Cows, chickens and sheep, oh my! I love going to a farm. Honestly, I’m a city girl at heart, but there’s something special about a visit to a farm. Maybe it’s because we have become so addicted to technology that going to a farm forces you to power off and get back to nature. Maybe it’s because you can pet animals or maybe it’s because the treats that some farms sell are made from farm grown food and taste so good. Who cares? I love going to a farm and, hopefully, you will too.
If you didn’t know, there’s a farm right here in our own backyard where you can get back to nature and see some cows and sheep and chickens and, well….I won’t give the farm away. LOL When I first moved up here, Stony Kill Foundation was open and then it closed for awhile and I remember how disappointed my kids and I were, especially my animal-loving oldest daughter. When the farm opened back up again, YAY!
Stony Kill Foundation is on Route 9D in Wappingers Falls and on January 2 will be hosting their Holiday Open Barn from 6 to 8 p.m. Go to the farm and take tours of the animals in the barn, listen to music, enjoy some refreshments and let the kids make some crafts. It’s a ton of fun, no matter how old you are.
I learned so much on a recent visit there where I got to talk to Donna Houghtalin, Stony Kill’s program director. I learned about Common Ground Farm in Beacon, who uses part of Stony Kill’s property to grow food. According to their website, they are a “nonprofit farm project that grows food for education and food justice programs. We train future farmers and we serve as caretakers of the land.” You can find out more information about them on their website:
I also learned about Stony Kill’s Operation Explorer that brings inner city kids to the farm for the day and they learn about farm animals, history of farming, watershed and pollution prevention and so much more. They are offering these same programs to our local schools who will hopefully take advantage of them because the learning potential here is enormous.
Stony Kill also rents out garden plots if you want to grow your own veggies and do not have the space to do it at home. It’s a very affordable $35 per season. There is also a garden bed for the disabled and the elderly that is raised so they can easily get their hands into the soil.
I missed it this year, but Stony Kill also hosts an extremely popular Butterfly Festival in August! I’m definitely going to be at this in 2016. Here is where you can step into a butterfly tent and learn all about them and how they are affected by pesticides.
If your kids love being on a farm and digging in dirt and being around animals, you might want to check out Stony Kill’s summer programs (I know, we just had our first snowfall and we’re talking about summer, but these programs are popular and it’s best to decide early!). They have a summer explorer’s camp and a nature theater’s camp, so check out the website for what they will have in 2016.
They also have a lot of programs throughout the year too for all ages. This year they had a family hike and tree ID program that was for kids and adults. Stony Kill also hosted Bill Robinson’s World of Animals, where he presented the free program Birds of Prey and Reptiles.
The tentative 2016 calendar includes these programs and so much more!
If you love going to a farm to take long walks, you can also go onto the trails where, in the winter, you can even rent snowshoes.
The day I went to the farm it was a beautiful, and unseasonably warm, winter day. The sections of farm for the food were done for the season, but it was just wonderful to see what the farm offered and picture it all filled with a fresh bounty next year. Of course I spent time taking photos of the cows and walking around on the property and it was so serene.
If you love the sound of all of this, you can volunteer!!!
Please do not miss the January Open House at Stony Kill Farm. It’s a great place to be.