Look Jeff, You’re Famous!

Last updated on October 12th, 2022 at 09:36 pm

jeff-reformer-1 (1)
Jeff and his claim to fame

The Power of Awareness

When we first started this monarch conservancy project, we knew a key pillar to success would be to spread the word. In order for a change to happen, people need to know that a change is necessary; intervention is necessary and knowledge is power.

You would think that raising awareness would be simple in our social media flooded climate. A post to Facebook would reach the eyes of hundreds and if they deemed it worthy of sharing, thousands. A quick and to-the-point blast to twitter would reach another thousand. Our website and blog would reach yet another; so, prospects were looking good.

Announcements were made, posts posted and blogs painstakingly pulled from the most creative corners of our minds until one day, Jeff was discovered. For those of you who somehow don’t know, Jeff is our monarch champion mascot and he’s pretty famous as of Wednesday when his picture first appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer.

A day later, an article appeared highlighting the need for monarch restoration and upping the ante on spreading awareness.

jeff-reformer-2
Jeff! Jeff! Can we have your autograph?

We at Vermont Woods Studio are extremely grateful to the local people, media and Jeff for getting the word out. We are very excited to continue reporting on our cohort of monarchs until they take flight and go off on their own in the world.

Don’t Panic! That’s not the end. Once our little Jeff and his cronies fly the coop, we will shed an honorary tear and then get back to work hatching plans to harvest more milkweed seeds to plant this fall. There is no time to waste people, we have monarchs to rehabilitate!

(This is part three of a four part blog series on our Monarch Butterfly Restoration Project)

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Ready For Take-off: Monarch Butterfly Migration

Last updated on November 3rd, 2018 at 12:29 pm

monarch butterfly chrysalises
Two chrysalises housing monarch pupa

Vermont Woods Studios Prepares Monarchs for Take-off

On a beautiful day straddling the line between August and September, we huddled on the deck of Vermont Woods Studios at our Stonehurst property. Five adults and two children all gazing in mirrored excitement at the progress of our monarch caterpillars as they forge their ways into butterfly-hood.

“I’m going to name him Jeff!” One of the young boys informed the group as Peggy Farabaugh, the CEO of Vermont Woods Studios and head caterpillar-rearer, gently scooped up two prized caterpillars and secured them safely in a jar for the boys to bring to their grandmother’s.

It has been two weeks since the arrival of the caterpillar babies (or larva) and already they are well on their way to adulthood. However, their transformation is far more magical than that of any other aging process. They came to us as tiny creatures no bigger than a grain of rice and have rapidly transformed into vibrant, two inched beauties that scuttle about their mesh hamper confinement eating milkweed and maturing with natural grace.

It is marvelous to watch the caterpillars inch their way to the top of the hamper and methodically suspend themselves upside down in a J shape. This is a signal to the world that the caterpillars are ready to enter the pupa or chrysalis stage of life. The caterpillars work tirelessly in this J-shape to molt their skin and transform their outer appearance into the grass green, gold speckled chrysalis.

“I wonder what they’re doing in there all the time.” Peggy mused, affectionately grooming the caterpillar habitat. The allure of mystery gripped us all as we watched the beautiful chrysalises hang, cautiously enveloping the transforming caterpillar.

In about two weeks the chrysalises will have turned black and the monarch butterfly will be ready to emerge with damp, fledgling wings. In the short span of two hours, the monarch’s wings will dry and it will be lusting for flight. Thus our babies will leave us and safety of the Stonehurst deck.

However, it won’t be a sad day, for on this day we will have reached our goal. With the help of Orley R.  “Chip” Taylor, founder of the Monarch Watch program at the University of Kansas, we will have completed cycle one of the Monarch Restoration project. The Vermont Woods Studios company developed an objective: to help restore the monarch population. Success is heavily contingent on three pillars: milkweed restoration, healthy, migration-ready monarchs and continued research.

Last October and November, Peggy and the Vermont Woods Studios staff went out in search of milkweed. Pods gathered along route 142 were brought back to the studio where seeds were harvested and packaged for distribution.

Seeds were distributed to local gardeners and nature enthusiasts, clients and planted on the Stonehurst property. 1 in 100 milkweed seeds strewn across the earth will produce a plant. Because of these small odds, we chose to carefully plant 80 seeds on the Stonehurst property yielding 80 viable milkweed plants.

