Since we only have our open house once a year, we rely on the common sense of you responsible drivers. Our parking lot will accommodate quite a few cars but please keep the circle drive open and flowing. There will also be parking just west of the farm, on the side of the road and across the street on our neighbor’s property. Signs will be posted. Some folks like to drop passengers off at the door and then park at the other spaces. Also, for you adventurous hikers, wear outdoor clothing and boots if you would like to hike the back 40 acres. Discover/explore all the areas highlighted in our Hazel Ridge Series books. If conditions (sloppy-muddy-soft trails) are not conducive to hiking, we will post "No hiking, please" on the entrance door of the gallery. Two reminders: 1.We do not take credit cards. 2. You may want to bring along a list of the books you already have so you know which ones you need/want. Feel free to bring along friends and family. All are welcome.

The fifth in our Hazel Ridge series was released this spring and will be available at the open house. It is titled I Love You Just Enough. It is the true story of daughter Heather (modeled by our niece Keagan) finding a young baby wood duck and raising it through spring, summer and fall. She learns the lesson of loving just enough and letting go. It has already won awards and accolades. This summer it was awarded the 2014 BOOK OF THE YEAR in the Kids Books category from the Creative Child Awards Program consisting of moms and educators. And it was also selected to be included in the ABC’s (American Booksellers Assoc.) Best Books for Children Catalog. It is considered the “premier consumer catalog in the children’s industry” as it is curated specifically with the independent bookstore market in mind. We are pretty pleased that it has been selected for these honors. Nick will have 2 releases in Spring 2105. The Legend of the Beaver’s Tail, on how the beaver got his tail, and the second one..well..I can’t say right now. Too soon to announce but he is up north right now doing research on it. Everyone thinks it is going to be as popular as The Legend of Sleeping Bear. We may be able to drop some telling hints at the open house.

This is the section where I recommend some good reads I have come across. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert catches you from the beginning and captivates you until the very last page. She is a true story teller. The second read is amazing. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer. The tale takes place during the Second World War and weaves the lives of a blind girl from France and a boy from Germany. Totally engrossing. I often end our newsletter with a quote or two that “speaks” to me but I would rather share a poem from a woman whose creativity is inspired by nature and her daily walks in the woods... just like us at Hazel Ridge Farm.

How I Walk in the Woods
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable..
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.
Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

Ok, that says it all. Have a safe, happy and healthy year. May the bee energy be with you.

Nick and Robbyn




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