Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
Orchard Grasses set out their finest plumes this week – creamy yellow flower heads laden with pollen – which they release as gently drifting clouds upon the slightest rustle of their long stems. Human bodies ask Brook’s cold water to rinse dusty arms and legs and to ease fatigue from heavy and hot work. With our first haying push now mostly behind us and some cooler, wetter days ahead, we turn our attention toward all that was asked to wait while we were in the hayfields – Gardens and Soup making and the Bakery.
We are thrilled to invite you to join us for Soup and Bread Gift Distribution this Friday 6/11 from 4-6pm. We will have a Pureed Root Vegetable Soup, made with or without our rich bone broth, as well as many hundreds of loaves of Fresh Bread, all offered as a gift to anyone who is hungry for any reason. Through the remainder of Haying Season, we will stay on our every-other-week schedule and invite you to pick up food for two weeks.
We will host our weekly Work Day this Sunday 1-4pm. These gatherings carry a festive tone. Would you consider joining us as we tend to pastures, gardens and pantry? Find more information here: bit.ly/brushbrookworkdays Are you interested in receiving occasional emails about smaller work projects at the Farm during the week? If so, reply with the subject “Please add me to the Helpers list.”
Our work is 100% funded by personal financial gifts. Evan maintains an updated accounting of gifts received and total estimated expenses, which is always included at the bottom of this Letter, our Budget Request. Would you consider making a financial gift to support our work? You can do so HERE.
STORY: Making Hay in Uncertain Times
Erika, Evan and I begin mowing Saturday morning well before sunrise, cutting paths into stands of Canary and Orchard Grass grown nearly head-high. These are the beginning moments of something tender and uncertain – our first attempt to hand-mow many acres of Hay by sending out a flight of invitations for others to join us in the work. Would anyone show up? First light over the Eastern Ridge catches on drifting golden Pollen and silvery beads of Dew. Each time we stop to hone our blades we look back over our shoulders. Would anyone show up? And then, one by one, mowers arrive and silently form the staggered line that this work requires. Imagine pulling up alongside a boat in motion and slipping effortlessly into the wake on the right-hand side. A Human procession assembles as Sun steadily climbs from the Eastern Ridge into an open, blue Sky. The Hay field is re-membered by a process, a procession, that requires remarkably few spoken words. Not all who arrive are known to one another, but all are known by the work, gathered in and claimed by the magic afoot in the early-morning Meadow. Sharpened Scythe blades chant with a rhythmic sound remarkably similar to a herd of Cows grazing – it is the sound of breaking Grass stems. Soon we are finished with the first Field, and the second, and beginning the third when we hear Erik’s call for Farm Brunch. Five hours of mowing will whet the appetite just as the whetstone sharpens the blade. The table has been laid bountifully, and all assembled are riding high.
The mowed Grass must be spread out in order to dry, a process called ‘tedding.’ After breakfast we start up the tedding machine, which promptly makes a snapping sound and stops spinning, prompting us to ask for yet more help. Tony and Marc, two of the more mechanically inclined mowers, struggle to disassemble the tedder’s gear box while I begin to reach out for backup. Within the hour, unexpected Rain arrives and the morning’s jubilant tone is, well, dampened.
The next morning the Scythe School class arrives to the news that, due to mechanical and meteorological surprises, we will not be mowing more Hay as planned. Without skipping a beat, they take to the fields with rakes and pitchforks and re-membered songs to spread the Hay – or, more accurately, the piles of soaking wet grass – by hand. Our neighboring dairy farmers, the Tafts – themselves waist-deep in their own Hay to tend – call to say they will stop by in the afternoon with their tedder, to flip our Hay again. As a favor. The call for Farm Brunch arrives and this time some twenty-five gather around Erik’s carefully-laid table. Spirits are soaring again. Warm Sun begin to dry rain-soaked Hay. The weekend proceeds very differently than we imagined, and beautifully so. Of all the farming techniques I have encountered over the years, a willingness to hold plans with a loose grip, and to change course when the going gets rough – this one seems by far the hardest to learn.
Monday dawns hot, under the influence of Southwest Wind. The Hay is really drying now. I rake it up into rows and, several hours later, flip the rows over again. By dinner time the Hay is still not as dry as I would like to see, but with Rain coming in the morning we decide to bale two of the three fields, to spread the still-damp bales out on pallets and salt them to encourage drying rather than molding. The Hay in third field is still too green to bale, and will likely get rained on. Miraculously, the baler, new to us and in use for the first time, ties bale after bale without missing a knot. The Farm Team collects these precious bundles and loads them onto the truck and into the barn. We finish just before dark, return to the Farm, and find that Erik has spread the table once again. We all give thanks and fill our plates, again and again. Stories from the weekend fill the air as darkness spreads over the Meadow where we feast on this muggy evening. The perfume of drying Hay mixes with the flavors of the meal. And then Fireflies arrive – the first we have seen this year – to offer their light show. The Meadow is alive with magic. Table conversations quiets as the Meadow begins to pulse with lights. We are gathered in and claimed – catching a glimpse of our outrageous fortune for being participants in something so vast, so old, so generous. Our outrageous fortune to have been alive for a time.
Here is what you will find in this Letter:
- FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – Detailed June 2021 Budget
With Great Care,
Ava, Erika, Kristen, Erik, Collin, Evan and Adam – The Brush Brook Community Farm Team
BUDGET UPDATE: Thank you for considering the June 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.
|BBCF - May 2021 Budget|
|As of June 8|
|Gifts Received in June – Thank you!||$202.99|
|Overage from May||$1,358.00|
|Tractor, Freezers and Milkroom Rents||$200.00|
|Bakery Overhead (firewood, insur., utilites)||$250.00|
|Website, Tech, and Office Supplies||$20.00|
|Bread Ingredients & Packaging||$937.50|
|Misc Ingredients (spices, etc)||$30.00|
|Hosting and Educational||$200.00|
|Vehicles (gas, maintn., insur. etc)||$150.00|
|Predicted Human Expenses|
|Collin McCarthy Rent & Utilities||$580.00|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$200.00|
|Erik Weil Rent||$500.00|
|Adam Wilson personal stipend||$448.08|
|Infrastructure Maintenance and Project Fund||$300.00|
|Total Estimated Expenses||$5,065.58|
|Total Remaining for May||$3,617.09|
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.