Photo: John Hadden

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

If you’re still reading, your companionship has cast soft light onto the uneven ground of a darkening time. It’s been quite an astounding gift to become entangled with so many beautiful people over the past few years. To stumble and fall down and look up each time to find an outstretched hand—may that our hands be joined again before long, in greeting and in thanksgiving. A particular thanks to my heartbroken co-conspirators on the Farm Team—may that your hearths overflow abundantly in the coming year. To the landowners who have aided and abetted our particular brand of mischief in your back- and side-yards—may that you find sweet blessing dropped on your doorstep rather than Sheep droppings left in your dooryard. To the many gift-givers—of labored hours, let-go-of dollars, and so many moments of precious attention and attendance—may that you stumble into beauty at every turn in this season of lengthening days. To the non-humans who grant us each additional, unearned, and sparkling day—may that you hear our multicolored praise-words woven into the still, early morning air.

Here’s what you’ll find in this Letter:

  1. A Christmas Story: Freezing Rain, Deer Hooves go Clickety-Clack 
  2. Invitation: Hospicing Modernity—A 5-week online Study Group hosted by Adam

Contending with Modernity/Coloniality at Brush Brook Community Farm

  1. December Budget Request: Thanks to all who sent in generous gifts last week. There’s now $350 to go with two days left in the month. Thank you very much for your consideration. You can make a gift HERE.

A Christmas Story: Freezing Rain, Deer Hooves go Clickety-Clack 

Freezing Rain arrives in the night, glossing every path and roadway, coating every Rock and Twig. Suddenly, all is different for those who rely on friction to move around on two- and four- legs. Here at the North Country Creamery, we spread salt and sand ahead of the Cows, who must walk from the barn to the milking parlor, across the paved road. They step with nervous care. All eighteen make it there and back without falling. My parents are up for the holiday weekend, renting a cottage on nearby Willsboro Point, where summer camps line the shoreline. I run the loop road at dusk. Christmas Day evening. The cottages are dark, save a handful with a car or two in the drive and a lit Spruce tree in the window. The road is empty as well. The wooded point, cluttered with closely-packed human settlement, wears an eerie quiet today. Deer startle me as they run across the road ahead, bright tails flashing. The road crews—likely at home with their families—have spread no sand or salt. I can just barely stay at a run on the icy roads, drifting onto the crusted roadside snow when the traction goes to nothing. I come upon a second group of Deer. I stop. It is near dark now. They are all around me, standing on the Snow-covered lawns. All of us at silent attention. Breathing, listening. Eye contact holds for a long moment. And then the herd launches in unison, bounding across the road. Hooves tap road Ice with a click and a clack. Hooves break through Snow crust with a crack, crunch. More in the air than on the ground they go. I remember our morning efforts to get the Cows across the road safely—much more on the ground than in the air they went. I encounter three more Deer families as I complete the slippery loop in the dark. This place belongs to the wild ones tonight. The sure-footed, the bounders. The point’s year-round residents. The brightly-lit rental cottage smells of roast Lamb. Christmas dinner is in the oven. I hang my headlamp on the hook inside the door and change into dry clothes—a proper shirt and vest for the occasion. The world is full of magic. 

Contending with Modernity/Coloniality at Brush Brook Community Farm—An Invitation 

Hospicing Modernity: A 5-week online Study Group 

Join Adam in reading Vanessa Machado de Oliveira’s stunning book, Hospicing Modernity 

Wednesday evenings 1/26-2/23, 7-8:30pm

Preview or order the book HERE.

RSVP to Adam at runningstonebread@gmail.com to reserve a spot—limited to ten people.

Have you noticed how difficult it can be to succinctly describe the work of Brush Brook Community Farm? The grazing of Cows and Sheep on other people’s lands and the myriad subtle discernments and negotiations required to sustain (or to decide to discontinue) these gift-based relationships—these practices alone could occupy hours of storied description. Include the Gift Stand—where we gave away Soup and Bread each week for twenty months—and the nuanced social arrangements that the Gift Stand gestured toward, and you’d better settle in for the duration. I am repeatedly amazed when I hear from people that they have read some—or all—of these long-winded Newsletters, and incredibly grateful to hear that some of the stories and questions have ignited fiery conversations with family, friends, classmates and colleagues. As I prepare to sort through the Newsletters and attempt to gather something cohesive to share more broadly, I have wondered if it would be possible to summarize the set of practices and longings that emerged at Brush Brook over three years of experimentation. As it turns out, someone has already done this for me. I am deep moved by an astounding book titled Hospicing Modernity by Vanessa Machado de Oliveira. I am thrilled to introduce her fine work here, as it has helped me to see Brush Brook Community Farm with new eyes. An unveiling, if you will. 

Here are a couple of quotes from the book on creating alternatives to Modernity:

Whatever we imagine when we are still invested in modernity will always only be a different version of modernity that secures the entitlements and enjoyments modernity affords us now. Because these entitlements and enjoyments are based on violence and unsustainability, we are back to a circular pattern of systemic harm. In order to create the possibility for us to imagine something genuinely different, we first need to notice the harms we are causing, and become dissatisfied with the things we enjoy that cause those harms (e.g., comfort, security, certainty). Only then might we begin to loosen the relational and affective restrictions modernity has imposed upon our being; and learn to see, sense, and relate otherwise.

The Gifts of Failure

We chose the word gesture for the title of the GTDF (Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures) collective to underscore the fact that decolonization is impossible when our livelihoods are underwritten by colonial violence and unsustainability. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, our health systems and the technologies that allow us to read and write about this are all subsidized by expropriation, dispossession, destitution, genocides, and ecocides….Therefore, we understand that our decolonial gestures and attempts to undertake this work will undoubtedly and inevitably fail….It is actually in the moments of failure that the deepest (un)learning becomes possible and we can get a glimpse of the depth of our collective predicament. 

And Machado de Olveira’s description of her term Modernity/Coloniality:

This term functions as a reminder that the benefits we associate with modernity are created and maintained by historical, systemic, and ongoing processes that are inherently violent and unsustainable. In other words, this term underscores the fact that modernity cannot exist without expropriation, extraction, exploitation, militarization, dispossession, destitution, genocides, and ecocides….One hell of a trick of modernity/coloniality is making itself appear benevolently omnipresent, while rendering its violence and unsustainability invisible.

While colonialism is often presented as the formal occupation and administration of lands and the subjugation of the original peoples of these lands, coloniality refers to the enduring manifestations of colonial relations, logic, and situations—even after the official decolonization of formal structures of governance. 

Thank you very much for reading. 

Here is what you will find in this Letter:

  1. 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 30
Gifts Received in December – Thank you! $2,304.59
Overage from November $131.22
Estimated Expenses
    Bakery Rent $300.00
    Electric for Slaughter and Tractor $120.00
Farm Expenses
   Livestock (animals/feed/services) $800.00
   Fencing $150.00
   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 $312.27

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!