Sharing farm life with children for two generations.

Photos & Notes from Privious Summers


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Photo Highlights and Love Letters

From Summer 2009

Thank you for the photos. Olivia is spending the week with her Toledo grandparents, so will not see the photos until this weekend. Given that she talked non-stop the four hours from the Farm to Toledo last Friday about the Farm and the very subjects of the photos, we know she will be delighted. Thank you for giving Olivia an amazing experience last week and for taking good care of her. She allowed she was a little homesick at bedtime, but her new friends (animal and human) and farm activities helped to assuage the homesickness. Warmest regards, Tim & Cindy H. 8-24-09

I ran across a Country School brochure at Ruffing Montessori School (Rocky River, Ohio) this morning and couldn't believe my eyes!  Having attended TCS myself several years in a row back in the late 70's/early 80's, I was thrilled to see that you are still offering this wonderful experience to children!  I have always remembered my weeks at TCS as some of the most wonderful of my childhood -- so, I hope you will accept this very belated thank you for the effect you had on my young life!  Richard and Penny, you were the first adults to invite me to call you by your first names and I'll never forget how you treated all of us children as if we were valuable individuals - not "just kids." 
My younger sister and I frequently remember our experiences at TCS with such fondness: caring for animals, baking bread from scratch, being free to explore the farm, and simply being empowered to trust our own abilities….thank you for exposing me, by example, to the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori... I have no doubt that my experience on your farm contributed to my husband's and my decision to provide a Montessori education for our daughters.  Perhaps when my girls are old enough to attend TCS we will meet again; it would certainly be my privilege!--Christine L. 5-20-09


How nice to find you in The Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday! Many years ago, about 35, our  daughter, Janet Jaenke,  came to your farm and had such a wonderful time, loved the lifestyle,  all the animals, the people and the experience of caring for the gardens and animals. (She was so interested that we moved to the country, near Mansfield when she was in high school. )  She says she was one of the girls who carried around Jonah and Dan. Janet was a friend of Maggie's, especially. You all had a great influence on her life. She always says a prayer for any poor little road kill she sees even now. … she became a vegetarian at The Country School Farm! This summer we both have a big vegetable garden together so the children can help care for their food. I do think your school experiences led her to the happiness she has now as a wonderful young mother and caring steward of the earth and its inhabitants... So thank you ... and how pleased I am to know you are still teaching children to care for the animals and earth! Sustainable farming is a wonderful way to live. Janet and I think we'll bring the girls for a visit some day this summer. I can't wait for her to come over to see your website.--Marsha J. 6-09

I had a great time this week, it was so much fun.  I can't believe I left only six hours ago, it feels like I should be in the spinning room waiting for Rashall to come and turn on the fans.  I feel like I missed something super important, because I didn't hear your story or have the hot chocolate.  I'm going to wake up super early getting ready to milk the goats when I realize that I'm not at the farm.  It was so hard on the way back, because I had two snickerdoodles and then my stomach hurt; and because I felt like it was time to do projects, and I needed to do the chores (I would have chosen large animals).  Tell Penny and Maggie and Ben that I say good bye (I missed them at dismissal).  Thank everyone (including you) for the best week of my entire summer. It was everything I remembered, plus more.  All year long my expectations grow and grow, waiting to arrive at the farm.  And, every year I realize that my standards aren't high enough, because the week is always so perfect.  There is no other place like it, and that is for sure.  Oh!  And remember to switch Hazie's collar, it's supposed to be red.  Thanks again for creating a heaven on earth and the greatest experience of my life.  Love, Onnie M. 6-12-09

Well, our friend Allison Wielobob was right - the Country School Farm camp was perfect for our daughter Camille Salyers.  Camille so enjoyed the authenticity of farm life -- everyone helping out, no one bringing gadgets from home, and the freedom you all give them in enjoying the animals and land.  She's just not a "group activity 1, activity 2"  kind of person so this was ideal and fit her passion for the outdoors and animals. We will think of this special place everytime we bite into our orange daylilies in the yard (thanks to the farm knowledge Camille brought home).   Thank you for providing such a beautiful place for kids - both Camille and her younger sister hope to see you next summer! -- Katy R. & Tom S. 6-09


