Birthin’ Them Babies and vegan snacks for college kids

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 – 15thSmall 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 Critters:

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.

Bon Appetite!


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

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Podcasts arrive and we Visualize Whirled Peas – the News from Blue Rock Station

At Blue Rock Station we think about sustainable living every single day. In the mornings Jay and I sit by the warm wood stove and talk about the world’s slow walk towards sustainable living, and this year we decided to take those talks to another level by creating a series of podcasts and soon-to-arrive webinars. This is our way of beginning a conversation with all of you – asking you to join us in our walk towards a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle.

To look at a preview of what Blue Rock Station’s new on-line home looks like visit us at http://www.bluerockstation.com.  And, there’s a special video message from us to you. It’s all just waiting for you to listen, learn and join with us in a new way of living.

Plus, you can join Carie Starr and me online every January weekday morning (except New Year’s Day) for a 7:30 am Coffee & Talk: Ask the Woman Expert – 30 minutes of insights into simple solutions for farm challenges, interviews with other women in agriculture and an occasional big laugh. To sign up, send a note with your email address to annie@bluerockstation.com.   #womengrowohio  #bluerockstation #ilovegoats #goatsatbluerockstation

IT’S THE HOLIDAYS!

While many of you will already be finished with your shopping, some of you may need a sustainable gift idea. Get in touch with us to put together a personalized gift – here are just a few ideas:

  • A special tour of Blue Rock Station
  • The Business of Goat Herding (Hot off the press)
  • A cheese making weekend (or consulting, personal cooking class or eBooks on goat health or business)
  • A scholarship for a solar installer class

You can learn more about how to create your holiday gift, or daily life at Blue Rock Station by visiting us at http://www.bluerockstation.com

 

Where you can find us for solar training:

The January class at Zane State College is pretty much sold out, but plenty of spaces available in our next class in March in Marietta, OH.  For more information on this class, visit our new “sister” site at http://www.solarpvtraining.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

  • January 2nd: Annie and Carie Starr – 7:30 am Coffee & Talk: Ask a Woman Expert online with Women Grow Ohio Online
  • January 5th: Open House Tour 1 pm to 3 pm
  • January 6th: Fast Food Cooking Class noon to 3 pm (only six slots available) (no charge but you will be asked to bring some ingredients for one of the three soups, two salads or omelettes) Sign up with Annie at annie@bluerockstation.com.
  • January 7th – 11th:   Solar Installer certification class, Zane State College, Zanesville OH
  • 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

  • February 8th – 10th: Level II Solar Designer Class roll out – open to only six students (must have attended Level 1 class), Greencastle IN
  • February 15th: Roll out of new BRS online video training – cheese making, solar installation, and more. Check the BRS closer to the date for more details.
  • February 16th; Healthy Fast Food noon to 3 pm Free School (no charge for this vegan class but you will be asked to bring some ingredients for one of the three soups, two salads or the dessert) Sign up with Annie at annie@bluerockstation.com.

March

  • 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 – 15thSmall 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 30th: Build Your Own Solar Generator – Architects, engineers and more. Marietta OH

The Critters:

All of the goats, like a lot of humans I know, have recently caught a cold.

I feel like I’m the playground monitor each morning, wiping runny noses after I have fed them their “snack.”  Each day I check them, evaluating snotty noses, coughs (loose or constant) and more.   They get kelp, Vitalerbs, Herbiotic, garlic, and chewable vitamin C.

So far it seems like we’re winning, but now my big concern is “Will I get their cold?”  This catching cold thing might work both ways.   This morning I told them that I can’t get sick for two more weeks.  I just have too much to do.  And as usual, they just stared at me. No sympathy.  Can you imagine?

Food, the Heart of Sustainability:

I truly hate freezer vegetables.  But I’ve finally found a way to eat them, and make them taste really delicious.   First, I saute them (zucchini, eggplant, squash, green beans etc.) in sesame oil, with garlic and whatever else I like – onions might be good.   Next add some spice – I like curry, cayenne, salt, pepper, gram masala or whatever tastes good to you.

When the veggies are cooked through, but not too done, I add some pressed and chopped extra firm tofu. When that’s heated through, I scoop everything into the Nutri-Bullet, add a little rice or coconut milk and give it a whirl. When it’s finished, I could take it to the next level by adding some nuts, but either way it is extra delicious spooned over rice pasta, noodles, or eaten with naan or tortillas (used as as a scoop).

