Photo by Dick Mitchell
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
Our beloved friend Dick arrived with his camera as we ran the sheep from their fall hill pasture back to the Home Farm last Friday. As a long fall finally turns to winter, we joyfully continue the work of harvesting, preserving, washing, chopping, roasting, boiling and baking and offering Soup and Bread as a gift to anyone who is hungry for any reason. Harvesting this week included the first round of slaughter of the spring-born Lambs, a potent and ancient seasonal marker. This work is beautiful, sorrowful, and humbling in a time marked by sterilized supply-chain deliveries that keep Life and Death conveniently out of view – but also desperately Out of Reach.
And so, we Reach Out to you with this humble plea: Would you be willing to go out of your way to stop by the Stand between 11 and 1 on Saturdays to receive these Gifts of food for your household and/or some to drop off to a neighbor on the way home?
We know that the trip out to the Farm to pick up Soup and Bread in the Winter is more of an effort. The heated, always-open grocery store seems to have a magnetic pull this time of year. But we have preserved and gleaned many thousands of pounds of vegetables and are just beginning to bake with the new crops of Wheat and Rye from Morningstar and Thornhill Farms. We will soon have Soups made from rich Lamb broth and roasted Cabbage. And we ourselves are sustained by seeing your eyes each week and hearing your updates from home.
How do we describe the difference between Taking and Receiving? A careful look at the state of the communities of soils, plants, animals and people from whom our lives are drawn should begin to illuminate the difference. The web is threadbare and the hour is late for us now. We are awash in information, and still the things we have set in motion show no signs of slowing down or changing course. And yet you and I – we are still alive. Our hearts are beating and our hunger points to our desire to live another day. Our work here at Brush Brook Community Farm is animated by these great and grievous urgencies and our deep longing to learn how to stop Taking – or perhaps more honestly Stealing – from the world and begin Receiving instead. How do we ask to Receive Gifts and how will we respond when the answer is no? This is what we attempt to practice each week at the Farm and at the Gift Stand, and we ask you to practice and learn with us.
All of this is wrapped into our heartfelt invitation to join us for our weekly Soup and Bread Gift Distribution, held Saturdays 11-1 outside in the greenhouse next to the Summer Stand. Please bring your mask and a container or two from home for us to fill with Soup. Our Work Day will be Saturday afternoon from 1-3pm. Find details here: bit.ly/brushbrookworkdays. Thanks to all those who have thus far contributed $1631 to our December Budget Request, leaving $4200 to go. To see where this money goes find the detailed budget below. To make a financial gift, you can click HERE. Thank you very much for reading.
Story: The Farm and the Wild – Claiming and Reclaiming
Two sets of glowing eyes catch the outer edge of my headlamp beam. Just off the path two Deer are bedded down below spreading Hemlock where the ground is free of Snow. Sheltered by a steep hill to the North and a ribbon of mature Woods along the Brook to the South, this clearing is almost completely sheltered from the Wind. I remember that in this very same spot the fly-bothered Cows stood and took shelter from humid July Sunshine. In April, thirteen Ewes dropped their lambs just a few feet away, filling the air with their motherly calls and soaking the ground with their mineral-rich afterbirth.
The ground here between Hill and Hemlock and Brook is made from river cobble – stones washed free of surrounding soil by melting mountain snow when Brook once took this more northerly path. Try to set a fence post and you’ll find all stones. And yet this boney ground seemed willing to grow – Berry canes and Goldenrod and Saplings had rooted themselves into the old pasture. The place was headed back to forest. Farming in this landscape begins by removing Trees. If this grievous work has already been done for you, then your work becomes beating back the Wild’s desire to return, or reclaim – clearing brush. So last winter we brought our loppers and the Cows and the Sheep and their hay bales into this clearing and all of us got to work. It was not without grief that we decided to claim the clearing as part of the Farm, aware that we would be pushing others out. We remember that those who came before us claimed and cleared this place, naming it ‘New England.’ The Cows and Sheep covered the open ground with hay and manure and as they left the clearing in May we spread seeds of the European grasses and clovers that the Cows and Sheep prefer, including sugar-rich treats like turnip and kale. Even in a dry summer, enough of the seeds grew and by late Fall the clearing was knee-deep with new green. The place was beginning to look like a Farm. An early October snow brought the local Deer families back to the clearing where they had once made trails through the shoulder-deep brush. I have seen them grazing on Kale and Turnip every evening since, and so the food plot we planted for the Cows and Sheep has instead fattened these Deer that lay beneath the Hemlocks watching my headlamp this evening. They reclaimed our work as an offering to the Wild and now carry those calories out into the woods where they will be born in next spring’s Coyote pups or take flight as a kettle of circling Vultures.
Here is what you will find in this letter:
- GIFT DISTRIBUTION DETAILS and FULL MENU
- FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – detailed December Budget
With Great Care,
Ava, Erik, Collin, Evan and Adam – The Brush Brook Community Farm Team
SOUP and BREAD GIFT DISTRIBUTION: Saturday 12/12, 11am - 1 pm
- Brush Brook Soup – Roasted Squash and Turnips, Tomato, Greens, Beef, Garlic, Herbs, Bone Broth.
- Vegetarian Soup – Pureed Sweet Potato and Turnip, Tomato, Garlic, Herbs.
Please bring a mask with you and wear warm clothes. We will have Soup and Bread to take home, and encourage you to bring quart containers from home for us to fill for you.
BUDGET UPDATE: Thank you for considering the December Budget
Many heartfelt thanks to all who have responded to these invitations by sending in Financial Gifts. If you would like to support our work, you can mail checks made out to Brush Brook Community Farm to PO Box 202, Huntington, VT, 05462, bring gifts to the Gift Stand, or donate through the website. We are 100% financially supported by these personal financial gifts.
Brush Brook Community Farm and Bakery – Dec. Budget
|As of 12/9|
|Gifts Received in Dec – Thank you!||$ 1631.00|
|Estimated Expenses for December|
|Bread Ingredients & Packaging||$ 1,115.50|
|Bakery Overhead (Insur., Electric, etc.)||$ 555.86|
|Bakery Rent||$ 300.00|
|Farm Expenses||$ 1,550.00|
|Farm/Bakery Team Requested Gifts|
|Adam Wilson Personal Living (full time)||$ 648.08|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$ 200.00|
|Erik Weil (part time) Rent/Housing||$ 500.00|
|Collin McCarthy (part time) Utilities||$ 100.00|
|Hay Feeder and Portable Sheep Shelter||$ 300.00|
|Estimated Federal/State Taxes||$ 351.22|
|Paypal Fees||$ 150.00|
|Negative Balance from November||(70.00)|
|Remaining Balance Requested||$ (4209.66)|
Support the Farm & Bakery
The operations of Brush Brook Community Farm & Bakery are maintained by neighborly working hands and financial gifts. Your generous monetary support propels the gift of food forward to those open to receiving it.