Snipes Farm Retreat: Fall 2012
Though there had been warnings of rain, the day of the annual Snipes Farm adventure dawned happy, bright, and clear. Nine equally happy and bright students (joined later by three more), spanning a range of majors and class years, united by the South Lot, eager to discover or reexplore the wonders of a day on the Farm.
Snipes Farm is owned by Jonathan Snipes, an '82 Haverford alum, who now uses the land for sustainable agriculture and for educational purposes. The Snipes run a CSA off of their produce, experiment with different types of sustainable agriculture, and run programs all year round for people of all ages, but specifically for children. The Snipes are also big supporters of local music; in past years, the Snipes Farm retreat has been serenaded by the sounds of twinkling folk and rock.
This year saw the farmhouse in the midst of some repairs, but not at all dimmed in spirit. Upon our arrival, we settled into some rousing games of human knot and big wind blows, discovering not only our flexibility, but also our experiences with pears, seasons, and hiking. Perhaps due in part to all of the discussions of pears and flexibility, the following lunch was marvelous—a variety of wraps were rounded out by multitudes of fresh produce.
After we had our fill, Carl Sigmond led us on a tour of the property. Highlights included Cluckingham Palace, the chicken's abode; the magical spotted horses who came to say hello; and the sweat lodge, hidden in the woods. We weren't the only ones ensconced—we were the bane of the haybale riders, who pack the farm during the fall for its incredible beauty and programming.
We hurried back in time for a workshop with Walter in the farmhouse. Using the metaphor of a tree for personal development, we shared about places that have grounded us, and then broke off to think more deeply on our own.
Walter provided us with a large illustration of a beautiful tree to color, which provoked not only thoughtful discussion, but nostalgic creativity. Our sharing afterwards was all the more fascinating for seeing what people had done with a large chunk of time spent with felt-tip pens.
Jonathan Snipes appeared suddenly with our service portion of the trip, directing us past Cluckingham Palace and the magical horses to the swiss chard beds, which were in need of weeding. We spent the early evening tidying up the beds, watching the sun set while gabbing and meeting up with praying mantises. We left feeling quite proud of ourselves, finished with almost two entire beds, and with ample dirt on our knees and under our fingernails.
Dinner was a grand affair, preceded by a peacock procession and cat social on the farmhouse porch. Crowded around boxes of delicious hot pizza, we chatted about politics before departing for the corn maize. Finally, exhausted and surprised by the dark, we were shepherded off to the Snipes' campfire; a brilliant, spiritually warm, reflective, active, thoughtful, light-filled day was ended with two graham crackers, a perfectly toasted (or not) marshmallow, and some fair-trade chocolate. Strains of Rise Up Singing carried us all the way back to our beds at Haverford, dreaming.