Pictures are from Kingsfold Jacobs and used with permission

Innisfree Farms

Innisfree Farms

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

 

 

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We all have a unique set of ideals that we associate with “home.” For me, most of those ideals are nature-oriented and share common themes. I have three main farms that have run their threads through the “homeward” weaving  of my heart. One is the farm I grew up on. One is the farm my husband grew up on. And one is the farm we currently live on with our five amazing kids. All three farms will be referred to collectively as “Innisfree Farms” and they are all involved in various aspects of my fiber production.

I was blessed beyond measure to grow up on one of the world’s most gorgeous farms. Nestled in the hills of Gilmore, it was also Cy Young’s childhood farm! The story goes that he learned to throw a baseball by practicing aiming at the knot holes in the barn siding. The barn is a truly incredible place, with its enormous hand-hewn beams that the barn swallows call home every summer. The original house still stands and is still used, though it’s had a few modifications and additions over the past 150+ years. There are two gorgeous ponds on the farm, which hold some of my most cherished childhood memories. I’ve always been water-oriented. My has farmed on her own there for 20+ years. She currently has Low-Line Aberdeen Angus cattle and Tunis sheep, along with a Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog, a couple horses, numerous farm cats and a flock of chickens. Primarily used for growing grass for livestock feed, regenerative / all-natural agricultural practices have been used there for decades.

My husband’s parents and my parents were close farming friends and neighbors, so some of my earliest memories are actually of my future in-laws and the farm my husband now owns. Though the original house is no longer there, my in-laws built an amazing new home, which is primarily made from timber and stone sourced from the farm. We have leased the hay field to lovely neighbors and this hay is what feeds our sheep through the winter. We hope to reside on this farm in the not-too-distant future.

The smallest farm – Brigadoon Homestead – is our current home, where everything is in miniature.  It boasts a tiny but lovely log cabin, a small frog pond I installed myself, several orchard areas, lots of garden space, and of course sheep pastures. For me, and probably for a lot of you, “home” is where my loved ones are. The most important thing in our lives is healthy relationships. All the material things fade and pass (even wool), but how we treat each other is always remembered. If we are able to form those lasting healthy relationships in a gorgeous place, it is indeed a marvelous gift.

Isle of Innisfree
words & music by Dick Farrelly

I've met some folks who say that I'm a dreamer
And I've no doubt there's truth in what they say
But sure a body's bound to be a dreamer
When all the things he loves are far away.
And precious things are dreams onto an exile
They take him o'er the land across the sea
Especially when it happens he's an exile
From that dear lovely Isle of Innisfree.

And when the moonlight peeps across the rooftops
Of this great city wondrous tho' it be
I scarcely feel its wonder or its laughter
I'm once again back home in Innisfree.

I wander o'er green hills thro' dreamy valleys
And find a peace no other land could know
I hear the birds make music fit for angels
And watch the rivers laughing as they flow.
And then into a humble shack I wander
My dear old home, and tenderly behold
The folks I love around the turf fire gathered
On bended knees their rosary is told.

But dreams don't last
Tho' dreams are not forgotten
And soon I'm back to stern reality
But tho' they paved the footways here with gold dust
I still would choose the Isle of Innisfree.