Bon Appetite!

Words that Guided:

Just for today I am going to imagine world peace. Now there’s a thought worth contemplating isn’t it?

Happy New Year from all of us at Blue Rock Station,  Annie, Jay

Cadeau, Sophie, Reenie, Dharma, Ralphie, Nikki, Shiela, the goats, chickens, Petunia Pea Fowl and all of the BRS wild life send the same good wishes

Kindest Regards, Annie

Pregnant Goats Hiding From Hunters – News from Blue Rock Station

December News from Blue Rock Station:

It’s time for our annual vacation from consumption; “Thanks for Nothing” season.   On December 1st we began our sixth year of spending four months on a holiday from consumption.  No shopping for anything. Watch for our end of December newsletter video with news about BRS.

For now the holiday presents are waiting to be wrapped, and the calendar is full of appointments for filming the new workshop videos. The plans for Yule are almost finished, and the Christmas popper supplies are ready to be assembled. I haven’t decided how I will decorate this year – I’m more interested in creating some new dried flower/weed decorations and perhaps adding to the Yule party photo booth costumes by making some fake reindeer antlers.

The goats are getting ready for January – a month that will be filled with healthy kids coming into this world.  If you’d like to join me for some goat midwife lessons tell your loved ones to purchase that for you for a holiday gift.  We’re anxious for milking season to begin again, so we can finish the cheese making video workshop webinar.

Business trips to speak at conferences, and consulting to help new farmers form their plans for putting together a way to make a living are all on the agenda. The holiday spirit is upon us with decorations, parties and gifts.  And each year we think the winter months will be slow and peaceful.  My how we delude ourselves.

IT’S THE HOLIDAYS!

While many of you will already be finished with your shopping, some of you may need a sustainable gift idea. Get in touch with us to put together a personalized gift that can include:

  • A special tour of Blue Rock Station
  • Two days of goat midwife lessons
  • Tours for the entire family
  • High tea at the Overlook
  • A cheese making weekend (or consulting, personal cooking class or eBooks on goat health or business)
  • A day at BRS for goat kidding season (Jan. 17 to 25th)

  • A scholarship for a solar installer class
  • A day of living life at BRS with chores, lunch prep and a fun activity (to be decided together)
  • Or create your own with tiny house weekends, Earthship 101 planning days, and much more. All gifts will include a post card of either the BRS animals or buildings (you choose) and we can send a hand written note or you can use one of the post cards to describe the gift you’re giving. Let us know your budget and we will be happy to find a way for you and your loved ones to connect with us.

You can learn more about how to create your holiday gift, or daily life at Blue Rock Station by visiting the Blue Rock Station blog at https://bluerockstation.wordpress.com/.

Where you can find us for solar training:

There are still a couple of slots for the January class at Zane State College in January in Zanesville OH.   If you need a place to stay during the class, please be in touch with us for recommendations, or perhaps we will have a sleeping cabin available. You can 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.

December

  • December 1st:   Release of the book The Business of Goats by Annie Warmke and Carie Starr

  • December 12th: Join Annie and Carie at the PA Women in Agriculture Network Women Growing Justice Conference at Chatham University’s Eden Hall Gibsonia PA .
  • December 15th:   Release of the new Blue Rock Station podcast series

January

  • January 1st:   Release of the book Solar Installation and Design Level II
  • January 5th: Open House Tour 1 pm to 3 pm
  • January 7th – 11th:   Solar Installer certification class, Zane State College, Zanesville 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.

The Critters:

The goats definitely hate all of this rainy weather. Each morning they remain in their nighttime resting places, waiting for me to appear and magically bring sunshine. To top it off, it’s deer hunting season, complete with loud noises coming from the holler and the woods. Tomorrow I plan to keep the goats shut in the barn yard.  Although I don’t look forward to the giant load of soil-producing manure I will be faced with the next day, I don’t want to take a chance on some inattentive hunter deciding that one of them is a deer. The hunters this morning kept pulling off of the road and watching the goats in the pasture.   Makes me wonder if they really know what a deer looks like.    After seeing the parade of pickup trucks on the road, I decided not to take any chances for the rest of the week.

