Sharing farm life with children for two generations.

Photos & Notes from Privious Summers


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Photos and Letters

From the Summer of 2007

Summer Camp

Thank you for a great week .... Ever since I got back ...TV is not as amusing as it used to be. I like to work and play with animals more. (I am so glad I have a dog.) Can you please send me pictures of your dogs and the chicken I was always with? I really hope I get invited back next year.  

James Gooding
Summer Camp

I had such a great time on the farm. Thank you for that wonderful experience I am sure to never forget. Being with the animals in the barn and with everything else made it really feel like I lived on a farm.  The best part for me was small animals, because I got a relationship with the baby bunnies and chicks. Say hello to the pugs for me...  You all made a great week for me. I hope to come back next year.  

Sara Gooding


Thank you for a great week at the farm. I had a ton of fun with all of the animals and it was a great experience to work on a farm. It has been my dream since I was little to take care of animals and yours taught me a lot. I hope to come back next year and see Snowtoe and Smog the bunnies, Pearl and Misty the goats, the chickens, Birdie, George, and Gracie the pugs, Babe, Rosie, and Finn the horses/ponies, Zee-zee and Consuela, the ferrets, and all of the other animals.
Thank you so much.  I had a TON of fun.

Emma Gooding.


Summer Camp

Thank you for providing such a great experience for children. Our daughter, Victoria, thoroughly enjoyed the time she spent at the farm. She had much to talk about and described her experiences with much enthusiasm, including the task of rolling the large round bales of hay into place! Of course, the animals were the focus of her conversation. She seems to have gained an increased level of maturity in only the very short time from the time she went to the farm to the present...only two weeks. I think she gained an appreciation for some of the little things in life. She looks forward to having the opportunity to come again next year.
Thank you!

Phil Downey


Summer Camp

I've been coming to the farm since I was nine and the farm is like a second home to me. Every year I miss the farm a lot. I already miss it even though I've been twice this year and was there less than a month ago!
I first came to the farm because I loved animals and had no pets, but now it is not just about the animals. Now I have a dog and I still miss the farm just as much. I even miss the work. I would say I've learned more important things at the farm than I've learned in an entire year at school, or anywhere else. The stuff that I learned in school I will probably not remember the details for long, but what I've learned at the farm is the type of stuff that I hope to use in life. I've grown out of plenty of other things I've done, but I still love the farm.


Rachel Stokes


Summer Camp

We were so glad to see some more farm pictures.  Emily (11) just loved the farm school experience and she will be coming back. In fact she can't wait.   

Thank you,

Susan Steinemann

First of all I wanted to thank you for letting Dylan join the last group due to his illness earlier in the summer. This was his first 'camp' experience spending nights away from home with people he didn't know, so naturally the first thing he said when we picked him up was that he was homesick but that he had a great time, right
Summer Camp
before he started rambling on and on about all that he did. I asked him a little later if he wanted to go back next year. He said yes if he received a letter asking him back.  
Since he's been home, I've never seen Dylan so efficient with completing tasks.  It's like he matured 2 years in a week.
Thanks again for being there for Dylan.

Kamile and Gene Geist


Summer Camp

I can't thank you enough for allowing Cecilia and Carolina to visit the Country School. That week will be something those little girls will remember forever!! Cecilia's favorite activity was the creek walk and Carolina just loved all the animals. Even though there is a small language barrier because they are  still learning English, they certainly felt the love and care that are part of the experience to the farm.  
They absolutely grinned from ear to ear when they told their mom and dad about their time with  you.
Milking the goats was another highlight of the week. Since I don't know how to say "milk" the goats in Spanish, I had to talk around explanation and try to describe with hand motions and some words exactly what it was. They had never done it nor had they even thought they would ever get a chance to experience it. It was an awesome time for those "city" girls.
I know that Cecilia had some tears just  before I dropped the girls off. It made me a little nervous because she  had so been looking forward to going to you. I suppose that you and Penny were able to keep her mind off home because she was so joyous about her experiences.

Carolina is always a little bit more adventurous and thought it would be the best time.  And it was! Thanks again to you for the opportunity to give these two girls something that will last a lifetime. I know that Andrew has always remembered the many things he did with you and your family.  Cecilia and Carolina just had the best time at the farmstead.


Susan Cruse


Summer Camp

Christian had a particularly good week!  I think he benefited a great deal from being with all boys close to his age and being separate from Kieran (who also enjoyed her week without him there). It was so delightful to hear the confidence and pride in his voice as he told of being asked, on separate occasions, to lead large animals and  lead small animals. Being the youngest, his opportunities to display competence in that way are more limited here. And he's been so peaceful, from the moment he walked out to meet us. No tears at the departure. No fussing about the long drive home. The transition home has been very  smooth. I wish we could send him to you on a quarterly basis for a dose of this! We're so grateful for the time our children spend at your farm. As the years go by, and we near the end of their sojourns, I see more and more the profound impact it has had.  It's really part of who they are inside.