Along with learning the importance of carefully planting the milkweed seeds, the Vermont Woods Studios staff have also developed important information for rearing monarch caterpillars:

  • Whenever it is possible, raise the caterpillars in a terrarium
  • Do not allow direct sunlight to hit the terrarium
  • Monarch caterpillars grow quickly and this process can be messy, so cleaning the terrarium frequently is a must
monarch caterpillar on milkweed
One of our monarch caterpillars getting ready to transition into a chrysalis

Once our monarchs are ready for flight, we have one last piece of the puzzle to put in place before we can call the project a success. Chip founded Monarch Watch in 1992 and has been studying monarch migration since 2005. The eastern monarchs born at the end of the summer months have the innate task of migrating to Mexico. This migration will take four generations of monarchs.

Our Stonehurst monarchs will fly just a portion of the way and then stop to lay eggs and die as the new babies begin the growing process and mature to fly their portion of the trip. This process will repeat until the final generation sails over sunny Mexico and makes themselves comfortable for eight to nine months when the United States is again habitable for the return of the monarchs.

How did people come to have such intimate detail about the migration pattern of these tireless creatures? The answer to this is evolving through research, which brings us to the final stage of the project: tagging the monarchs.

Before our monarchs take flight, we will place a small, adhesive tag, provided by Chip and his team on the wings of our monarchs. These tags will signal researchers to know where the monarchs came from and provide other valuable research that will continue to help rehabilitate the monarch population.

As we stand on the deck, without a chill in the air and watch the chrysalises form, we know the journey our caterpillars have before them. We discuss tagging the butterflies with nervous laughter, none of us having ever done it before; but were willing to try because we know that it is one key step in encouraging the comeback of these magical creatures.

(This is part two of a four part blog series on our Monarch Butterfly Restoration Project)

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vernon’s Monarch Butterfly Way Station Needs YOU!

Last updated on April 20th, 2016 at 10:19 am

A monarch butterfly waystation in Vernon, VT.
Last Fall we harvested milkweed seeds on a property Vernon, VT.  Owner David Berrie (of David Berrie Real Estate) has been very kind and supportive of our work to help save the monarch butterfly and we extend our thanks!  We planted the milkweed seeds this Spring and many of the plants are now thriving in gardens around town.  Now it’s time to put them to work, hosting monarch caterpillars as they metamorphose into butterflies.

Vernon: A Gateway Into Vermont

The little village of Vernon, Vermont that houses Vermont Woods Studios is in the very southeastern corner of our state.  It’s an entry point for monarch butterflies migrating North from their wintering grounds in Mexico.  We’ve written earlier about the plight of the monarch and the fact that it’s on the brink of extinction due to the pervasive use of the herbicide RoundUp.  But residents of Vernon are not inclined to sit idly by and watch this iconic butterfly disappear.

Team Monarch

Monarch Butterfly Party | Vermont Woods Studios
Monarch Butterfly Party | Vermont Woods Studios

In June, a group of nature lovers got together on the back deck of Vermont Woods Studios and shared milkweed seeds and plants (milkweed is the monarch’s only food source and the use of RoundUp has nearly eliminated it from today’s landscape).  We are planting milkweed in our gardens and backyards with the goal of providing habitat that will bring monarchs back to Vermont.  If you’d like to join us please let me know.  I have plenty of milkweed seeds and plants for anyone who would like to plant them.

Foster A Monarch Caterpillar

A baby monarch caterpillar

I also have 20 tiny little monarch caterpillars who are looking for foster parents willing to rear them.  Would you like to be a foster parent for a monarch?  Many of you will remember Carol Richardson who introduced Vernon’s kindergarteners to monarch rearing every Fall for many years.  What a wonderful teacher she was!  In those days Monarchs were abundant and Carol would bring several caterpillars into the classroom in late August/early September.  The kids would watch them transform from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly over the span of a couple weeks.

Monarch Watch Waystations

That was only 15 years ago but now there are no caterpillars to be found.  What nature invested 50 million years of evolution into, man has nearly wiped out in less than 2 decades.  But there’s still hope!  At Vermont Woods Studios we connected with Dr. Chip Taylor at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Taylor has created MonarchWatch, an organization that’s dedicated to bringing the beautiful orange and black butterfly back from the brink of extinction.