Food, the Heart of Sustainability:

This past month I’ve been busy working on creating a cheese making video.  This got me thinking about how to preserve cheese. Let’s say someone gifts you a big chunk of cheese, or your favorite kind of cheese is on special at your local market, or you have the good luck to buy up a bunch of cheese ends at the meat/cheese counter.  I like to slice the cheese into small bite-size pieces and place them into a clean jar.  I add balsamic or apple cider vinegar or olive oil with garlic cloves and tighten the lid.  After about a week, the cheese chunks will be infused with a delightful winter flavor and ready to use as salad toppings, scalloped potato flavoring or – well, use your imagination. If the cheese stays covered with the liquid, it will last in the refrigerator nearly forever. Bon Appetite!

Words that Guided:

Just for today I will tell myself that I am sorry for not loving myself enough, and then think about one way I could do better.

Kindest Regards, Annie

Visit us on the Airwaves

We are having a grand time creating podcasts.  Actually Jay was rather reluctant but once he did a couple of them with me, he was sold.  You can hear the podcasts at http://www.bluerockstation.com or listen on the radio at WOUB AM Studio B (When the Biomass Hits the Wind Turbine Show), and WGRN (Arriving at Blue Rock Station).  We’re having fun with Chris Luers as our producer (Barking Frog Media) putting together the audio shows about life as we see it.  Stay tuned for more including online webinars plus two new books.

Recording these shows with Jay has been quite informative.  First of all, it’s clear that he makes me laugh more often then I realized.  Yes, he is funny, but on the air he is extra humorous.

Secondly I realize that lots of the things we’re doing in our life together would be interesting to me even if it wasn’t us talking about preserving food, solar energy, and safe travel…

You’ll find more information in those podcasts then you could ever imagine.  I hope you’ll listen to one or two, and let us know what you think.

The Critters:
The new peacock and his hen arrived with great fanfare. The chickens were immediately intimidated by the long peacock tail and huddled together as I carried him down through the field to the hen house.  Over time though they all figured out how to live together, and then a raccoon tore through two layers of wire to brutally kill Mr. Peabody.  In a short time we had all grown to admire and respect his grandeur and abilities.  Penelope, his mate was at a loss without him, but she continued her daily supervision of Laura Nein’s 4th grade class chicks, and still went on her own into the hen house at night.  She’s happy to report that a new Mr. Peabody and his mate, Petunia appeared suddenly this week and while I am still grieving for the grandest peacock ever, it seems like life is moving forward (in peafowl land anyway).

Food, the Heart of Sustainability:
I love potatoes… but doesn’t everybody?  One of my favorite ways to fix them this time of year is to boil them, drain and then add some course salt with pepper.  Newly dug potatoes are best for this recipe, which is often requested by returning interns.  You can’t go wrong with this easy combination.  Bon Appetite!

Words that Guided:
Just for today I will honor my own ability to make smart decisions in life…just to prove it I’m going to make a list of them.

Kindest Regards, Annie

Rebuffed Chickens and the Business of Goat Herding

September News from Blue Rock Station:

Every morning the hen, Isabella and her chicks, who live in the tiny purple chicken tractor near our bedroom window – touch my heart.  As Isabella waits to see if I will bring her some greens, her chicks rest on her back and next to her, reminding me (as if I need reminded) that everybody needs a mama.

There have been lots of young chicks, and by this I mean young people of all sexes, in our lives this summer.   Our two interns were a constant joy to share our lives with as they learned, and taught.  We also had an abundance of young people visit for field trips and tours.  They’re about to be in charge of the world – and it makes me feel confident that we’re going to be just fine.

This autumn promises to be busy as we role our the new solar installer webinars online, and prepare to publish The Business of Goat Herding book.  The Level II Solar Design and Installation book is waiting for me to finish the last edits so it can be a part of our new product line.  Check out our podcasts or register for one of our fall classes (University of Dayton Solar Installer in October and Rural Action Athens Solar Installer in November) on our website.

The news might be full of gloom and doom, but opportunity abounds.  So turn off your TV or radio (or news feed) and join us soon either in person for a tour or consult, or online to share in a great community of people who have an agenda that will keep the earth (and our souls) alive.  Stay tuned for opportunities to become a member of Blue Rock Station and enjoy our podcasts, webinars and Ask the Expert.  More to come…

Where you can find us for solar training:
There are still a couple of slots for the October class at the University of Dayton, Dayton OH  OR at Rural Action, Athens, OH. You can register at www.bluerockstation.com.

750-watt inverter working happily after the connection was fixed. Now on lighter “office duty.”

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.

