Learning Life Skills at Windy Thistle Farm

Windy Thistle Farm in September 2021

The season is winding down at the farm. We are still open to the end of October, though. This is a special time of the year - harvest! With the harvest comes a desire for comfort for the coming winter. Our last three classes reflect that and the schedule is ready. Our classes are always hands on, you get to be involved in every step of the process. Reservations are necessary to keep class size down to just five students per class.

Getting prepped for canning beef stew.

Most of our classes last four hours and we use every bit of that time. We break around 2pm for a walk around the farm and snacks, then back to learning. It's non-stop activity, learning, asking questions, laughing and getting to know each other - it's as much a social activity as it is a learning opportunity. We've had a great time.

Don't forget to visit the goats, chickens and turkey!

Our classes are small, no more than five students to each one. That gives me the ability to pay attention to each student's questions and make sure they are getting the assistance they need to learn the tasks at hand. If you've never cooked, never made soap, never learned a recipe because you found it to be too intimidating - I'll take the intimidation away and bring these things down to a practical level you can use at your own home.

Getting started on soap with safety first!

Best of all, our students always take home samples of their work. Some folks use them right away, while others just savor the fact that they have a hand canned or hand made goodie on the shelf ready when comfort is the thing and they now know how to make more. Some folks took their shepherd's pies home and tucked them lovingly in the freezer for the first big snow storm, when that hot goodness will really be appreciated. Others, us included, had dinner that night! No one let their hand pies linger at all! That was dinner that night for everyone. Some folks ask where to get goat's milk to make their own soaps!

Jars of Beef Stew cooling after canning.

We provide everything our students need but long sleeved shirts for the soap classes. Our classes are $40. per student. We hold them in our 1850's Log Cabin Kitchen. Windy Thistle is a sheathed cabin and it's a cozy place to do our alchemy. The big joke is that two hundred years ago, I'd be burned at the stake or in some isolated hut in the woods - "Come in, My Dearie! There's nothing to fear here!" And there really is nothing to fear here, so come and learn with us, laugh with us and take home goodies! Sign up and reserve your seat at the table!

Everything you need for Shepherd's Pie can be found at your local grocery.

10/10 CANNING - BEEF STEW - APPLESAUSE We'll can both beef stew using a pressure canner and applesauce, using the hot water bath method. Student's will take home a jar of each to enjoy later. We'll start with demystifying pressure canners and journey through kitchen prep to filling jars to the final canning procedures for both methods. Students will take away the confidence to try this at home with their own recipes.

Joking around and laughing at the Hand Pie class.

10/17 SOAPS FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS - We'll be making Cold Process Lye Soap with goat's milk, olive oil, coconut oil and essential oil fragrances. I'll teach you why we use lye and what happens during this chemical process. We'll add embellishments to give these soaps a holiday flair, sure to be appreciated as gifts. This is the last soap class of the year and the finished and cured soaps will be ready by December 10th. Each student will take home a small loaf of soap for themselves and the knowledge of how to make it for themselves at home. Long sleeves are requires but we'll have all the other safety equipment you will need. No children at this class.

Filling the pans with soap batter safely.

10/24 CANDY - PRALINES AND DIVINITY - They look easy in a recipe book but are tricky to deliver, so I'll teach you how to made these delectable goodies just in time for Halloween. Each student will go home with their own candies and the knowledge of how to make it! It's sure to become a holiday treat for all our students as we take the guess work out of making your own candy!

Getting started with canning.


Come out to the farm for a walk in our spooky evening woods, then gather around our bonfire for s'mores and scary stories. Bring your own dinner to cook over the firepit and byob and lawn chairs. We'll provide the atmosphere! This is a free event, if you aren't having kids coming to your house, come to our house and yes, bring your kids! We're sure to have a good time!

Bonfire & Firepit area - yes, you can bring dinner to cook on that pit for the last bonfire of the year!

We're in Dittmer, MO. We're about an hour south of downtown St. Louis in the Ozark foothills. It's a winding trek through beautiful farmland and woods to get to our little slice of heaven but it's always worth the trip. GPS will get you right to our door. IM me for the address if you're interested in visiting. This Saturday, only, we'll be at the Cedar Hills Farmer's Market so come out and see what we have!

Midsummer at the Fenton Farmer's Market

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