Dr Taylor sent us a couple dozen tiny caterpillars to raise in our community.  Stop by the old Pine Top Ski area, now Stonehurst at Vermont Woods Studios at 538 Huckle Hill Rd to pick up a couple caterpillars if you’d like to help bring this species back.  Follow our work on Facebook and Twitter.

(This is part one of a four part blog series on our Monarch Butterfly Restoration Project)

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

The Origins of Shaker Furniture: A History Quiz!

Last updated on February 28th, 2019 at 04:22 pm

Shaker furniture is on sale today.  Learn about it's origins and see how it's made.
Our Shaker furniture sale is going on today!  Do you know where this timeless and enduring furniture comes from?  Take our quiz below and then come visit us at Stonehurst to appreciate Shaker style up close and personal.

In honor of our current Shaker furniture sale, I thought we should highlight a little history about the people who developed this beautiful, simple and elegant style.  Their creation is timeless and enduring & it continues to be one of the most popular fashions in the furniture market today.

I bet you already know a bit of history about the Shakers.  Test your knowledge by filling in the blanks below:

  1. The term Shakers is derived from the Shaking __________, a small, radical group from England who first came to America in 1774, led by the prophet Ann Lee.
  2. Today there is only one active Shaker community, with three members, who live on _______________ Lake in the state of _____________.
  3. ______________  was a part of Shaker orthodoxy, so Believers had no choice but to recruit people from the outside world to prevent their communities from dying out.
  4. Early Shaker furniture makers focused on simplicity in their designs because they believed that excessive ornamentation or decoration was a sin of _________.
  5. The Shakers were among the first in America to try mass production. Unlike the Amish, the Shakers embraced technology that increased ____________, believing that they were saving time that belonged to God.

How did you do?  Check your answers with the key below:

  1. Quakers
  2. Sabbathday Lake in Maine
  3. Celibacy
  4. Pride
  5. Efficiency

Of course this beautiful style can’t be fully appreciated in photos, so make plans to come visit us at Stonehurst and shop our Shaker furniture sale today!

 

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Laura Dunn & The Huffington Post: Thanks!

Last updated on December 4th, 2015 at 12:16 pm

huffington-post

 

Today’s Huffington Post features an article about Vermont Woods Studios by our favorite journalist and champion of women in business, Laura Dunn.  The article is part of a series spotlighting the contributions of a diverse spectrum of women leading commercial businesses, academic institutions, media outlets, governments and non-profits.  We are infinitely grateful to Laura for including me and Vermont Woods Studios in her line-up of famous and not so famous people who are working to change the world.

 

In addition to writing for the Huffington Post, Politico and The Daily Beast, Laura has her own successful blog, Political Style, which discusses politics, fashion and culture.  Although she hails from across the pond, Laura interned in the US House of Representatives for Rep. Patrick J Kennedy and has worked on many election campaigns.  She currently works for an Assembly Member at the National Assembly for Wales.  Her feature on Vermont Woods Studios explores why we started the company and highlights the green mission that holds us together through thick and thin.

I want to take this opportunity to shout out a word of thanks to our customers, employees and other partners who have made Vermont Woods Studios successful over our 10 year existence.  You are the real heroes — the ones who are fueling the movement and making our sustainable furniture business possible.  We are deeply grateful.

 

 

 

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

I Am Not Wealthy, But When I Buy Something, I Want to Love What I Buy

Candid customer reviews of Vermont made furniture.

Vermont Furniture Reviews

Every couple weeks, Sean sends a survey out to customers who have recently had our Vermont made furniture delivered to their homes.  We want to make sure that we’ve met & hopefully exceeded customer expectations.  And of course if we’ve fallen down on the job in any way, we have to ensure we’ve made things right with the customer and upgraded our systems so mistakes don’t happen again.  Surveys also give us a chance to ask our customers what changes they think we should make to better serve their future needs.  Occasionally though, we slip in a question that quite honestly, could be seen as a little self-serving… like:

What were the most important factors in your decision to buy from Us?

