For our family, September brought several big changes — a return to work after a summer sabbatical for MP, late night practices for both kids, a new job and weeks of travel for DP, and more alone time for our pup, Gordon. With so much happening, our weekends and the time we spend together are more precious than ever. MP is trying to strike a balance between what needs to get done around the house and continue our little adventures outdoors for as long as the weather is kind. In mid-September, for the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, she decided a trip to the Western Mountains might be the thing all of us needed to take our minds off our busy schedules.
We decided to check out Shepard’s Farm, a quiet 20-acre nature preserve, near Pennesseewassee Lake in Norway. The preserve is also home to six, giant wooden sculptures from Old Town, Maine born artist Bernard Langlais. Our family was excited to walk through the rolling pastures of the farm to see the sculptures up close, while also exploring the farm’s newly developed nature trails.
When we arrived, we were fortunate to meet Lee Dassler, the Executive Director of the Western Foothills Land Trust, a nonprofit that protects the farm as well as other local properties. Lee chatted with us about the creation of the preserve trails, the challenges of bringing in such large and unwieldy sculptures, and gave us some great tips about the area. Her enthusiasm was contagious and we couldn’t wait to check out the first two sculptures in view — Mrs. Noah and a crusty-looking owl that Lee and her friends at the preserve have nicknamed The Cindy Crawford Owl, due to a small hole a woodpecker made on its cheek.
Along the way, the kids discovered milkweed and were having a great time opening the pods and letting the fluffy white floss inside take flight. “Why don’t we come to places like this more often?” CP#2 asked, while opening another pod. “This field would be great for a Nerf war. I’d love to bring my friends.” That’s when DP shared that he played in fields like this all the time as a boy. “We stayed outside until my Mom, your grandma, called us in for dinner.”
After roaming the fields, we took a short walk in the woods. The late morning light was so beautiful coming through the trees. MP felt a calm come over her that she hadn’t felt in weeks. Simple walks in the woods almost always help clear the mind, and that’s why this day was considered a success all around.
To learn more about Shepard’s Farm, visit here.
PS: Another peaceful walking trail.