Maybe we'll plan for two weeks next year.

Peg  Conway


Summer Camp

We've been away from home since Francesca and Livia returned from your farm and wanted to take this first chance to Thank You both for such a wonderful week for them. They continue to chatter away about "next year at the farm" as they tell of their adventures of this year. Since this is the longest Francesca has been away from her parents, it truly is wonderful that she can claim she did not spend one night missing us. The excitement before attending was high and the expectations even higher, it is a tribute to you and your family that after coming home the girls felt the experience exceeded expectations!  So again, Thank You!

All our very best,

Suzanne and Paul Gazzolo


Summer Camp

It was great to see you thriving after so many  years!

We are back in Rhode Island now, and the kids back into a semi-normal routine. They keep coming up with snippets about their time at your farm - they had an amazing time!  I think they have impressed themselves with what they were able to do, and are very proud of every aspect of the help the were able to give. Thank you for providing them with the same experience that I remember from what must be almost thirty years ago. I hope they remember their experience with you their whole lives, as I have. There was already talk of coming back next year on the car trip  home.

...Take care, and thanks again for your ever-present  nurturing care of all the kids!

Jen Spring




Avery had a great time last week at the farm.  She has told us numerous times about each and every animal and about the chores.   We just knew that for her to spend 5 days surrounded by four-legged, furry and stinky animals would make her summer and create memories that will last for years to come.

Thank you,

Franc Coker


Summer Camp

...thanks so much for an extraordinary week. I knew that Natalie had a wonderful time because she had tears in her eyes as we pulled away on Friday. Thank you for sharing your home with her.  

Our warmest wishes  to you and your family,  

The Whitsetts


Hi, it is Faith Cochran and I just wanted to thank you. It meant a lot to me. It made me feel like I lived on a real farm. All of the animals were nice, all of the people were nice, the food was, and the work paid off, so thank you so much for the best week of my  life!

Summer Camp
Thank you so much for the wonderful week that  Susan had. She cannot stop talking about the incredible experiences ... We can't get over that our daughter (who was never a morning person) was up at  the crack of dawn to help milk the goats! Thank you again for providing these children with such an amazing opportunity -- and memories that they will cherish for a lifetime.

God Bless,

The Lefelhocz Family


Summer Camp
I am completely overwhelmed by the opportunity Emmi (11) was given by spending time with you. In my moments of quiet I am moved to tears in thankfulness that we were able to give this gift to Emmi.  It is truly the gift that will keep on giving.
It is amazing how Emmi was returned to us rid of anxiety and the stresses of modern living.  We immediately recognized that her thoughts were organized and speech  not hurried.  Emmi's conversation centered on knowledge learned, stories told, foods tasted, sounds heard and experiences had.  Not one word  was mentioned of feeling excluded, best friends, secrets, favoritism and all other mindless chatter that often fills a young girls mind in daily living.

Emmi's pride in her time spent at the farm has propelled her confidence. When asked by friends & family about her visit -Emmi's shoulders straighten, chin lifts, smile erupts and THEN she speaks as the memories of a lovely week wash over her.

Thank you Barker's and peace be with  you.

Carrie Sagstetter

Summer Camp

Sorry for taking so long to tell you that Sam (8) DID indeed have the “best week of his life” at The Farm, just as he predicted.  He has been regaling his buddies, including his entire baseball team and the coach, with “Farm Stories!”  With all the summer camps to choose from, we could not have selected a better experience for our Sammy!  His time with you has stuck with him in so many ways . . . yesterday, I noticed he was just sitting on the porch step  gazing at the albino peacock feathers he brought home to me from The Farm (I had put them in a large planter of flowers and vines on our porch).  I whispered to him, “Hello, buddy, where are you?” and he said, "I'm playing with the goats.”   

Naturally, he meant yours.  

Elizabeth  Moore.


Summer Camp

I wanted to write and  say thank you for Logan’s week at camp. I could tell immediately when I picked him up by  the grin on his face that the week was a success.  He had an amazing time and continues to tell about it with every new person we are seeing through the summer. Thanks for sharing the  photos…he is happy to rattle through all the names of the animals and to  recall more stories that hadn’t surfaced yet!  I had many families interested in hearing about his experience, so I will be sure to pass along the wonderful things that he has to say about it. I know when he goes back to school in September it will be the highlight of his summer and he will chatter about it endlessly! 

J Barb Michelini  


Summer Camp

Thank you all for a wonderful week. Lili enjoyed it tremendously and is proud of her different experiences/activities. The first thing she said to me upon pick-up was I want to go again next year. We certainly support her going. Thank you again for your care and opening your farm, house and hearts to our children.