Quality craftsmanship is always a recurring theme in response to this question.  Here are some other specific responses that Sean and I were reading today:

  • “We wanted to support a local business when its price-point was the same as large online retailers. The personal touch was important as well”
  • “Styles available; quality and source of woods; friendly, knowledgeable, helpful sales person (Rebecca)”
  • “The guarantee; that it was made in the U.S.; the pleasant people who responded to our question”
  • “You build with walnut and cherry. Best woods for furniture. I had just finished a walnut table and needed the chairs to be of the same wood. The combination is spectacular!”
  • “Price and having a basic design that you were willing to alter, and having had a sale that covered the cost of the alteration to the design. It was also a help that you’re close enough to Boston that I could go arrange the alterations in person – we looked at a several of tables.”
  • Then there was this one from Phyllis W:

“I am not a wealthy person, but when I buy something, I want to love what I buy”

To me, that says it all.  It’s the bottom line and the reason we work so hard to keep this small business in business.  We want our customers to love what they buy.  To Phyllis and everyone who has invested their valuable time in responding to Sean’s customer satisfaction surveys:  thank you for helping us to continually improve and further our mission of furnishing a greener world.  We hope you love your new furniture!

Read more Vermont furniture reviews on our testimonials page and connect with our customers on Facebook.  Also, check out independent reviews on Green People, Site Jabber, Yellow Pages and Yelp.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Shelburne Museum Exhibit on Vermont Furniture Opens Today!

Last updated on August 3rd, 2015 at 03:18 pm

Shelburne Museum Exhibit: Vermont Furniture runs today through Nov 11, 2015
Rich and Tasty: Vermont Furniture to 1850 is on display at the Shelburne Museum Exhibit, today through Nov 11, 2015

Vermont’s premier arts & history venue, the Shelburne Museum is unveiling it’s newest exhibit today,  Rich and Tasty: Vermont Furniture to 1850.  Frequent readers, customers and visitors to Stonehurst are well aware of Vermont’s current reputation as the Fine Furniture Capital of America.  Now you can learn about the history of Vermont made furniture and see the incredible craftsmanship that VT woodworkers began developing as far back as the 1700s.

The Rich and Tasty exhibit “dramatically expands popular understanding of Vermont high style furniture. It reveals the exquisite craftsmanship of individual forms and encourages a wide audience to learn about regional tastes and economics that help define Vermont furniture’s stylistic features and unexpected aesthetic innovations in the early decades of the nineteenth century.  Approximately 40 documented pieces will be displayed, the majority of which have never been on view before. In addition to showcasing pieces from Shelburne Museum’s extensive permanent collection, public and private collections contributing pieces in the Northeast will include: the Vermont Historical Society, the Collection of the Woodstock Historical Society, Fleming Museum of Art, The University of Vermont, Historic Deerfield, Inc., the Collection of J. Brooks Buxton, the Collection of Norman and Mary Gronning, the Collection of the Fowler Family, and other private collections.”

Some of the furniture in the exhibit was recently sold at a Skinner auction in Marlborough, Mass.  Pieces ranged in price from a few thousand dollars for a mahogany sofa to $65,175 for a maple, mahogany and birch dresser.  We’ll be checking those out today and look forward to sharing more details and photos with you.

If you’re in the Burlington area, stop by the Museum.   It’s a beautiful place set on 45 acres along Lake Champlain.  You can easily spend the whole day browsing through their 150,000 works which are displayed in 38 buildings, 25 of which are historic.  In addition to Rich and Tasty, you’ll find great concurrent exhibits including:

  • The Unknown Rockwell: A Portrait Of Two American Families.  This includes personal memoirs of James “Buddy” Edgerton, Norman Rockwell’s neighbor in West Arlington, Vermont, for 14 years, and a frequent Rockwell model, as well as best friend with the Rockwell sons.
  • American Moderns, 1910-1960: From Okeeffe to Rockwell.  50 artworks from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection in a variety of styles that explore the depth and range of specifically American and thoroughly modern art. 

I hope to see you there, in the new Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education where Vermont’s furniture making history will be on display until Nov 11.  Take some photos and share them on our Facebook!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Keeping Children Safe Around Furniture That Could Tip Over

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 02:25 pm

The Today show ran a story this morning about anchoring tall chests and cabinets to the wall in homes where little children are at play.  Matt Lauer and friends went on to say that “the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that the dressers and drawers pose a serious risk of injury, and even death, from toppling on children if they are not anchored.

