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

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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