Treleven in October

1 Nov
Mentors with Enid Wonnacut, NOFA CEO and Abbie Nelson, FEED program director.

Mentors with Enid Wonnacut, NOFA CEO and Abbie Nelson, FEED program director.

This month we began two wonderful new partnership projects. We are now working with NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) and Hogback Community College. We expect that both of these partnerships will help to expand the opportunities to share the land and the skills of our Board members with an increasingly large community.  The NOFA Farm to Community Mentors provide a variety of services to both the farming and non-profit/educational communities. They help to link farmers to school classrooms through the Farmer Correspondence Program (which culminates in a farm visit for the students in the spring). They promote the value of sustainable agriculture through projects such as AG Literacy Week (Nov 17 – 23 this year). And they work on special projects; for our county we  hope to promote availability of fresh local produce for residents of our many mobile home parks. Treleven was honored to be the site of this year’s annual strategic planning session for the NOFA mentors. We look forward to learning from those in other parts of the state!

Stories Participants with Don Mitchell

Stories Participants with Don Mitchell

Our partnership with Hogback Community College began with the course: Stories in the Land, taught by John Elder and Don Mitchell. The first session of the 5 session class included a walk through the farm fields to the wolf oak tree under a beautiful full moon. Students have been working on place-based memoirs and their essays will soon be available on the Treleven Programs tab. (you can view one example here already).

Acorns

Acorns

On the farm front, we are wondering what the coming year will bring? When our friend Bob Cyr came to the farm to process the lambs, he said the wooly bears are only a bit more accurate than the Farmer’s Almanac. Who is to know? We have heard that big mast years (lots of nuts on the trees) are a way that trees can overcome the drain of rodents eating their nuts. But Audubon is not so sure. Who is to know? At least we have the pleasure of knowing that each season brings incredible beauties to the farm and we hope that you will join us to share in them.

Autumn Color: the old sugarbush

Autumn Color: the old sugarbush

Treleven in September

1 Nov

HarvestThis was a gorgeous month on the farm. The day after returning from a hike on the Cotswold Way in England (we saw thousands of sheep and miles of beautiful stone fences and hedgerows) we were able to welcome the Middlebury College Orientation group. They spent the weekend exploring the farms of Addison County and the role of the Migrant Farmworkers in the VT economy. It was a thrill to spend time with such open and interested young people.

New Pasture

New Pasture

Our sheep became truly spoiled as fresh new pastures were opened to them every few days. It was the only way to keep up with the lushly growing grass. With the garden almost harvested, we had time to turn toward more contemplative occupations, including thinking about how to use the resources of the farm as a retreat center. The little poustinia, (this is the Russian name for a prayer cottage) provides a place for meditation and quiet reading and reflection. The mists of morning, rising from the pond, are a nice atmosphere for tai chi or yoga. Walking the ever-growing network of trails is yet another way we can offer some grounded time to our community. Please stop by!

Wind Chimes by the Poustinia

Wind Chimes by the Poustinia

Treleven in August

20 Oct

Tiny garden, huge output. Despite the many ground hog families living nearby, the little kitchen garden kept all three families on the farm well supplied during the summer.  Salad greens, herbs, flowers, kale, chard, peas, beans, beets, broccoli, kohlrabi, zucchini, butternut, and acorn squash, hot and sweet peppers, eggplants, and of course, many varieties of tomato. We were grateful to Ethan and Susannah who returned from Switzerland in time to run the farm while Cheryl and Don walked the 102 miles Cotswold Way. Treleven has a flock of sheep, the Cotswolds

Summer's Bounty

Summer’s Bounty

had thousands, all kept safe inside a variety of gorgeous stone walls and ingenious gates.

As we thought about the wonderful network of public foot paths in the UK, we got more and more excited about sharing the Treleven trails with others. Please stop by and ask for a quick orientation!

Don and Susannah w/veggies

Don and Susannah w/veggies

Volunteer Tomatoes

Volunteer Tomatoes

Treleven in July

20 Oct

July was beautiful: for making hay and for our four sessions of nature camp. We loved being able to explore the woods, fields, and ponds as part of our learning experience. It was also the month of our first full day Experiment with Light Retreat. We hope to offer this more often as the months go by. Rita and Cheryl practiced tai chi down by the pond each Wednesday morning. Peaceful and lovely.

Nature Camp

Nature Camp

Treleven in June

30 Jul
Hay Crew

Hay Crew

June was a beautiful month at Treleven. The weather was just about perfect for making hay. With the help of our neighbors and our intern, Megan Cousino, the first cut was promptly brought into the barns. Enough to take the flock through the winter, and then some. Don and Megan also loaded two years worth of fleeces to take to the wool pool.

Megan and Don load the fleeces for the Wool Pool

Megan and Don load the fleeces for the Wool Pool

Nature camp unit on rocks, minerals, and geology

Nature camp unit on rocks, minerals, and geology

This was also the month that nature camp began, and we all had a wonderful time. With the guidance of Erin Ruble, we selected six units that were related to one another and that helped us to explore the landscape of the farm. The first unit: rocks, minerals, and geology, brought us to one of the more interesting geological features in the Champlain Valley, an escarpment located in the home pasture.  The next unit, finding our way, looked at the ways different animals, including humans, navigate to find food, shelter, mates, and safety. The children were introduced to geocaching, and we were stunned to learn how many geocaches exist in Addison County alone.