Also reading Understood  Betsy was great, we didn't know the book yet.
Enjoy your summer,

Elischa Zimmerman


Summer Camp

What a joy it was to receive these beautiful photos as in inside view for mom and dad (and brothers) and a sweet reminder to Annalie of the wonderful week she enjoyed once again in Holmes county with the Barkers. Thank you! We arrived home Saturday afternoon and then I left Sunday for San Francisco so it was nice to come home and be taken back to the Ohio countryside.
I know you are in the beginning hours of yet another week of new faces  and personalities and adventures; it's fun to imagine the excitement of discovery that each of the children will be experiencing as we know Annalie  did.
One of my favorite comments from Annalie was about how much she was going to miss the outhouse! She was going on and on about going to the outhouse and being able to see all the nature from the  little window--sitting there so peacefully. It was not a story I expected to hear, which is one of the most magical things about The Country School Farm--surprises abound. Please know that you continue to remain in our thoughts and prayers throughout the summer (and year!) as you open your doors and hearts to children giving them a priceless experience of farm life, peace and the joy of being still with oneself.


Erin Dern


Summer Camp
I wanted to let you know how  much Livia loved her experience at the farm.  She told us she did not get homesick, as you told her to think of the farm as home. When I picked her up (along with her cousin Cseca) I was struck by her mood -- she seemed in no hurry to leave.  It was the kind of mood you would like to bottle.  As soon as they got in the car they began talking  about everything: the animals, their names, the stories they heard at bedtime, the rules, the pattern of the days, the meals, the friends they  made,
Summer Camp
your family, the hayloft, and on and on.  They truly felt they were part of the farm, that their attitudes and actions mattered to the well-being of the farm, the group, etc.
They both proclaimed they would like to come again next  year, for two weeks instead of one.  We shall see.
I am so happy and  grateful for the experience you gave them.
Thank you to all of your family,

Michele Gazzolo


Summer Camp

Jonna once again had a wonderful week and has already begun talking about when she comes next year!  I don't know how you do it..... Thanks so much and thank you for creating an atmosphere of love and respect for 5 days that our daughter speaks about for the rest of the year, you're incredible people.  Maybe in your retirement you can again begin teaching adults. . .
All the best,  

JoAnn Messina  (Mosoff)


Summer Camp
Thank you all so much for letting me share such an amazing week with you. Every time I come to the farm it gets better and better. And I love seeing how things have changed over the years and all the adorable pictures in newsletters. The farm has given me a better appreciation for how "good we got it". Most people don't even think about how much work was put into the tomato in their salad or the milk in their glass.  These little things are so easily forgotten. When I am at the farm I make  food, care for animals, and can get away from modern day distractions. I can be myself and not what other people want me to be. The farm sees everyone for who they are and not who they pretend to be and that is really what makes it  such a special place.  When I think of the farm it makes me think of the word  "timeless". The farm is a timeless place.

Summer Camp

When I am there it is almost like time completely stops or doesn't exist. It has helped me to learn to cherish every second of your life and what is going on around you. Going to the farm truly is one of the most unforgettable and amazing things I have ever done.  You really learn about yourself and  who you are as a person ...
“The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness; and knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is  today's dream.”   -Kahlil Gibran
Can't thank you enough,

Morgan  Amigo  

Attended: '04,  '05, '06, '07

My name is Matt Taylor and I attended your camp multiple times as a child. Today I stumbled across your website and was ecstatic to see that “the farm” still exists and is serving children in the same way that it served me.  While I am now 26, married and starting a family, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the wonderful memories that I still have of my time and experiences at the farm. Your family and the farm were truly instrumental in making me the person that I am today. From life lessons such as hard work, to humility and respect, some of my most important core values that I rely on today were either created or strongly reinforced at your farm.  

Every year since I met my wife I have taken her to Holmes County. On every trip I insist that we drive past the farm where so many important memories were created. Until today, I had always wondered what had happened to that family that had made such important and lasting impact on my life.   

I have so many memories that an email can not possibly begin to describe and/ or replicate them all. Still I thought that I would share some of my fondest:

In an environment where technology is king, time is in short supply, and the fast pace of life constantly allow us to lose sight of those things that are most important and/or valuable to us, I always find myself going back to the farm in my mind when I am extremely stressed. Once there, I am always able to go up to the top of the crest in the pasture and overlooking the country side put everything into perspective.

Thanks for the memories. Take care.

Matt Taylor

...a few more  photos.
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...chicks hatched on the last day of the summer program, August 24, 2007.

Summer Camp

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The Barkers, 3516 Township Road 124, Becks Mills, Ohio 44654 ~

Last Update: 11/26/17
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