Blog for Thursday May 19th 2011
Dear Friends and Farm Family,
What a rainy week this has been at Touchstone Farm. The gently falling rain, misty meadows with the horses and ponies happily munching on the lush green grass all remind me of the English country side. It is no small wonder we got our name of New England. As the vegetable and flower gardens start to grow in readiness for gracious our summer time tables, it makes my heart soar with pleasure.
Both Pony Farm, our summer specialty riding camp, and Barn Yard Buddies, our Farm Day Camp. are both right around the corner. We cannot wait until our campers start rolling in the driveway. As much as we love the foliage and festivals in the fall, and the snow and sleigh rides in the winter, and the blossoms and beauty of the spring, summertime wins out for the favorite season on the farm. Having the baby chicks peeping, the sheep being shorn, the ponies shedding and getting their spring schooling over jumps, the fences being painted, and the pool opening, everywhere I look exciting things are happening in preparation for the happiest time of our year, summer camp! It is truly hard to believe that it is the 40th summer I have looked forward to this. I guess I am truly a pony lover, a farmer and a camper at heart!
We had a taste of the fun of kids and families being here last weekend with our Spring Fling Family Weekend. Several terrific families joined us to enjoy the farm and its multitude of activities, not the least of was a bonfire, riding lessons, carriage and miniature horse driving, jumping and trail riding down the lovely dirt roads. Sprinkled in with good food, story telling, planting seed trays, and playing with all the farm animals, a high time was had by all. It was a special treat this year as we had several kids who were soon to be first time campers. Helping them feel comfortable at the farm was a great antidote to ever getting homesick when they actually stayed at camp without Mom and Dad. Judging from their gung ho spirits, we will have a super summer with them!
We hope it tempts you to join us for future seasonal specialty weekends like our Fall Foliage Family Weekend, our Mother or Father and Daughter Weekends, or our new Winter Wonderland Festival in January, which our team is busily planning already! If you are looking for a fun get away, filled with simple delights and delectable food, then we are a one stop destination for you and your family or friends. Keep checking our website calendar for dates and plan to join us often!
Yet another exciting set of dates that might be of interest to our horse community is that, under the capable direction of Barbara Cochrane, our Horse Show Devotee, will be Saturday July 2nd and 23rd when we will host two big horse shows. This year, the July 2nd show will be once again affiliated with the Monadnock Horse Show Series. Both shows will be on the big open field below the barns. We will feature two Outside Courses with welcoming classes for even the newest competitor. With knowledgeable judges, dust free footing, ample parking, inviting jumps an EMT, food concession stand, and an experienced show crew, these shows should offer a great day of friendly competition. We welcome you and your family or students to join us. Special support will be given to trainers who bring several horses!
In addition to the traditional Leadline up through Special Hunter Divisions, with everything in between, we will be offering three Hunter Derby Classes at both shows. We are in the process of preparing a fun course of jumps which follow a path out through our back fields. Featuring jumps more like those found on a Hunter Pace, or on a Cross Country Course or in the Hunt Field, these natural jumps will be taken at a hand gallop. This will be a great warm up for he Hunter Derby classes which will be held at the NH Hunter and Jumper Summer Festival. Come practice with us so you might be able to win the big money purses being offered by several barns during the festival week following our July 2nd show.
The other big event at the farm that we hope you might plan to attend is our Pony Farm 40th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday July 16th. This is the second celebration we will be hosting this year to mark the anniversary of Pony Farm and the launch of Touchstone Farm. We are planning big happenings and hope that everyone from our nearest neighbor to our longest camp alumnae or lesson student, or former board member or local vendor will join us for a wonderful afternoon and evening. We will feature carriage rides and farm tours, riding and driving demos, delicious chicken barbeque and deep pit cooking featuring vegetables, lamb, beef and pork, a raffle, special presentations and speeches. Topping off the festivities will be music from the entire Temple Town Band. This assembly of fine musicians represent the longest running town band in America. Having played at numerous presidential inaugurations as far away as Washington, DC, this band will surely liven up the evening and get our patriotic juices flowing for sure! What a celebration it will be. Plan now to join us!!!! Many more details will soon be on this website for your planning purposes.
Finally, if you are coming anytime soon to visit the farm, be sure to check out our new Welcome Center. We are redoing one of the buildings right in the middle of the farm to serve as our Hospitality and Business Office. Our two newest staff members, Sue Vaillancourt, our “Ambassador of First Impressions”, and Many Grenier, our Marketing Mentor, will join Deb Keating, our awesome Business Manager, and Trish Twining, our superior Director of Operations, as they come and go from this new “Command Central”. With help from several generous donors and family foundations, our new computers, scanners, and copy machines are all eager to get out of the dusty barn and into a cool, welcoming, dust free space. Complete with new paint, window boxes, handicapped entrance ramp, and flooring, this Welcome Center is the place to come for first time visitors or longtime friends. Come and ‘sit a spell’ while you wait for your summer lesson or to pick up a brochure for birthday parties. This is the place to come to find out all the fun and exciting things happening today and tomorrow at Touchstone. Don’t be a stranger. As the logo shows, the farm gates are always open!