Thursday, June 21, 2018

Small Town Library

My gypsy life style offers me endless opportunities for lovely inspirations. But sometimes, I dont have to go far for a change of scenery. The breezy porch at Schoharie Free Library is a fine spot on a summer afternoon with a book.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Back to the Future - A 21st Century Working Landscape

Diane and Larry at La Basse Cour  are focused on advancing the practice of regenerative agriculture and the relocalization of our economy.  They envision their farm, store, and B&B as fully integrated components of a healthy, working landscape. To that end, they are building partnerships with others who are like-minded. When the store re-opens this Spring, it will offer goods sourced from other sustainable natural-resource based businesses in addition to the vegetables,  eggs, and yarn produced from La Basse Cour's own garden and animals.

This vision of a vibrant local economy that operates in balance with nature is both "old-fastioned / traditonal" and "modern / science-based". The desired result is sustainable agricultural on a human scale, which allows the beauty of the landscape to be conserved while keeping more local money circulating within the community.  
The farm store will be much more than a place to shop. Situated in the spacious carriage house, it will serve as a gathering spot -- a place to share information, to learn from and encourage one another.
The community textile studio is stocked with several looms and spinning wheels, all just waiting to be put to good use -- and of course it only takes a few minutes to brew a friendly cup of tea!

                                                                                                                            Contact Diane Frances at 607-538-9707 or labassecour@hughes.net to learn more about what is planned, and to find out how you can get involved.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Field to Fiber Arts

An increasing number of small farming operations in upstate New York, including  La Basse Courare raising their fiber animals using regenerative agricultural practices. 
"Using regenerative agricultural practices" means nurturing the soil as well as the animals. Committing to this brand of stewardship results in a deeper connection to the land and requires the farmer to think globally while acting locally. The goal is to live and work in balance with nature, conserving resources while strengthening community relationships. 

Last summer, for the first time, La Basse Cour sent some of its Romney fleeces to Battenkill Fibers to be spun into yarn. The results are every bit as beautiful as the animals standing in the field. 

The yarn quality is directly attributable to the care and feeding given the sheep, which is directly attributable to the care and feeding given the soil. 

Working with this yarn connects the knitter or weaver directly to the sheep and the farmland, and directly to Diane and Larry,  who nurture them both.

2018 promises to be an extra-exciting year at La Basse Cour, including the opening of a new farm store and the creation of a community textile studio. 

                            Beginning late May, the farm store will carry a wide variety of local foods and products,

including its own yarn in 3 colors, put up in 100 gram skeins.

The textile studio will serve as a venue for workshops and afford local fiber enthusiasts to work on their own projects in community with others. Collaboration is bound to ensue! 

Contact Diane Frances at 607.538.9707 or labassecour@huges.net for more information and to schedule a visit to the farm. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Visit to a Neighbor's Farm (or Winter Turns to Spring!)

Diane Frances lost her heart to this sweet farm in 1996 while on a scouting mission to find a second home close to her parents, thinking she might one day want to retire up to the country. Not only was she inspired by the shape and breadth of the land itself, but all the original outbuildings were intact: dairy barn, carriage house, forge, sap house, ice house, even the outhouse. The main house dates to 1847 and retains much of its original charm -- a match made in Heaven, to hear Diane tell it. 

We all know that true love has a way of upending even the best laid plans, and Diane found not just one, but two new loves:  fairly soon after discovering the farm, Diane met Larry Hepner, whom she describes as a "real" farmer (and who also happens to be a soil scientist and a genuinely nice guy). The two eventually married and decided to live together on the farm full time when Larry retired from teaching. 

Today, in addition to 
operating a Bed & Breakfast and Farm Store on the property, the couples raises sheep & goats for fiber, chickens for eggs, market garden vegetables, grains, and hay. Two cows, two rescue horses, a pony, an assortment of  ducks, and naturally some farm dogs and barn cats complete the busy scene.

Under the stewardship of Diane and Larry, these beautiful acres are evolving "back to the future", becoming once more a diversified family farm existing in balance with nature. 

This recent sketch shows the farm, which Diane has named, La Basse Cour, apparently resting beneath a gentle, snowy blanket. But of course looks can be deceiving: in truth we know that  the farm is full of life in every season -- and that the weather can be both friend and adversary, depending on the day.

 A visit yesterday shows how quickly Winter can seem to melt away into Spring.

La Basse Cour is located at 3228 Gun House Hill Road, South Kortright, NY  13842.
Contact Diane at 607-538-9707 or labassecour@hughes.net to schedule your own visit soon.  <3

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


A sketchbook is a place of discovery, experimentation, record keeping, notation & a place in which learning & growth happen!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Illustrating Children's Book

Came upon a drawing by Ingres at the  Metropolitan Museum recently. Every book project I did always started with an artist.                   
For Little Women, Ingres's meticulous precision with just a pencil was a major influence.