Thank you, thank you, thank you for finding Megan's hat and sending it to her! It arrived today and she was thrilled! She put it straight on and wore it for the rest of the day. Megan and Ella had such a wonderful week on the farm and we just feel blessed to be able to give this experience to our children. Today was our first day back at home since leaving the farm and tomorrow morning we are on a mission to go to Whole Foods to buy goat milk because the milk here just doesn't cut it any more! "Mom, can we go buy some goat milk?" is a statement I never thought I would hear! We are also going to experiment with trying to replicate Penny's honey oats for breakfast.
Have a wonderful year and we look forward to seeing you next summer!
Penny O.  Chicago 6-22-09

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Just a quick note to thank all of you for such an exquisite experience. She looked so healthy and was so ebullient about her stay at the Farm.  I heard countless stories of their work, the food, the animals, goat’s milk, etc.
She is on pins-and-needles, hoping that she will be invited back next year. We will sign up in September for next summer.  Maybe she can do two weeks with she and I having the weekend in between to do some canoeing for hiking in the area. Anyways, I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude for the experience that Leilani had, and for the obvious joy that pervaded her life for those 5 days. She woke up every day thereafter, telling me that she had been dreaming about the Farm. Robert F. 6-23-09

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Thank you for the priceless experience that our son, Jonathan Pressman, had in your care last week. We hoped and believed that he would have a wonderful time and come home full of good stories and memories, and he certainly has... his favorite moment apparently being chasing down freshly picked berries with a squirt of goat's milk straight from the source! He's shared "Richard's stories" and all the critters' names with us, but he holds a particular place in his heart for Domino, the orphan lamb, and the chicken, Brownjacket. Thank you for your commitment to the wonderful work that you do. Please let Cindy (Christine Chapman-Sung's mother) and me know when you decide to have a week for the adults, so we can come and card wool all day, overlooking your beautiful slice of earth. Be well, enjoy the rest of the summer, and may the parents be easy and the children delightful. Stacia D. 6-29-09


Once again, THANK YOU!  Victoria had a wonderful time again this year and was non-stop chatting on the way home about rolling broken hay bales, baby goats, chickens, delicious food and great company.  You truly have a gift for bringing out the best in children.  Have a wonderful summer! Debbie B. 7-5-09


Dear Barker Family,
Thank you for the wonderful experience you gave to our daughter Alice. She loved every minute of it. I am enjoying the stories about the animals and the farm. So far everyday brings new ones. We made "honey oats" for breakfast and there have been requests to get a goat. Thanks so much for the pictures, too.  Gratefully, Alison Cromwell, Scott Sickler and Alice S. 8-24-09

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I just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you! Our daughter Giuliana attended your June 15 session and had the most wonderful time. At 6 yrs old and her first time away, we were all a little nervous about how she would adjust but you all made her feel so wonderfully comfortable that she came home with a smile from ear to ear (along with a little crush on Jonah!). She has been home for 3 wks and the stories have not stopped. She smells her "dirtiest" camp shirt that is sealed in a Ziploc bag every night before bed to remind her of her time at The Country School Farm and sleeps with her peacock feathers over her bed. Your camp was exactly what we were looking for and we are so grateful that we started her so young so she has so many more years to enjoy it. She has already said that she wants to go for two sessions next year. Thanks again for bringing just wonderful opportunities to our daughter. Have a fantastic rest of your summer and we look forward to seeing you all next year!!  Jen S. 7-8-09

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The entire Behm family wants to say thank-you to all of you at the Farm for creating such a wonderful experience over the last 5 days.  The recounting of events, stories and memories will go on for days, months and years I'm sure. Lily, Will and Ray had an amazing time!...As a parent, having children is all about nurturing, teaching and... letting go, is it not?  Thank-you for being a positive force in my children's lives. Jenny B. 7-10-09


