Splendid Toad Art Farm is based in central Massachusetts, a bucolic region of forest and farmland.
Two working studios comprise the farm: Toadbriar, where Kim paints and assembles creatures,
and Grip And Word, where Andy pursues weaving, printing, lutherie, and haberdashery.
Central to the Art Farm is the priority of preserving a few heritage and rare breeds – the hardy, thrifty animals suited to small family farms instead of battery cages and feedlots. The primary focus is our flock of Ancona ducks. The Ancona is listed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as a critically rare breed of duck. This is a shame, because it is a truly marvelous breed. See the duck page to learn more about them.
A family of American Buff geese live with the ducks. They are another critical breed, and are remarkably gentle, calm, and sweet birds. Geese are very vigilant, and are likely to spot a coyote or fox before the ducks do. They are also effective deterrents against daytime birds of prey.
We keep a handful of turkeys – Narragansetts, and recently added, Black Spanish. Both are heritage breeds – smaller and more slow-growing than the broad-breasted white birds that supply the meats in supermarkets. Heritage turkeys are hardy, vigorous birds that can reproduce naturally (the broad-breasted kind are too bulky to mate and must be artificially inseminated.) They can forage for a greater portion of their food, and do a good job of eating bugs and garden pests.
Garden efforts are a work in progress – as we clear out some collapsed outbuildings, more space can be devoted to greener endeavors.
Favorite bits of art find their way outside..
…And the farmyard finds itself very much at home in the studio.