January News from Blue Rock Station:
We’re smack dab in the middle of “Thanks for Nothing Season” and we seem to barely have time to breathe. Not exactly going according to plan. The idea is to take a break from consumption during the winter months – which should (at least it has in the past) also include a bit of quiet time. I’m not complaining though because it’s all pretty darn interesting.
It’s apparent that we’ve figured out how to avoid taking a break the entire year. We have managed to save big projects for that time of year when (we tell ourselves) we will “have a bit of time to focus on them.” So we have saved things like webinars, the writing of books, course development, podcasts and the like for cold weather. Plus there’s no lack of interesting friends stopping by for a visit – now that the tours and other events are waiting on warmer weather. We’re not going to pass up quality time with friends, that’s for sure.
Personally I think some of this frenzy is that we are in a transition phase with our work. We’ve experienced this before when we moved from holding week-long straw bale builds to focusing on other aspects of sustainable living. Now we seem to be transitioning from teaching and talking in front of people to spending more time in the even more remote virtual world. This evolution gives us an opportunity to reach a lot more folks plus capture some of the ideas and concepts into a form that may last more than just a brief conversation.
The goats are contributing as much chaos as possible to the season. This morning when I went up to do chores before heading off to town for errands (I haven’t left the farm in over a week), Pinkie showed me she was in early labor. She’s a bit early according to my calendar of birthing dates, so she apparently decided it was time to mess up my plans and focus me on birthing prep instead. So I canceled the trip to town and spent an hour or so preparing for her labor – which promptly stopped as soon as I was ready. And so it goes with goats.
Where you can find us for solar training:
Join us for an Overview of Solar (for people interested in learning more or earning CEUs for their professional licensing) January 25th in Marietta, OH. The next week-long solar installer certification class is March 18-22 in Marietta Ohio. Register at www.bluerockstation.com
Upcoming Workshops at Blue Rock Station:
Check out some of our other upcoming classes. Please register early because all of our events have limited space.
- January week days: Join Annie and Carie Starr of Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch for Coffee & Talk: Ask the Woman Experts 7:30 am. Contact Annie for how to access the podcasts that feature farm women, market managers, and how to find the right piece of land.
- January 25th: Introduction to Solar Electric – Great for architects, homeowners, business owners – Marietta, OH
- January 26th: Free School: Nurturing the Activist in Me: Join Annie Warmke and Melissa Ayotte (1 pm to 4 pm) to discover some of the basics of how to use some of that energy generated by today’s news to make changes in your everyday life, or the life in your family and community. Free School registration is required by contacting Annie Warmke. Only six spaces available for this hands-on fun afternoon.
- February 8th – 10th: Level II Solar Designer Class roll out – open to only six students (must have attended Level 1 class), Greencastle IN. Contact us if you are interested. This is a beta class with a special price for attendees.
- February 16th: Free School: The Accidental Activist – learn how to take what you know and turn it into a way to make changes in your neighborhood or community.
- March 6th: Farm Animal Concern Trust (FACT) webinar online 2 pm – 3 pm EST. Annie shares Setting the Course for making a living with your farm or homestead.
- March 9th: Cheesemaking with Annie 1 pm to 4 pm
- March 11th – 15th: Small Wind Installation Certification five-day class, Zane State College, Zanesville, OH
- March 16th: Goat College 1 to 5 pm
- March 18th – 22nd: Solar Electric Installer Certification class, Marietta, OH
- March 24th: Join Annie in Columbus OH at the Garden Coach Homestead for a Healthy Fast Food afternoon; 1 pm to 4 pm.
- March 30th: Build Your Own Solar Generator – Architects, engineers and more. Marietta OH
The goats definitely hate all of this snow – me too. We are all (the herd and I) ready for spring, and winter’s just begun. This is “kidding” week with five of our six dairy goats due to deliver healthy babies. Pinkie is definitely in labor as I write this, but she’s still chewing her cud and particular about how I touch her rear end (both signs she is not yet in full labor), so the real work hasn’t begun in earnest just yet.
This time of the year, for me anyway, is exciting and stressful. Waiting for the labor to begin, making sure everybody survives and thrives along the way – it’s a full time job. It’s also a marvel to think that in a matter of minutes, one of those beautiful does is simply standing in the stall, looking me in the face, and then a new life appears calling to its mama. It struggles to its feet and tries to find the milk that doe has miraculously produced. And it begins again. Breathing, eating, resting, play – birth again and then, if we’re all lucky, a long time until death. I hold that vision all day long, and when I wake up at night. I worry, sometimes cry, and always rejoice along each step.
Food, the Heart of Sustainability:
I’d forgotten how much people love peanut butter until I had 15 young men from Zane State College here for afternoon tea and to talk about solar energy. The tea box containing a variety of teas and a giant hot water urn was waiting for them when they arrived. I toasted a variety of different breads on the blazing wood stove. Then I set out the giant peanut butter container along with some small dishes of honey, raisins, homemade granola, sliced bananas, diced apple (tossed in lemon juice and drained) and roasted sugared pecans. Not a single crumb was left behind – all this from guys who turned their noses up at the idea of a vegan snack.
Words that Guided:
Just for today, tell two people something you like about them. As I like to say, “Kindness costs nothing.”
Kindest Regards, Annie