Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
The Sheep and Cows have returned home to their winter quarters, the fields along the South side of Brush Brook. Grazing season, which began with a chaotic crossing of baby Lambs and concerned Ewes over the Brush Brook bridge on a cold, snow-flurried morning the first Monday in May, ends this morning with a longer walk down the Main Road by headlamp. It’s been quite a season for the Farm and all of us on the Farm Team, including some amount of necessary turning inward before trying to describe what Brush Brook will look like in the season to come. Many thanks to all who have contributed to the work in SO many different ways over the past three years. The financial gifts are really only one small portion of the picture, even if they may get disproportionate mention in these Letters. That said, having money in the account to pay the unexpected bills is very helpful.
That said, with eight days left in the month, there is still $1400 remaining to meet the December Budget Request. Thank you for your consideration. You can make a gift HERE.
A Watershed Moment – Relearning How to Be at Home
These newsletters have always been written from this same Pine table and Oak chair facing this same large window, the small house mounted to a trailer and slowly sinking into the soft, fertile ground of a small clearing just out of view of the Main Road. The clearing home to sheltering Hemlock, sprightly Ash, sickly Elm, and of course the ever-present song of Brush Brook dancing across the cobble flats before joining the main River. To call Brush Brook the Farm’s namesake is not quite right. Founding teacher might be more appropriate. Air arrived last night from the North, carrying the distinct sharp bite of Winter. With four logs already fed to the stove this morning, a chill still lingers under the Pine table at the big window. The view is very different here in the Broad Lake Valley. High in the branches of Old Elm, I catch the tail-flick of Gray Squirrel, hard at work procuring calories. It must be darn cold up there, I think. Old Elm has survived the blight long enough to grow to this immense size, just off the corner of the main Farmhouse. With branches leaf-bare against a fish-scale Sky, Elm’s distinctive vase shape is on full display. The massive central trunk rises to the top of the house chimney before splitting into two, and then quickly to four, and onward to ten-thousand tiny twigs each tipped with the sweet buds upon which Squirrel feeds this morning. A shape designed to gather Sunlight as sugar.
To call Brush Brook the Farm’s namesake is not quite right. Founding teacher is more accurate. Over the past years, I regularly travelled by foot from the Farm into the bowl of mountains that rise sharply to form the Eastern wall of the narrow Valley—the Brush Brook watershed. As I watch Old Elm this morning, I remember the place where Brook’s main channel splits into two, and then four. Above that point I drank water unfiltered from the thousands of small rivulets that gather rainfall from the upper slopes, the rivulets gathered by the feeder streams, all eventually gathered by the main trunk that tumbles over the boulders and ledges of the lower mountain, developing the distinctive wild song that laces the Air in the sheltered clearing and along the edges of the pastures at the Farm. Brook Song.
The work of Brush Brook Community Farm has been informed by the whispered chant of a specific watershed. It has been intensely local in orientation. And yet these stories—gathered and written down—have travelled in digital form across the broader landscape of the continent, even the world. David Abram points out that in order to read we must actually listen to ourselves speak the words silently in our minds. Try it for a moment and you will see—and then hear—what he means. If any of the stories in this Newsletter have been gathered and told with enough care, you just may have heard the chant of Brook Song. This is all present in mind and memory as I look out the window at Old Elm this morning—Squirrel still at work in the cold upper-branches—and wonder how to listen and to write in a new home place. New neighbors. Just across the road and down the hill, Mud Brook flows joins a river described as ‘sandy’, or ‘Au Sable’ by the first European to visit the region, Samuel de Champlain. A short way down the road from there, the Sandy River flows into the Broad Lake. Directly across the Lake from there opens the mouth of another large river that still carries its old name—Winooski. The Winooski branches to the Huntington and on upward to Brush Brook. The watersheds are joined by the Broad Lake—called ‘Pe-ton-bowk’ by the Abenaki, or ‘the waters that lie between’.
At our Farm Team meeting last Tuesday, we discussed the upcoming changes for the Farm and specifically how this Newsletter will be sent out. The form and the cadence of the work, and these Letters, will change in the New Year. Until then, you will have to endure one more week of me waxing on about Winds, Waters and Weathers—the neighbors.
Many blessings to you and those you love as we pass the longest night and light returns to your home neighborhood. May that you find moments to turn towards all that is beautiful and precious and alive without turning away from all that is unravelling and dying away in this time. It has been a pleasure to be in dialogue with you in this way, however distant the digital connection. Please don’t hesitate to reach out—with feedback, questions, longings, stories. It is always an honor to hear from you. Next week’s Letter will include information on how writings will be shared into the New Year.
With Great Care,
Here is what you will find in this Letter:
- FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – Detailed December 2021 Budget
With Great Care,
Adam and the Brush Brook Community Farm Team
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.
|BBCF - December 2021 Budget|
|As of December 23|
|Gifts Received in December – Thank you!||$1,221.88|
|Overage from November||$131.22|
|Electric for Slaughter and Tractor||$120.00|
|Vehicles (gas, maintn., insur. etc)||$50.00|
|Predicted Human Expenses|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$200.00|
|Adam Wilson personal stipend||$448.08|
|Collin McCarthy Rent||$580.00|
|Collin McCarthy personal stipend||$100.00|
|Total Estimated Expenses||$2,748.08|
|Total Remaining for December||$1,394.98|
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.