Photo: Dick Mitchell

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

Heavy Rains create muddy conditions in the poorly drained hill pastures, and with another inch on the way we decide it is time to run the Sheep flock back to the well-drained flats of the Home Farm, about three quarters of a mile along the paved Main Road. I say ‘run’ because it is nearly impossible to convince them to walk. They love these outings as much as we do. Let me pause for a moment to describe the scene. The morning breaks dew-laden and cool. Cloudy. Five Humans – hearts beating with nervous excitement – clad in dew-soaked running shoes gather forty-four very excited Sheep and set out down the steep driveway towards the tar road. We have no herding dog. Collin waits at the bottom of the hill in the truck, hazard lights flashing to alert oncoming traffic. The truck, which brought the runners to the field, will serve as our lead car on the way back. There isn’t really anything to stop the whole flock from turning left at the bottom of the drive and heading South or West, towards Starksboro. Even the fittest of our runners would gain little traction on the Sheep if they decided to bolt. We know this and so do they. And so you can imagine that some trust is involved. If you’ve ever been in deep relationship with any human, animal, plant, waterway, weather pattern, etc., you may already know that trust is a highly mysterious thing to hang your hat on. Why do we lean on trust at all when the inner-compass of another will always stay hidden from view, beyond our control? Here’s our answer to that question: We wanted to see if we could grow food on some of the unused open land in the Valley. With a sizeable organic vegetable farm and a large dairy already established here in Huntington, the available, unused fields were marginal, far-flung, some more than two miles from the Home Farm. I had recently traveled to the rural corners of the Alps – with a landscape and climate not dissimilar from ours – where Cows, Sheep and Goats walk with humans from field to field along the same roadways and lanes that others use to go to school or work. Dried manure stamped with car or bicycle tread-marks liberally decorates the country roads. Grazing livestock still occupy a central place in the cultural life of that region, and the meats and milks and cheeses that these animals glean from Grass still sustain the imaginations, the reverence, and the appetites, of many of the rural people. 

Trust and relationship come into view this morning as we – Humans and Sheep – turn right at the bottom of the driveway and onto the pavement, heading home. We persuade the Sheep to slow to a jog. The road is quiet. The Flock stays close together and largely in-lane. They call to one another softly as they move. Nearly perfect. We cross the Brush Brook bridge and turn right into the Gift Stand parking lot, through the gate and into the pasture. Well-grown Lambs wade shoulder-deep into a stand of lush, rain-fed Grasses and Clovers. Lambs and Ewes, separated during the move, call their way back to one other. And then the Flock quiets. We are breathing hard, elated, renewed. Deeply alive. Just beyond the grazing Flock lies the spring lambing yard, where four months ago these same Lambs made their willful, wobbly way to their feet. Memories flood. Rain-swollen Brook- and Bird-song lace the still morning Air. The place is heartbreaking. We’ve brought them back home for the first time since they left here as tiny babes in late April. And it seems just as true this morning as it did back then: Trust is a mysterious and beautiful thing to hang one’s hat on. May it always be so.

We are immensely grateful to all of you who have – perhaps despite your better judgement – trusted us to keep growing and gleaning food to give away each week at the Stand. In last week’s Newsletter we reported an $1100 gap with just a few days left. You responded wholeheartedly, and so we begin this month with nearly $1000 of the August Budget Request already covered. Thank you! You can always see the detailed budget at the bottom of this email and make a financial gift HERE. If you have any questions about our work, please do not hesitate to ask.

We are thrilled to invite you to join us for Soup and Bread Gift Distribution this Friday 8/6, 4-6pm. We will have hundreds of loaves of Fresh Bread and two delicious Soups – Pureed Greens and Herbs with rich Bone Broth and Vegetarian Winter Tomato. Both soups are delicious served cold or hot, with or without an addition of Milk, Cream, Yogurt, Sour Cream. All food is offered as a gift to anyone who is hungry for any reason. 

Our Work Day this Sunday 8/8 from 1-4pm will include Soup Making (bring a cutting board and a knife), Garden and Pasture Work. If you have a round-pointed shovel to bring along, we will continue with our Burdock removal projects(long-pants recommended). 

Here is what you will find in this Letter:

  1. FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – Detailed August 2021 Budget

With Great Care, 

Adam and the Brush Brook Community Farm Team

BUDGET UPDATE: Thank you for considering the August 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 - August 2021 Budget
As of August 3
Gifts Received in August – Thank you! $485.00
Overage from July $223.00
Estimated Expenses
    Bakery Rent $300.00
    Tractor, Freezers and Milkroom Rents $200.00
    Bakery Overhead (firewood, insur., utilites) $250.00
    Website, Tech, and Office Supplies $20.00
Farm Expenses
   Livestock (animals/feed/services) $800.00
   Bread Ingredients & Packaging $850.00
   Misc Ingredients (spices, etc) $30.00
   Fencing $150.00
   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
   Adam Wilson personal stipend $448.08
Infrastructure Maintenance and Project Fund $300.00
Total Estimated Expenses $4,678.08
Total Remaining for August $3,970.08

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.

Thank you!