The Farm Wife Mystery School

baking day

Sometimes ideas are too good to let them die. Two years ago when I dreamed up the urban farm challenge it was a way to ease people into what might seem an overwhelming task: to completely change the way they approach feeding themselves and their loved ones. It was a great idea but the schedule of coming up with prizes and hosts and challenges while trying to start up my own farm nearly killed me. My own farm is clipping along still but I miss sharing that knowledge with people and I really enjoy physical interaction. Last winter I taught a few cheese classes out of my home and I loved every minute of it.

making cheese

So this year I am partnering with one of my best friends, Patti Pitcher, to offer a nine month course covering much of the same material as the urban farm challenge in an intimate setting, in person and in more depth. We are both incredibly excited about the class, and both bring different skillsets and experiences to teaching it. The classes run from October to June, the second Sunday of each month and I will also be offering classes on the Saturday before separate from this program. These Saturday classes will complement the year-long course, although a few of the cheese classes may duplicate material. I’ll be offering a Saturday stay at my house for one or two people interested each month so you can really get the hands-on and individual attention you may need, or look at it like a mini vacation on a farm with an old friend. Check it out!

churningbutter

THE FARM WIFE MYSTERY SCHOOL

Put yourself on the path to independent, conscious living by reclaiming the lost skills and healing arts of the traditional farm wife. In the old days, the farm wife knew how to grow, preserve, cook, nourish and heal her family. She could take a small leaf from the garden and turn it into a healing salve, or preserve it for a winter’s meal. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one fun series of classes that could teach you all this and more?

It’s the perfect sunny day just begging for a family outing with friends. You grab your picnic basket and load it up with odds and ends from your personal pantry: bits of cheeses, some membrillo, subtly spiced sausage, canned fish, pickled asparagus, crusty bread, dried fruits and kombucha. Your friends pull out their standard grocery store fare and marvel at your lovely spread, every bit of which you made yourself in season from your local foodshed. ”How did you find the time or even know how to do all this, and how can you afford it?” they ask, enviously. You smile humbly. ”Oh, I have some farm wife friends who made it easy,” you answer, keeping the mystery alive.

If this sounds like a scenario you can imagine yourself in then Nelly, are you in luck. Patti and Annette, farm wife extraordinaires, are offering for the first time ever a year-long course designed to put you on the path to farm wife independence and style.

prepare

The Farm Wife Mystery School is the premier 21st century guide to practical home arts that will help you reclaim that old time wisdom of traditional homemaking.

How many times have you wished for the knowledge and courage to plant, grow and use forgotten herbs like horehound, feverfew, valerian, and chamomile? How to clean your home with pantry items instead of caustic agents, estrogen disruptors and carcinogens? How to eat like a king while spending like a peasant?

Gain the know-how to fearlessly:

  • can, cellar, and dehydrate
  • ferment vegetables, dairy and kombucha
  • cure meat
  • make cheese, yogurt, kefir, and other cultured dairy delights
  • grind, soak and bake grains
  • turn those mystery parts the butcher offered you into free yet deeply nourishing meals
  • make tinctures, salves and compresses to create your own home apothecary
  • forage for food and medicinals
  • plan and plant a kitchen garden along with basic seed saving skills
  • master simple home nursing skills
  • develop your own line of homemade body care products
  • employ natural, effective cleaning techniques and products
  • bring back frugal like it’s 1938

This class will fill in gaps and provide the hands-on knowledge you just can’t find online. Farm wives Patti and Annette will invite you into their kitchens and guide you through the material like only old friends and farm wives can do.

It’s January and your wee ones have coughs, ear aches and sore throats Do you know how to turn plants from your medicinal and tea garden (along with a few simple pantry staples) into herbal healing solutions? Patti and Annette will share that old fashioned know-how.

It’s March and the days are getting longer. Do you know which seeds to start when, and how to ready your garden? Patti and Annette do.

It’s June and the flowers and herbs in your garden are blooming and lush. Do you know what time of day is best to pick them so they will be at peak healing powers? The first fruits of summer are coming in – do you know when to look for things so that you don’t miss out? Annette’s calendar of when things ripen will come in handy.

