What's It like at Davis Creek Farm?
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What's Davis Creek Farm like?
Davis Creek Farm is a family farm nestled in a pristine hollow in the Blue
Ridge Mountains of Nelson County, Virginia. The sixty-acre farm is a mixture of rolling pastures, wooded slopes, lots of creeks, and a pond surrounded by mountains on three sides, one of which is a Nature Conservancy preserve. The farm is about 4 miles off route 29 at the end of a dirt road.
We have spent 18 years creating wildlife habitat and making wildlife a part of the farm landscape. Deer, fox, possom, coyote, racoons, rabbits, wild turkeys, and many species of birds make this hollow their home. The farm is also home to Red Poll and Jersey cows, horses, chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats and sheep plus two old family dogs and two cats.
For fifteen years, Davis Creek Farm sold farm products at local farmer's markets. Much earlier, it was an apple orchard and is where the famous "Ginger Gold" apple variety originated. The original Ginger Gold tree is still on the farm.
The basic rhythm of the day is the same for all the camps while the specific activities vary depending on the age group and what is happening on the farm at the time of each camp. Generally, mornings are spent engaged in farm chores and learning about farm animals and plants, while afternoons focus on farm and nature crafts for younger children and "bushcrafting" for older children and teens. In between we'll break for snacks, lunch and water play.
While the day is filled with fun activities, we make plenty of time for children to stop, explore, and get lost in the moment of discovery in nature. If on the way to a farm chore, children get lost playing in the meadow, delighting in the buttercups or swaying grass or in a game of tag, we stop to let them enjoy the moment. We also take the time to allow children to discover how each type of animal is unique. How do horses play compared to cows, for example? Or how do they eat grass differently? It is in these pauses that children also discover their own creativity.
Camps One and Two, Ages 6-12
Led by Elizabeth Van Deventer and Suzanne Ryan
Your children will spend their morning joyfully romping through dew-laden
pastures, crossing gurgling creeks, and following forest trails as they help prepare farm animals for their day. As we go about our farm chores, your child will help milk Taffy and Mable and care for their calves. They'll collect eggs, feed chickens, ducks and turkeys, care for baby chicks and calves, groom horses and tidy animals' living spaces, plant, till and harvest in the garden, and get to be Bo Peep, watching over the flock of sheep and goats.
They'll learn about life from each animal's perspective and how each type of animal communicates with its herd or flock members and how animals understand us. They'll learn to recognize what is going on out on the farm just by listening to different animal vocalizations and by watching the skies for different birds.
In the heat of the afternoon, we'll retreat to the shade where we'll make all sorts of fun farm and nature crafts. Using wool from our own sheep, children will learn to clean, card, felt and spin wool. They'll collect plants from the farm and make natural dyes for their wool creations and to use as paints. Keeping a journal, children will have the opportunity to draw and paint animals and landscapes. They'll make herbal sachets from wild mint and cedar and much more.
Camps Three and Four, Ages 9 plus
Led by Elizabeth Van Deventer and David Welker
In these camps, older children and teens will be given more responsibility in the morning farm chores. Your teen will learn about farm sustainability on many levels, from learning how plants tell us about soil types to seeing how different types of animals can be herded across the landscape. They'll get to be "Temple Grandin" as they learn to see how animals see their environment. They'll also be involved in our intensive rotational grazing program as they learn to set up new fencing, move water tanks and connect them to our water system. They'll learn to herd cows to fresh pasture each day and why this allows the land to rest and regenerate. They'll learn how to work safely around large animals and how to use body language and mood to communicate movement to cows and horses.
Campers will learn about and help set up gravity-fed water systems that use no power. They'll help build mobile shelters for goats and sheep, learn about small engine mechanics and much more.
In the afternoons, campers will hike up to the woods above the farm to learn about bush craft and nature survival techniques. They'll design and build a camp and composting toilet using only the materials in the local environment. They'll make cordage out of plants, learn to track wild animals, and learn knifecrafting. While in the forest and on the farm, they'll learn about local geology, tree and plant identification, earth history, orienteering and much much moxx-re.
In Camp Three (July 8-12), your child will camp out at the farm for two nights. Monday and Tuesday will be regular day camps (9-4). Wednesday and Thursday, children will camp in tents at the farm, returning home Friday at 4.
In addition to the activities mentioned above, camp three children will sleep in tents, eat meals they helped harvest and prepare from farm foods, as well as making fresh bread; eat by camp fire; wake up to the magical sounds of birds singing in the trees and cows mooing in the pastures. They'll take a night walk under the stars and experience a brief stay-away from home in a fun and nurturing environment. This camp includes 2 dinners, 2 lunches, and four snacks.
To learn more about dates, times, and cost of camps, click here:
To learn more about camp teachers, click here:
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Camps 1,2 and 4: $270
Camp 3: $370