 

Peggy Greeting Participants in the Narrative Therapy Master Class

Perhaps the outstanding highlight for June was the Narrative Therapy Master Class taught by the internationally known Maggie Carey and organized by Peggy Sax. The class was seriously over-subscribed and Peggy is already taking reservations for next year’s session. You can find more information at the Reauthoring Teaching site.  You can also see many more photos and details about both the Nature Camp and the Narrative Therapy Program on the Treleven FaceBook Page.

In other activities we held a lovely discussion about the role of retreat centers and retreat practices in our lives, inspired by our visiting friends from the Mt Gilead Friends Retreat Center.

This led to some further discussion with other retreat centers about the possibility of establishing an informal network to share ideas and experiences.  Rita and Cheryl started practicing Tai Chi down by the pond on Wednesday mornings. Don continued to expand the trail system. We invite you all to join us for a formal (such as the upcoming class on stories) or informal event.

Treleven in May

16 Jun

Bench in the WoodsDon with Aldo Leopold Benches

After the snows of April, the warm balmy days of May were a welcome relief. The wildflowers in the woods burst out over night, carpeting the forest floor with white and pink trillium, snow drops, hepatica, and trout lilies. The smell of wild leeks filled the air, and Kirks bees started flying again. Don made a number of Aldo Leopold benches, which have been placed along the trails. Living on Earth, the NPR show, came to tape a segment on the bat habitat management project. Our partnership with Middlebury Food Works began as Megan Cousino created the new Facebook page for Treleven.

We finished up plans for the Nature Program that will begin June 19. You can download a copy of the Treleven Nature program Registration here. Next month we will be continuing Experiment with Light, holding Tai Chi practice sessions down by the pond, and hosting an international class on Narrative Therapy that was organized by board member Peggy Sax. Although that class was over subscribed, you can now reserve spaces in the Master Classes for 2015 and 2016.

Our newest and very exciting partnership is with Hogback Community College that will by sponsoring Stories in the Land a 5 session writing workshop taught by John Elder and Don Mitchell. The course begins October 7. You can read more about the course and download a registration form here.

Treleven in April

6 May
Happy Ewe

Happy Ewe

Barn at Night

Barn at Night

Pregnant Ewes

Pregnant Ewes

This was a lovely and exciting month for us on the farm. Lambing season is always filled with beautiful moments and unexpected sorrows. At the beginning, the wiring in the barn needed to be updated and we were very grateful to Victor Bolduc for taking care of it so thoroughly. It allowed us to welcome, for the 25th year, students from the College who spent the night in the barn office and delivered lambs after an orientation at Weybridge House. We were most grateful to Jake, Sophie, Kate, and the College’s organic garden and farm group for making this possible; and for the students from Cheryl’s Spirit of Change Class. The annual Lamb Frolic will take place May 14, from 5:00 – 7:00. We hope you will stop by to enjoy the sheer pleasure these babies feel in running free in the fields. (Sometimes the less sedate mothers join in the fun as well).

 

This was also a month spent planning for the summer, when our new Foodworks intern, Megan Cousino, will be joining us for the first time. Megan will be assisting with all aspects of Treleven: farm management, the Nature Explore Family Sessions, the Narrative Therapy Master Class, the Parent/Child Center food program, and planning for the future. She has already established a Face Book page for us, where you can receive updates more frequently than from this web site.

We hope you will take a look at it, Like Us and post photos that you take when you are here for programs.

 

Plans for the summer at Treleven are shaping up beautifully. We are trying to find the right balance between Spirit, Nature, and Social Justice programming. At this time we are planning to open the farm for Tai Chi practitioners (on Wednesday mornings at 11:00), families whose children are interested in learning more about nature (Thursday mornings at 10:00), people interested in retreats for spiritual renewal (see Experiment with Light offerings), Narrative Therapy Practitioners, (workshop is filled but you can join the waiting list or on-line learning group), and other land based programs as they unfold. Let us know what you would like to see and we can try to arrange it. You may remember that Treleven Inc. grew from the original skill-shares on the farm where people came together to share their expertise. We hope this tradition will continue.

 

In case you don’t believe that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and April showers bring May flowers, here are some photos from the first half of April. Despite the snow, Jim Andrew’s Herpetology students from UVM had a productive exploration of the vernal pools. We were also happy that the bias free policing and pre-school legislation bills passed in the State House. Both were related to groups concerned with social justice issues who have met on the farm.

Week Old Lambs

Week Old Lambs

Herpetology Class

Herpetology Class

Home Pasture

Home Pasture

Small Barn, Big Hickory

Small Barn, Big Hickory

Grain Bin in Snow

Grain Bin in Snow

Tasting Hay

Tasting Hay

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