September

  • September 29th-30thTiny House Weekend wrap up for winter…pound some tires, plaster a little and get her ready for the long sleep.

October

  • October 4th – 8th – Solar Installer Level 1 Certification Class, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
  • October 11th: John McIntire Library – Annie will be giving a talk on “Stories of a Woman Who Learned to Thrive – Growing through and beyond the #MeToo Experiences” 6:30 pm. Free of charge.
  • October 13th Open House Tour 1 pm to 3 pm
  • October 20thFREE SCHOOL: Join Eduardo Sandavol for the second annual Day of the Dead workshop. Learn the real history of the celebration, make some authentic food, and help set up the official Day of the Dead alter.
  • October 27th BRS Goat College afternoon…Rural Action sponsored (part of the SARE grant series).  Register early to avoid disappointment.
  • October 27thSolar Generator Workshop – at Unitarian Universalist Church in Marietta, OH

November

  • November 3rd – 4th: Earthship 101: The basics of Earthship building and living plus stay over in a strawbale cabin
  • November 5th – 9th: Solar Installer Certification Workshop – Rural Action, Athens, OH
  • November 10th Open House Tour 1 pm to 3 pm
  • November 17th:   Learn to be an Activist in today’s world – BRS Free School – register by emailing annie@bluerockstation.com

The Critters:  

Henry (pronounced “on ree”) is quite a wonder.  While still a young chick, he decided he wanted to live at the barn.  Each morning he greets me at the chicken chalet gate, so he can walk with me to the milk room. Patiently he waits while I muck out the barn yard, and then he jumps onto the feed bin with a cute little coo, asking for food. I can point my finger to anything and he comes to see what is of interest. And, now he’s been practicing his crowing. Hoping to impress the ladies, who he just discovered this week.  As the parade of hens came under the chalet gate, Henry’s world has turned upside down.  Unfortunately he hasn’t figured out he has to dance to win their approval, so when he runs after them they turn and fight as if they’re roosters.  He’s had his heart broken, and perhaps his ego damaged, each morning.  He walks with me back to the milk room with his head bowed.

Food, the Heart of Sustainability:

There are still lots of delicious tomatoes available at farms and markets. Pack them into cool jars, add a little salt and place them in boiling water for about 40 minutes.   It’s that easy. Or make up a big batch of sliced/diced tomatoes of various colors, add salt, pepper, and some fresh herbs (parsley, basil, thyme) and enjoy as a salad.  But save enough for later in the week to put on top of a baked potato, a bean salad, or coleslaw.   Bon Appetite!

Words that Guided:

Just for today I will speak the truth in the kindest way possible, but I will speak the truth about something that’s needed to be said.

Kindest Regards, Annie

Crack Technology

Something new has invaded Blue Rock Station.

For years we have welcomed interns into our home/business/life.  The experience has been wonderful for us and we hope a great learning experience for the interns.  We work hard during the day, and typically the evenings are filled with conversation, music and staring out over the hills and letting the mind rest.  Often the interns sit outside and write letters to friends and relatives.  Actual pen and paper letters.

But in the past few years this idyllic scene has changed a bit.  The interns have brought with them a mental parasite;  a rectangle that consumes their attention, their conversation, their ability to think clearly.  The rectangle has gobbled up resources, time and joy.

As I write this, I am listening to NPR.  They are telling a story of how high school kids have been asked to give up their phones for a day.  Twenty-four entire hours without the rectangle.  You would have thought their entire family had been killed in a plane crash or they were being asked to walk a dozen miles barefoot across broken glass.

We have tried to limit interns access to the phone here at Blue Rock Station.  But like addicts everywhere, they need their fix and when unwatched, are shooting up with Facebook and Instagram.  We turn off the broadband receiver – and suddenly there are errands that must be run at places with free wi-fi.

I am not sure what solution lies undiscovered.  I just know this addiction to crack technology is damaging and widespread.  I see students on college campuses walking in groups – but they are not together.  They are each focused on their rectangle as they walk in front of cars – oblivious the the world around them and their “friends” in the “real” world.

Why wait for the zombie apocalypse?  It is already here.

Eleonore Buried Along With Her Name

News from Blue Rock Station:

The snow is piled high against the house and it seems hard to believe that in just a few days it will be March.  The worst of winter will surely be over.   We shouldn’t complain, however, as there’s been an abundance of sunshine this winter season.  The sunshine does make extra work for us, since we feel duty bound to keep the solar array clear of snow.

