Photo by Dick Mitchell
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
To watch and smell and hear and feel – to be submersed in – the torrent of unfurling Life this week is perhaps also to realize that your senses have been under-exercised for some time now. Months of winter whereby a specific gray-scale quiets the visible and audible – even the olfactory – landscape. Months of plague whereby the specific touch and smell of other humans has been replaced by an electronically-mediated sound- and sight-scape. Months of immersion in this digital-scape that is both everywhere and nowhere at once – unaccountable to any specific landscape or season and often achingly lonely – where we find our hunger for connection is never actually sated by the limitless buffet of opportunities to exercise personal preference. What would it look like to trade personal preference for willing participation in a more-than-human landscape? Could we allow ourselves to be claimed by the specific place where we live by setting down outworn stories of freedom, self-reliance and limitless possibility? What other stories would we tell instead? It has been exactly a year since the last loaf of bread from the bakery was offered for sale on a store shelf. And exactly a year since Glenys dropped her lambs in the night, just hours before we walked the flock back to the home farm. The picture here is from that morning one year ago – leaving the safety and comfort of the barn and walking into uncharted territory. Lambs in hand, headlamp on. In this Newsletter we have tried to tell the story of that walk – away from the safe, the comfortable and the outworn. Toward what, you ask? Our work has never tried to offer a plan, but rather, we say, functions as a plea. Less a victory story than a grief song. Less a solution than a solemn pledge to proceed as if what is happening is really happening – to be willing to be heartbroken by the mess we’ve made of that which was entrusted to us.
Last Saturday, a small group of extended Farm Family gathered in the warming afternoon sunshine to walk the expecting Ewes, once again, to their lambing yard at the home farm. This equinox ritual is a proud day for the both the Ewes and the Shepherds. A whole year’s work builds toward this moment. There are so many decisions and long hours in the pastures for the sheep and the humans. How big to make each day’s paddock and in what pattern to rotate the animals across the available grassland to improve the health of both field and flock? How will the animals respond to the salad bowl of grasses and clovers and herbs and woody-stemmed plants that we offer them each day? Their job is to make milk and flesh and fat from the specific patch of greenery that we give them, and the focused hunger they bring to their work is a constant source of instruction for us, the Shepherds. Their love of Life is bright, and inspiring. Our job is to become ever-more careful students of them and their ways. All of this was in the air when we opened the gate and began our walk back to the home farm and the sunny, sheltered lambing yard last Saturday afternoon. Come Monday morning, Annabelle’s mothering calls filled the still and frosty pre-dawn air. Her healthy newborn daughter – named Ashley – had already found her way to her feet and to the waiting teat, setting a miraculous cycle into motion once again.
We are thrilled to invite you to join us for Soup and Bread Gift Distribution, Saturday from 11am – 1pm. In addition to fresh bread homemade soup to take home, the newborn lambs and their attentive mothers will be accepting visitors – just a few hundred feet from the Distribution Greenhouse. In celebration and thanksgiving for the arrival of lambing season, we’ve made a special soup this week with slow-roasted lamb shoulders – grown rich and flavorful from the grass pastures at Shaker Meadow where we grazed the flock last summer. Many thanks to the landowners there who, in generously sharing this land with the flock, have assisted our efforts to offer this food as a gift to anyone who is hungry for any reason.
With $1070 coming in this week, our Budget Request stands at $1,280 for March. If you are willing to make a gift, you can do so HERE. The detailed budget can be found at the end of this Letter.
The work here is sustained by your gifts of monies, yes, but also by your gifts of labor, building materials, wood shavings, a jar of honey, a batch of cookies or a dozen eggs. We use Maple Syrup each week at the bakery and would gratefully receive gifts of syrup toward that end.
This Sunday from 11am – 1pm we will be working to pick up excess hay from the field where the animals spent the winter, and would love your help and/or to borrow a wheelbarrow and a pitchfork that you have to lend or bring along with you. If you would like to join this effort, we will meet at the Distribution Hoophouse at 11am. If you have a wheelbarrow or pitchfork to lend, please drop them off prior to 11am. Our regular public Work Days will begin again in April!
Here is what you will find in this Letter:
- GIFT DISTRIBUTION DETAILS and FULL MENU
- FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – March 2021 Budget
With Great Care,
Ava, Erika, Kristen, Erik, Collin, Evan and Adam – The Brush Brook Community Farm Team
SOUP and BREAD GIFT DISTRIBUTION: Saturday 3/27, 11am - 1 pm
- Brush Brook Soup – Cabbage Noodles, Kale, Squash, Sweet Potato, Potato, Tomato, Lamb, Herbs, Bone Broth.
- Vegetarian Soup – Pureed Butternut, Carrot and Turnip, Tomato, Garlic, Herbs.
Mountain, Polenta, 3 Seed, Sprouted Grain, German Rye and Backcountry Loaf (made w/o gluten)
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 March 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 – Mar. 2021 Budget
|As of 3/23|
|Gifts Received in Mar – Thank you!||$ 3673.00|
|Estimated Expenses for March|
|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||$ 448.08|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$ 200.00|
|Erik Weil Stipend Request||$ 500.00|
|Collin McCarthy Stipend Request||$ 580.00|
|Estimated Federal/State Taxes||$ 351.22|
|Paypal Fees||$ 150.00|
|Overage from February||$801.34|
|Total Remaining for March||$ 1,276.32|
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.