Saturday, March 16, 2013

Women's Wisdom; Sacred Agriculture

Sights from our May 16 celebration...
From the parking lot, we followed the "cowpath" to the dining room entrance. There we gathered round the fireplace for a "Hearth Kindling" ceremony.  Sister Carol Bernice had fresh fair-trade organic coffee, tea, breads and spreads available for munching. Forming a circle for a women's seed ritual we blessed seed peas and offered hopes for the women of the future. Then we sorted, innoculated and planted peas in Bluestone Farm's Biodynamic garden beds.

After a fabulous pot-luck lunch, Sr Helena Marie led us in a drumming circle. Passing a seed-filled womb-shaped gourd, Sr Carol Bernice started us sharing our own "seed" stories in The Way of The Council. We closed with an animated seed swap and a visit with the cows.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ready and Waiting...

for our Women's Wisdom; Sacred Agriculture gathering on March 16.
A very special THANKS to the men behind-the-scenes; Bill, Jodi, Matthew, Scot, and Kevin who have given so generously of their time and talents for this women's-only day. Our next will be open to all!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An Udder Motherhouse Connection

Looking forward to our March 16, 2013 Women's Wisdom; Sacred Agriculture celebration of Farming and the Feminine, I can't help marveling at the way this is unfolding...  Several years ago, Phil and Tom became regulars at our Old Style Life-Skills Series workshops

They recognized that many of the skills we teach will be an essential help in meeting the challenges of living in the postmodern, post-petroleum age...


and invited me, as Motherhouse director, to bring a modified version of our Family Cow workshop to a Peak-Oil symposium in NYC.

There, in the audience was Sister Carol Bernice of the Episcopal Community of the Holy Spirit in Brewster NY. The Sisters were just beginning to convert the grounds of the Melrose School into farm and gardens with hopes of modeling sustainable agriculture as a Center of Living Arts.
Sister Carol Bernice was dreaming of having cows in their vision and cherished the words of W.D. Hoard; The cow is the foster mother of the human race. After 6 years of research and planning and pleading, she and Sister Emmanuel attended our 2012 Family Cow Forum. We introduced them to Stonewall Dairy's Jiffy and soon after...
the emerging Bluestone Farm and Living Arts Center had their first cow. Through this connection, I was invited to participate in NYC Episcopal Bishop Mark Sisk's Round Table Discussion on Farming Food and Faith. Sisters Helena Marie and Catherine Grace offered transportation and hospitality at their city convent (or motherhouse).

There we hatched a plan for a follow-up gathering celebrating Farming, Food, Faith, and the Feminine! It's almost time!
 Our hostesses will be
Sister Emmanuel and 
Bluestone Farm's Dairy Queen Sister Carol Bernice....
 Sister Helena Marie
Sister Catherine Grace...
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Behind Scenes

Bluestone Farm neighbors help ready the space for our Farming and the Feminine gathering. Here, Scott is wiring a bookshelf so we can set a lamp there.
Kevin (with Jade the Wonderdog) is putting the hanging wires on some quilts they loaned us for this event. 
   Other than the kitchen-turned-milkroom, the former Melrose School has sat empty since last May (2012). With the help from our friends, the lonely space is enlivened into a welcoming gathering place. Take a look at these before-shots and be prepared for a delightful surprise on March 16!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hearth Warming Connections

As part of planning our March 16 Women's Wisdom; Sacred Agriculture gathering, I "borrowed" Rachel's Nest Group to help me gather the necessary firewood and, of course, use some of it to light a test-fire.  If you give a youngster a fire...
He'll ask for a stick and bread-dough... and so they did and so we did!
 Here's the first draft of our Hearth Warming Ritual:

Imagine Sister Pine; roots spreading in the earth, reaching into crevices, seeking water and nutrients, splitting rocks, yet binding earth together.

Imagine Sister Pine; trunk standing straight and tall; reaching up and up linking heaven and earth– branches reaching out to gather air and sun.

Breathe in a deep slow breath of air and as we exhale – LISTEN for the sound of wind in her branches

Take another deep breath and hear the air filling the branches and brachioles and avioli of our lungs as they gather in the oxygen we need to live.

As we exhale hear the wind in Sister Pine's branches as she gathers in the CO2 she needs to live.

Take a few more deep imaging breaths. We are joined with Sister Pine. Our waste air is her source of life. Her waste air is ours.

As she grows, Sister Pine's roots spread further and further in the earth and her crown, the tip of her trunk plunges deeper and deeper into heaven. Her branches spread further and further, gathering and storing the energy of the sun.

As her upper branches spread and grow, they shade her lower branches. Deprived of the life-giving sun, the lowest branches die and dry and wait...

a gift of sun's energy stored as resin and firewood for us to harvest.

For countless years, women of this hemisphere have gathered these gifts from Sister Pine to kindle their hearths.

Hearth; center of home, center of heat, center of cooking, center of nourishment; heart of life... Hearth. Heart... Hearth. Heart... Hearth. Heart.

For generations, women have placed the tiniest of Sister Pine's twigs around a glowing ember. We have fanned flames of life into life.

By adding bigger twigs and small sticks, the flames dance higher.

(Sing: Rise up oh flame, by thy light glowing. Show to us beauty, vision and joy.)

For a lasting fire we call on bigger sticks and logs of oak and maple, hickory and ash, cherry and birch. What gifts do we bring to this hearth today? As you receive your name tag, please step forward , add a stick to the fire and name a gift that, like Sister Pine, you offer to this day.

Composing with Noah's home-made turkey quill pen

Saturday, March 9, 2013


   Suiting up.
  Ready to work the hives.
 Frames with foundation in a hive super.
 Frame with capped honey
 Frames from a dead hive.
 Dead bees...
 from the frame.
 A closer view.
Making bee puppets
Tal & Ela
RX books on beekeeping