Dandelion Cottage is a tiny homestead located in the charming village of Norfolk, in the northwest corner of CT. It is owned and cared for by artist Leslie Watkins, as an experience in "living off the land" on just one acre. Small as it is, with the help of a cheerful and hard working flock of bantam chickens, Dandelion Cottage's "Garden of Eatin'" produces almost all of Leslie's own food supply in season. At the Norfolk Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, you will find the surplus: bouquets of fresh cut flowers, bunches of herbs, vegetables, seasonal small fruits, and "Especially Colorful Eggs, Painted by Pixies".
All the elements work together in harmony to create a healthy, organic, natural cycle. The chickens are free range and eat bugs, scraps, seeds, fallen apples, small fruits and greens. They provide eggs, manure, and lots of entertainment. The manure is carefully composted and mixed into the garden soil to produce gorgeous veggies, herbs and flowers. It is hoped that it will be an inspiration for others to do the same in their own backyards.
Also on the market table are little picture books, notecards, contract bridge supplies and fine art prints, all painted and designed by Leslie Watkins. The artwork is inspired by the scenery and gardens around Dandelion Cottage. Leslie and her students paint botanical watercolors of flowers collected from the gardens. Leslie's art classes and painting workshops are offered throughout the area.
Before moving to Norfolk, Leslie lived in Greenwich Village, painting landscape oils on summer trips, and illustrating gardening books and magazines. Locally, Leslie's artwork has been used on the Norfolk Library's posters, bookplates, invitations and postcards. Her illustrations have appeared many times on the pages of "Norfolk Now".
Visit www.lesliewatkins.com for more information about the art and classes. A portion of the earnings from Leslie's table at the Norfolk Framers Market is donated to United Poultry Concerns and Heifer International. Check it out!
Leslie Watkins with a Fine Feathered Friend
Photo credit: Mary Ann McGourty