It’s right about this time of year that I begin thinking of meandering over to Oak Hill Farm, not only for their abundant choices of splendid organic vegetables, but because they have an annual tradition of creating the most wonderful altar in honor of Day of the Dead, which we are inclined in California to celebrate, our Waspy customs being marinated with the prior (and current) inhabitants, our Hispanic companion citizens. It’s a rich melding. So it was with happy anticipation that I played hooky on Thursday and drove down county to Sonoma, out through Valley of the Moon, into the long drive of Oak Hill Farm, parking just outside the big red barn that serves as store to the many wonderful creations of the farm.
Oak Hill Farm is over fifty years old, and consists of 45 acres of productive farmland set on 700 acres of protected wildlands. Each time I visit my spirits are enriched enormously and Thursday was no exception. I stepped inside the red barn hoping the annual tradition would still be intact. I was not disappointed!
This stringing of marigolds draws from the Hispanic tradition of wearing marigold necklaces in honor of the departed.
Handily, Oak Hill Farm had a flyer for customers explaining a bit about The Day of the Dead. It reads, “The Day of the Dead is a tradition started by the Aztecs. It is based on the belief that right after the harvest, the souls of the dead (including pets) can visit their relatives in the living world. Candlelight, vibrant colors, lively music, fragrant flowers, spicy foods and cherished mementos guide souls to their specially prepared altar, so they can eat and visit with their family.”
Indeed, the folks at Oak Hill Farm had lovingly placed photos of their departed loved ones on the altar with attending candles present. It was very endearing, I must say.
Turning my attention to the red barn’s other treasures, I was overwhelmed with the beauty and aesthetics in which I found myself surrounded. This same loving care and artistry is extended to every corner of the red barn store. It is a photographer’s dream, though I must confess the subdued lighting was a challenge almost beyond my skills. I share with you the best of what I was able to capture.
You can imagine that by now I was nearly sated with beauty! However, I can never go to Oak Hill Farm without poking my nose into the other half of the red barn, which is technically not open to the public, but, hello? the door is open and I have a camera in my hand. This is where much of the magic begins.
Yes, Otto and Ann Teller, creators of Oak Hill Farm (Otto now being honored with altar, I must add) had a dream. Its magic prevails on every level. I am grateful for their vision and hard work and due diligence to have created such a wonderful oasis of beauty and purity of spirit. I’m glad I am able to share a bit with you. I now prepare to leave the farm. By the register I am captured again by the whimsy and creativity of these sugar skeletons made by local children to raise funds for their school.
Love and seasonal blessings,
Posted on November 1st, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: Field Trips