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Well, we had quite the first hour of our ride home. David (6) and Noelle (9) argued over who was going to tell stories that they both shared in ... We listened to them tell us about rabbits and ferrets and the creek walk. I was not sure that David was going to enjoy himself and I am so pleased that he enjoyed his stay to the point of actually wanting to come back next week! He sure enjoyed his time, he is starting to open up and tell me more today. Yesterday I think it was too fresh and there was so much to tell he didn't know where to begin. Thanks so much for offering your home, farm and love and care of David, Noelle and the other children. David feels like family and that speaks more loudly that a week worth of stories!  Christine A. 7-12-09

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I just wanted you to know what a wonderful week Hannah had at the farm this last week! She couldn't say enough things about how much fun she had. It was her first overnight camp and the first camp she ever said that she wanted to return to next year. She is hopeful that she will be asked to return. Hannah would also like me to get the recipe for the breakfast cereal and the cocoa - if available. Thanks so much for giving Hannah such a great experience! Donna C. 7-19-09

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Wow! The girls loved the barkers farm and family ! Thank you so much for being so patient with me as I emailed you so many questions along the way.  You were so great to me and my many concerns.  And now I am happy to say that I did not need to worry about a thing. Our girls have really grown in their one week that they spent with you. They are happy, free and eager to share their farm life experience with us! They have asked us several times, "Can we go back to the farm next summer?" You are special people and your home is a special place!  Thank you for sharing. Also, thank you for sending the pictures. We all enjoyed them!  Julie B. and family 7-26-09

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Thank you again for doing what you do, and doing it so well.  I am still deeply touched by the experiences I had at the farm (1980s), and feel unbelievably lucky to be able to send my kids to experience the same! --Jennifer (Goss) S.  7-27-09

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Thank you so much for a fabulous week for my daughters...they have not stopped telling me stories yet!!!
Sarah Wood-Prince 8-1-09

This is Megan Murphy again. I am very farmsick, so I thought I'd email you. I went on your website and looked at the pictures, and it made me feel better. I really miss the farm. It is my heaven. It is magical.  It is where I belong. Thank you for inviting me back next year. I cannot picture the summer without visiting. When people ask me what I want to do this summer, I always say, go to the farm. It is my true home. Thank you for giving it to me.  Love, Megan 10-03-09


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Maya can't stop talking about her amazing week with you. She loved it!  Alexis Abramson 8-8-09

Marguerite and Estelle had such a wonderful time on the farm this 
week.  They've been regaling us with stories since they got home -- we 
heard a lot about William, the new calf, and tales they heard 
from Richard and Penny.  Thank you for taking such good care of them!
Greg S.  8-22-09


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Thanks again for inviting children into your home to experience farm life.  All the girls came away with experiences that they will long talk about.  Upon pick-up, Emeline's first words were "I don't want to leave" - a real testament to the joy she experiences on the farm. The girls enjoyed not only interacting with the animals and other children, but with all the members of your family.  I know when I drop them off at the farm that they are in a loving and safe environment and I have no worries.  It is truly the prepared environment. Warmly, Maria A. (Emeline, Julia and Sophie)  8-10-09



Hello! Thanks for the pictures! Michael wanted to ask you while he was there, but he forgot-- Please get a
hummingbird feeder.  He loves to watch them. He had a GREAT time! The Mozdzens 8-16-09

All of Rachel's years at the Farm have made a big impression on her. She's now looking at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, which requires all students to work 15 hours a week on some kind of team that keeps the college operating (dining hall, landscaping, office work, etc.), and she said that she realized how important it is for people to work together to feel like part of the whole and to create deep relationships. Even though she was only there for 5 days at a time, she got a good sense of how this happens at The Country School.  --Karen B.  4-20-09

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

Last Update: 11/26/17
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