A couple weekends ago we made a trek across Pennsylvania to attend the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Herbal Conference. It was inspiring to be in the company of so many like-minded women and I was especially grateful to finally meet one of my favorite herbal mentors, Rosemary Gladstar. I’ve been an online student of hers for some time, but hearing her speak in person really reaffirmed how wonderful it is to call her one of my teachers.
She has an amazing way of synthesizing the big picture on the interrelatedness of herbs, health, happiness, and our connection with nature into an easily accessible and moving message. I hope I can be like her when I grow up!
On our way home, we planned to spend several days in the Western part of Pennsylvania visiting old growth trees in Cook Forest. Serendipitously, as we traveled along the road to our lodge we passed a sign for “Quiet Creek Herb Farm”.
As founders of a fledgling herb farm and learning center, we looked Quiet Creek up and were amazed at the similarity with what they have created and what we are hoping to create on our land. Not only are they growing herbs and crafting herbal products, but they host workshops and teach classes about sustainable living. What a great resource for us to explore! Of course we contacted them and were lucky enough to schedule a visit to the farm.
As we traveled down a winding road and up into their driveway, the view of hoop houses and a quaint farmhouse made us feel quickly at ease. It wasn’t long before Claire came out to greet us, opened her home, and made us feel welcomed and comfortable to discuss our long list of questions.
And I should also add, upon entering their cozy home, we knew we were definitely in the right place when she offered us the restrooms: “Conventional plumbing right over here. The composting toilet is in the basement.”
I chose the composting toilet.
After some casual conversation, Claire described the property and invited us to wander around while she finished making fruit leather. We agreed to meet back up in the barn’s workshop.
One step after another we were enthralled with what we found on the farm…
First, we wandered through pine forests filled with hundreds of mushroom logs.
We followed the mushroom logs up a hill, and after climbing up to the highest point of the farm we stood under Quiet Creek’s windmill and solar panels that overlook the farmlands below. Most of Quiet Creek’s nonprofit is powered with this energy as well as some of the family’s own power.
Making our way back down the hill, we found the beginnings of a sugar bush and a pavilion where classes and demonstrations occur (notice the bat box!).
Fall had started to take hold of the herb gardens, but they were still lovely in their autumnal colors. They were a good reminder that you don’t need an extraordinary amount of space to grow a lot herbs.
Sam was very friendly and answered any questions we had along the way.
Soon, we came to the Earthen structure that was added on to their barn. I just love the artistic touches that can be sculpted into cob.
In the main part of the barn, Quiet Creek sells bulk herbs and teas, salves, and some food. Upstairs, there is plenty of room for processing and drying fresh herbs.
We met Claire upstairs and asked her a litany of questions as she processed some herbs. After picking her brain for quite some time (and learning a great deal about their nonprofit and farm operation), we continued on to the rest of the farm.
Quiet Creek has two season-extending hoop houses that are still producing a variety of vegetables and will continue to produce for several months to come.
Interns and other guests might have the opportunity to stay in the farm’s yurt with beautiful Earthen touches inside.
The floor is insulated with reused bottles.
How could you not want to go to the bathroom on this composting toilet??
Outside the yurt, we took a short walk on a nature trail and finally ended up at a fire circle surrounded by cob benches.
What an amazingly inspirational farm! We gathered many new ideas to bring home and begin implementing on our own farm.
Learn more about Quiet Creek at their website: Quiet Creek Herb Farm. And if you’re ever in the area, it’s well worth a visit! You’ll surely leave feeling inspired.
Learn more about Natural Building at the Natural Building Network.
Shared on: From the Farm Blog Hop
Serendipitous! How wonderful to see a functioning model of what you hope to do.
If this is the yurt you are building for us, I am in!!!
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