Photo by Dick Mitchell
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
North Wind delivers sideways scattering snow pellets and wicks away what warmth remains in our bare hands as we gather reflective vests and rope halters for the Sheep move. Dawn breaks slowly through heavy clouds as Collin, Ava, Erik and I gather to walk – or shepherd – the Flock from their sheltered lambing yard out past the Gift Stand and across the bridge over Brush Brook to begin their grazing rotation. This day carries great significance here on the Farm, and the evident joy and clarity of purpose with which even the youngest lambs set themselves to their work of eating Grass brings broad smiles to our faces.
If our work functions as a plea, it has been sustained because enough of you have – despite your better judgement – said ‘yes’ to our requests over the past year. Here is a list for you to consider, with more detail to be found in the body of this Letter. Would you be willing to:
- Contribute to our Landowner Gratitude Campaign?
- Join us for Soup and Bread Gift Distribution Friday 4-6pm and help us to distribute the food? The Brush Brook Soup this week celebrates Springtime with fresh greens: Spinach, Ramps, Nettles and Dandelion greens. This will be welcome news to some – the Soup is Cabbage-free!
- Participate in our Work Day Sunday 1-4pm? bit.ly/brushbrookworkdays
- Consider joining the first class of our Scythe School and embarking on a grand hay-making adventure with us? Find information HERE.
- Help to cover our remaining April Financial Gift Request? $918 to go. You can make a gift HERE.
The Sheep Flock will make a grand tour of the Valley over the course of the grazing season. By Christmas time, we will walk them back to the Home Farm to begin the solemn work of harvesting – slaughtering and butchering and preserving the meat and bones that will provision the Soup Pot through the year. Last evening, first-time-mother Agnes gave birth to lamb number twenty-six, thus officially ending lambing season and marking our turn toward this next season – the Time of Tending Grass – which could also be described as an eight-month love affair between us and the Sheep and Cows and these incredibly tenacious plants that have sustained human life for millennia. A few words of praise from 1872:
Grass is the forgiveness of nature – her constant benediction….should its harvest fail for a single year, famine would depopulate the world. – Senator John James Ingalls
Maybe we are just love-blind, but does it not seem miraculous that a lamb can grow from ten pounds to one hundred in one season simply by eating Grasses that grow abundantly in our neighborhood and would otherwise not be used? This is the heart of the Farm’s gleaning practice, to work with these animals to gather and preserve and provision from what is extra – from what is already here. But our work of grazing and gleaning and giving away is only possible because so many of our neighbors have said ‘yes’ to our requests to graze animals on their private lands. In a time marked so much scarcity and fear, this seems to us a courageous act, and we want to offer our deepest regards to the landowners who make up the Brush Brook Grassland Network, including those who allow us to run water from their houses:
Sarah Jane Williamson, The Shaker Meadow Housing Association c/o: Harmony Lanen Roll, Krin Barberi and Dan Carhart, Bill and Delberta Little, Lisanne and Bill Hegman, Becky and Dave Cozzens, Susan and Ted Blood/The Huntington Community Forest, Becca and Andy Golden, Kerry and DJ Detweiler, Megan and Scott Detweiler, Gary and Lisa Richter.
There would not be Brush Brook Soup at the Gift Stand without these neighbors. What’s more – they demand no rental monies for the use of their land or water. This is one way we are able to maintain such a small monthly budget. Are we just love-blind, or does this not strike you as a remarkable thing, given everything going on in the world today?
Here is our first request: Would you consider writing a Thank You Note to any one – or all – of the people on this list and drop off your cards to us at the Gift Stand – or mail them to us at P.O. Box 202, Huntington, VT 05462 – so that we can hand-deliver them when we arrive to begin our spring field work of mending water lines and fences? Your note could say simply: “Thank you for sharing your land and/or water toward the effort to offer food as a gift to anyone who is hungry for any reason.”
Here is a 2nd request: Would you be willing to stop by Soup and Bread Distribution this Friday 4/30 between 4 and 6pm to pick up food for your household and some to drop off at a neighbor’s on the way home? Or ask a neighbor to pick up for you if you can’t make it? As the weather warms and the critters become more active, it will be increasingly difficult for us to keep food out for self-service through the weekend. It means a lot to us to see you in person on Friday evenings.
And a 3rd request: Would you consider joining us for our Work Day this Sunday? We could use hands for Garden Prep, Fencing Work, Bakery Firewood, Soup Team and more. We rely heavily on these work pushes to keep things in a good way here at the Farm. Sign up here: bit.ly/brushbrookworkdays
Number 4: Would you consider joining the first class of our Scythe School, or passing along the invitation to someone else? We’ve set ourselves toward the humbling task of learning how to make hay by hand – and it will take many willing hands. Our new fleet of scythes has arrived, and we are preparing for the first day of class on May 16th. To read more about the School, click HERE. To request an application, you can respond to this email with this as the subject line: “Please send me an application for the Scythe School.”
And finally, the money question: Would you consider helping us to cover the remaining $918 left in our April Budget Request? You can do so HERE.
Here is what you will find in this Letter:
- GIFT DISTRIBUTION DETAILS and FULL MENU
- FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – April 2021 Budget
With Great Care,
Ava, Erika, Kristen, Erik, Collin, Evan and Adam – The Brush Brook Community Farm Team
SOUP and BREAD GIFT DISTRIBUTION: Friday 4/30, 4-6 pm
- Brush Brook Soup – Potato, Carrot, Tomato, Spinach, Dandelion Greens, Nettles, Ramps, Kale, Beef, Herbs, Bone Broth.
- Vegetarian Soup – Pureed Butternut, Sweet Potato, Carrot and Turnip, Tomato, Garlic, Herbs.
Mountain, Polenta, 3 Seed, Sprouted Grain, German Rye and Backcountry Loaf (made w/o gluten)
BUDGET UPDATE: Thank you for considering the April Budget
Many heartfelt thanks to all who have responded to these invitations by sending in Financial Gifts. If you would like to support our work, you can mail checks made out to Brush Brook Community Farm to PO Box 202, Huntington, VT, 05462, bring gifts to the Gift Stand, or donate through the website. We are 100% financially supported by these personal financial gifts.
Brush Brook Community Farm – Apr. 2021 Budget
|As of 4/28|
|Gifts Received in Apr. – Thank you!||$ 4725.00|
|Estimated Expenses for April|
|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 March||$107.00|
|Total Remaining for April||$ 918.00|
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.