It’s September and summer’s sweet produce is fleeting. How do you know if you have enough of everything to last all year? How can you possibly juggle all those pots, boxes, baskets and canning jars? Can you even find your kitchen counter?

friends canning

Learn to plan, prioritize, and tackle the most important things your family needs, Patti’s secret to slowly reducing fruits into delectable butters without a stove burner, and non-canning methods of preserving produce. Gain the courage and organization you need to plow through September without melting into a puddle of tomato sauce. Patti and Annette know how, and you can too.

One Course to Gain the Skills You Need!

The Farm Wife Mystery School is a comprehensive course packed chock-full of skills sure to amaze your friends and family and improve the quality of your diet and life. Patti and Annette will help you build that all-important farm wife support network of friends who also crave a life out of the norm. As part of each class, there will be time to share collective experiences (both frustrations and joys) as you integrate these skills into your family life, along with a good dose of practice so it soon feels old-hat.

farm wife pie

Patti and Annette will pack each monthly lesson chock-full of skill building while helping you explore how to bring the natural expression of the Earth’s seasons into your home in simple, yet beautiful ways. They will show you how to add healthy self-care to the hectic pace of your modern family, and how all this knowledge works together to reduce your financial burden and footprint on the planet.

You will leave each class with serious skills and goodies to share with your family or friends. It might be a jar of berry jam to top homemade ice cream, sauerkraut for your home corned beef Reubens, kefir to boost your energy, herbal tea mix for sore throats, soothing bath salts that detox, or some other new favorite thing.

The mystery will be how you ever managed to live without this class.

The Details

When: The Farm Wife Mystery School is a hands-on, participatory class that meets the second Sunday of the month from October 2013 to June 2014, from 10 am to 4 pm

Where: Class location will rotate between Patti and Annette’s two farms in Snoqualmie and Carnation

Cost: $1200 plus a $300 supply fee that will cover all ingredients for the year

Questions??? Contact Patti Pitcher at (425) 831-5360 or email pattipitch@gmail.com

Who? Adult and mature teen aspiring farm wives of all genders

To Register: Send a $300 deposit to made out to Patti Pitcher 39819 SE 60th St Snoqualmie, WA 98065

Who are Patti and Annette? Instructors Patti and Annette are friends who have spent years unraveling the mysteries of traditional homemaking in a modern world. They both live on small farms of their own with larders full of things they have grown and preserved.

Patti Pitcher is the mother of four now grown children (ages 32-18). Since she was a teenager, she’s been actively studying and practicing traditional home arts and herbalism. She lives on a small farm in Snoqualmie where she grows, preserves and cooks as much of her family’s food as she can. On her farm there are orchards, berries, herbs, vegetable gardens, bees, cows, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks and sometimes lambs. Her house is filled with various pots brewing and projects needing finishing. Always interested in trying something new, she loves learning, experimenting and concocting with plants and food and she loves sharing what she knows. She teaches practical home arts classes with Sound Circle Center in Seattle. In addition, she co-authored Under The Chinaberry Tree: Books and Inspirations for Mindful Parenting, Random House 2003.

Annette Cottrell is the mother of two active and curious boys (ages 7 and 10) who pine for sugared cereal and candy. She lives on a small and heavily wooded permaculture farm in progress just outside of Carnation with hugel orchards, silvo-pastures, a large and increasingly perennial vegetable garden, medicinal and tea garden, bees, turkeys, dairy goats, chickens, and rabbits. She breeds Black Copper and Cuckoo Marans (fine French table and dark egg laying chickens,) and Mini Nubian dairy goats that provide high yielding, flavorful cheeses and tasty fluid milk. Annette teaches various farm life classes through the WSU Winter School program, around the Seattle area, and out of her own farm kitchen. She masterminded and co-authored The Urban Farm Handbook: City-Slicker Resources for Growing, Raising, Sourcing, Trading and Preparing What You Eat, Skipstone 2011.

One Response to The Farm Wife Mystery School

  1. Wow Annette,
    That sounds amazing! Wish you weren’t so far away :)

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