Hello Friends, Neighbors and/or Loved Ones,
It has been a few moons since this farm sent out the last newsletter. As the greening rains do their good work of bringing vegetative life back to the valley, we are beginning to imagine the proverbial buds bursting on another chapter of this farm story.
Before I go any further, this is Collin McCarthy writing, and when I say we I mean myself, a group of 10 cows, and lovely co-manager, Erik Weil. I may not always be speaking for Erik and upcoming project schedules is the only co-written aspect of this note. Our previous farm team has lived, died, and reformed into different projects with similar goals of reducing our violent consequence onto Mother Earth, but with their own ways of connecting food, humans, and place to each other and the broader web of life here and elsewhere. There is still much work shared and overall a continual entangleing of our lives together proceeds unabated. But I won't speak too much for them, since you can see below a little description of their work. While this next phase is taking shape, we will not be offering as many large gifting events. Cows are still being periodically slaughtered, and with the help of many landed benefactors we gifted 336lbs (most of Teddy and Loretta) of meat this winter. We will put on hand mowing events and will run another Scythe School with hopes of expanded offerings in years to come. At least for this year we are hoping to sort out many snaggles and conundrums both personally and as a farm organism. Similarly, these newsletters will become a quarterly affair rather than a weekly practice.
Brush Brook Community Farm is focusing primarily on grazing a small group of cows, sharing their gifts, teaching folks some of the skills and lessons we've absorbed, and sharing in the incredible bounty waiting patiently above the mire of the market. With our ruminating darlings as a focal point for many kinds of work, I'm hoping to facilitate connections between humans to each other, to their place, to the elders present and the traditions they hold on to, and to the multitude of beings already here.
Projects coming up that we will need hands and willing backs for:
The farm is still here! We have not been idle when there are cows to feed and calves to admire. Here are some bigger projects we would love a crew for. People are always welcome to find us and ask about the need for help.
- Spreading out bedding hay: the act of flinging piles of straw and manure around in an attempt to evenly fertilize;as well as other field prep and over seeding the existing pasture.This is an attempt to continually adapt the pasture to the changing needs of the ruminants. Most importantly to spread the love from where the ewe flock and the cows have work(ed), lived, given birth and chewed a cud throughout the field. Not to be confused with mucking the barn.
PLEASE BRING - hay and or pitch forks, gloves
WHEN - Thursday the 21st of April and Sunday the 24th 1 pm to 4 pm rain or shine
WHERE - Meet at the cowbarn at the Hegman field for a round of greetings and gratitude. Park on Camels Hump Road or School Road
- Mucking out the cow barn: taking out all the material (straw, urine, bark mulch and manure) that was dutifully produced and collected throughout the winter. This involves taking a fork to a dense bedded pack, loading up a wheelbarrow, and dumping that load onto the compost pile. We'll repeat this process a few times. RSVP would be awesome so we know how much lamb to thaw.
PLEASE BRING - Hay and/or pitchforks, gloves, water vessel, wheelbarrows, and sturdy footwear
WHEN - Saturday the 30th of April 9am to 1pm
WHERE - meet at the cowbarn at the hegman field for a round of greetings and gratitude. Park on Camels Hump Road or School Road
FOOD - Potluck lunch afterwards with roasted Lamb Shoulder and large salad cheerfully gifted by the farm
- Details to come soon about the first cow move. If interested in being on the list of folks contacted about these moves feel free to reach out. The regulars from last year are accounted for.
- Details coming about the Scythe School! Stay tuned. Shoutout to our scything Elders who are getting excited to run this course!
If BBCF is not scratching enough of the itch that may be present for you to work for your community, connect with the material needs of human
lives in less extractive ways, and/or build relationships with plants check out these friends and collaborators who are doing good work. These are some short
quotes pulled from the horse's mouth, as it were, and may only express a small fraction of what these projects are. Reach out to them and they'll give
you the download!
Six Crop (email: Erika or Evan for info)
"This community vegetable growing project is one answer to the question: What is the simplest possible format for a community food project that might give folks an opportunity to build relationships with food and neighbors? Six Crop is similar to Brush Brook in that it is collectively raising food to be shared and eaten as a Gift, but has a different structure: it is a series of Gatherings, every other Sunday, where we share food, work in the field, and more. We are attempting to grow locally adapted, genetically diverse cultivars of Corn, Beans, Squash, Cabbage, Potato, and Garlic, and to create a space where everyone can give their unique gifts in whatever ways feel healthy to them, be they babies, plants, parents, winds, or elders. So far it has been very beautiful, but it is just getting started and is never too late to join. We’d be happy to hear from you if you are curious."
"We want to share food with everyone, as equals. We nourish each other with the edible-but-not-sell-able foods that would otherwise go to waste. Food is a gift, not a commodity. We feed people—anyone—as the interconnected beings that we are. We commit to an ecology of mutual care, meaning that we put food and political education in the system as acts of solidarity and resistance to 'food access as usual' with a larger goal of abolition of militarism, inequity, police, supremacy, the list continues."
They offer lunch everyday 1 to 2pm at 149 Cherry St, Burlington. In the parking garage next to Handy's garage.
"The Handspun Cow Educational Homestead is a donation-based, working homestead in the beautiful hills of central Vermont. We are passionate in our commitment to demonstrating and teaching low-impact living, place-based eating, and healthy land stewardship, by using mostly hand tools. We teach practical and sustainable homesteading skills through immersion programs. Participants will learn animal husbandry (including milking), cheese making, low-impact gardening, making hay with a scythe, and wood-fired cooking."
An opportunity to learn many skills with people actively dedicating their lives to place based living.
"These classes are experience based classes for all skill levels who want to tune in to the wild wisdom within themselves. They are about learning how to be in our bodies, about feeling the practices our ancestors held close, bringing depth to our awareness, healing through intentional ceremony, song, and transformation, and they are about the healing that comes with intertwining our hands with earthen materials."
Coleen Butler offers many fascinating classes and has been an invaluable resource to me on my hide tanning journey.
"Adam's work in Keeseville, NY, includes training Oxen, conserving an abandoned old Farm (a place full of wild magic called Goose Landing), writing, and attempting to be of service in a time of cascading ecological and social troubles. The writings, catalogued on the website, offer a glimpse of his efforts to court a place and its storied denizens—living, dead, human, non-human."
With Love and Gratitude,
Collin & Erik