One child is injured from furniture toppling over every 24 minutes, and a child dies every two weeks from falling furniture or TVs, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

Eighty percent of the deaths involved children younger than 10.   How tragic.  My kids have grown to be taller than our furniture now, but I must admit that when they were toddlers, I never even thought about the dangers that tall furniture can pose to, say a child who might be trying to climb to the top of a dresser by using the drawers as steps.  The show made me do some research into the possibility of offering tip-over restraints with all of our tall furniture, even though our designs are considered “inherently stable”.
Tip over restraints are nylon straps that are attached to the back of furniture.  You screw the other end of the strap into the wall.  We now offer them upon request, with any of our tall furniture pieces, such as dressers, chests, armoires, chifforobes, china cabinets, entertainment centers, file cabinets and so forth.  If you have toddlers or know someone else who does, it’s worth a stroll through each room in the house to consider the hazards that furniture may pose.  Tip-over restraints, properly installed could save your child’s life.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Toxic Free Talk Radio: Handmade, Toxic-Free Wood Furniture That Helps Rainforests Too

Last updated on August 2nd, 2018 at 02:37 pm

“My guest today is Peggy Farabaugh, owner and operator of Vermont Woods Studios, an online furniture store specializing in high-quality, eco-friendly, handmade wood furniture from Vermont. She’s a CEO who breaks for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels, and spends her vacations volunteering to plant trees in the rainforests of Central and South America. She believes in the future and in the people who build it. A former distance learning instructor at Tulane University with a master’s in Environmental Health and Safety, Peggy turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a thriving, local furniture business. Now in it’s 10th year, Vermont Woods Studios exists not only online but in a lovingly restored 200 year old farmhouse in the woodlands of southern Vermont. ”

Listen to the radio show or read the transcript:

Handmade, Toxic-Free Wood Furniture That Helps Rainforests Too

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Memories of Pine Top by Sigrid Wares

Last updated on August 14th, 2018 at 12:11 pm

#TBT: Cool Memories For a Hot Summer Day

#TBT Memories of a Lost Ski Area: Pine Top

Every now and then at Stonehurst (now our Vermont furniture showroom) we’re treated to a blast from the past.  Our property dates back to the 1860s when it was a farmhouse and since then it’s had many and varied identities.  From the 1940s to the 1960s Stonehurst was a local ski area with 3 rope tows.  It was called Pine Top and every now and then we get special visitors who stop by to see how it’s changed and share their memories of family vacations here.  Recently we had the pleasure of meeting Sigrid Oscarson who stopped by with her husband Bill Wares.  I wanted to share Sigrid’s memories with those of you who  remember Pine Top.  Did you know Sigrid and her family?

A Visit from Sigrid Oscarson Wares

My husband and I visited with Peggy and Ken last Friday. They were gracious to show us Vermont Woods Studios, formerly known as Pine Top. I grew up in Vermont and spent many days skiing as well as celebrating holidays there. My Godparents, Elsie and Romey Racine were the owners. My father helped to maintain the rope tows very often using a combination of his well-honed automotive skills, true grit with sheer determination, and lots of prayer! It was always a work in progress.

#TBT Memories of a Lost Ski Area: Pine Top by Sigrid Oscarson Wares
Sigrid and her husband Bill Wares of Moorestown, New Jersey are standing in front of a map of Pine Top that was created by Vernon Town Historian (and former Pine Top employee) Barbara Moseley.

“I came across this picture of me skiing at Pine Top. From these humble beginnings I have maintained a life-long love affair with this sport and even became a ski instructor for a period of time. Growing up in Vermont was a wonderful experience of which Pine Top was a very integral part.  Looking at the ski garb makes me wonder how any of us survived the cold! Any one who skied there will tell you that they went through several pairs of mittens in one season due to the friction of the rope tow. We would all cram into the “Warming Hut” as it was affectionately called, to toast our frozen fingers and toes near the pot belly stove while munching on hamburgers or hot dogs with hot chocolate and brownies (made by my mother). It was truly a family effort.

Thank you for showing us the beautiful renovations you have performed on this most wonderful “home” that holds so many memories for me. Your organization is truly an excellent steward of the property and that warms my heart.”

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.