And if the end of February approaching isn’t exciting enough, there’s the release of Jay’s new book ASSEMBLING A SOLAR GENERATOR.  That might not sound like best seller material (true, Steven King is probably not too worried), but we are pretty thrilled with the idea that one small book has the power to help lots of folks create a solar collector in a box they can haul around their house when the electricity is out.  Or when they need power outdoors, or they just want to challenge themselves to use less… all that and odorless, quiet and dependable. Check it out at our website, www.bluerockstation.com

A reporter from the FARM AND DAIRY JOURNAL braved the snow and joined us for an afternoon a few days ago.    Apparently they had held an editorial meeting and created a list of the most influential women in Ohio agricultural and I ended up on the short list.  For the life of me I can’t imagine how that happened since I can think of at least a half a dozen women who should have knocked me down a peg or two on their list.  Now I’m anxious to see what they write, since I’m sure I’m their new poster child for “liberal” women farm producers.

All of the discussion of women in agriculture got me to thinking that what we really need to do is to bring women farm producers together to see what we look like.   There are more then 3,600 women farm producers in Ohio and yet we are apparently quite invisible.   Shawn Fiegelist (City Folk’s Farm Shop) listened to my rant on this subject and now we’re going to put together a little summer farm tour to showcase women’s hard work in farming and homesteading. Perhaps something good is coming out of that afternoon with the FARM & DAIRY reporter after all.


Upcoming Workshops from Blue Rock Station:

The complete schedule for 2015 is, as always, posted at www.bluerockstation.com.  To register for the courses at City Folks Farm Shop, visit their site at www.cityfolksfarmshop.com.

February:

  • February 28th-March 1st (and the next two weekends): Solar Installation Certification Class (Columbus OH) co-sponsored by Simply Living and City Folks Farm Shop. This is the same 5-day solar certification course, but broken into 3 weekend sessions for those who can’t take an entire week off. (SOLD OUT)

March:

  • March 7thCheese Making – Columbus at City Folks Farm Shop (just a couple of slots left)
  • March 7th & 8th: (Columbus OH) Second Weekend Solar Installation certification class co-sponsored by Simply Living and City Folks Farm Shop
    (SOLD OUT)
  • March 14thGoat College: Goats Hands-on Experience – Columbus at City Folks Farm Shop (sold out last month and only a couple of slots left)
  • March 14th &15th: Third (final) weekend Solar Installation certification class co-sponsored by Simply Living and City Folks Farm Shop
    (SOLD OUT)
  • March 17thRecycling in the Garden – Columbus at City Folks Farm Shop
  • March 28th: Earthship and Sustainable Farm Tour (Spring Equinox)
  • March 29thGoat College at Blue Rock Station – a full day of goat school, lunch and a little cheese making

The Critters:

There’s a heaven for goats and Eleonore Rigby is eating everything in sight.  And no doubt she has pushed the pearly gates open to check out the grass on the other side.

On Saturday I left the OEFFA conference early because I felt like I just had to get home.  When we arrived, Eleonore was waiting by the barn wall beckoning me to hurry to do chores.  I led her into the barn with her feed, and she fell to her knees.  As she ate, I managed to get a heavy vest on her to help her stay warm.  But when I cam back with some water, it was clear she had decided she was ready to leave Blue Rock Station Green Living Center.

I settled her on the hay and covered her with more vests and got some water into her.  She closed her eyes and rested.  For a while I laid down with her as the bitter wind blew outside of the stall, and I kissed her nose each time she opened her eyes to look at me.  Her children and grandchildren came to say goodbye and give me courage with their nudges, and then she left me.

At the beginning of the winter I told her that if she was going to die this year, could she please do it by going to sleep and not waking up, rather than by getting sick (she was 13 years old , which is ancient for a goat).  I am glad she honored my request.  I am also grateful for all of the years she taught me about goats.

Just last week she snuck into the milk room to see me, nudging me, then licking her lips to tell me in her own regal way that she wanted to eat.  I kissed her on the nose that day and thanked her for teaching me so many things in this life.  Just a reminder, which goats are good at, that it’s never good to miss an opportunity to be grateful, no matter what the situation.  She may be gone, but she is  still with me …she will always be with me.  True friends are forever.

Words that Guided:

Just for today, I will remember to be grateful for the smallest moments…thank you Eleonore Rigby for reminding me .

Kindest Regards, Annie