Monday, February 1, 2010

Farm Share Program -- update

 Hi All!

Seems my post was somewhat confusing, so I’m writing this to simplify and clarify the Farm Share Program.

We are looking for assistance in funding The Farm at The Garden.

4 Goats, 25 Chickens, 10 Ducks, 2 Rabbits and 3 Bee Hives will come under our care this Spring.    Each of these creatures requires food, equipment, shelter and fencing to keep them cared for and protected.  Our biggest expense, at this point, is fencing.  We must use electric fencing, not just to keep them in, but primarily to keep other critters out!  (Coyotes, bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, weasels, fischers, raccoons, hawks and many others would love to have some of our creatures for a wonderful snack!)   For the amount of space these animals and insects need to be comfortably maintained, we need a minimum of 3, 164’ electric fences at approximately $200 each and two energizers at $150 each -- so approximately $900 for fencing.  For the barn we will mainly be using materials readily available here on the land, will will need some additional lumber, hardware and a pond liner for the roof AND we may need to hire someone with a backhoe to level the area and move some stone etc.  We will need wood for the bee hives.  We will be building Warre top bar hives, with observation windows, most natural way to keep bees.  We need to build a duck house & rabbit hutches.  In the Fall or early next Spring we will need to build a milking area and have a milking stand for the goats.  You get the picture, as with any venture, there’s always an initial outlay of money, time and energy that gets returned later.

Ok, so here’s how it works... To fund the Farm at The Garden you contribute a $ amount (any amount is great, and it would be helpful to start at $100, for bookkeeping purposes).  You get get paid back from the bounty that The Farm produces, including but not limited to:  Eggs, Milk, Cheese, Rabbit, Honey, Mushrooms, Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers, Herbs and Herbal Products (medicinal teas, tinctures, syrups and other potions... culinary vinegars, oils, horseradish and more)

Some of the bounty available from The Farm at The Garden:

-- chives, rhubarb, asparagus, thyme, peas, lettuce (next spring milk & cheese!)

Summer -- all kinds of veggies, fruits (strawberries, currents, gooseberries, bush cherries, blueberries, raspberries), tons of herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, chives, egyptian onions, tarragon, mint, lemon balm and much more), flowers, bug repellent

Fall -- eggs, honey, potatoes, garlic, jerusalem artichokes, veggies, apples, herbs, flowers, horseradish, teas, tinctures, tonics

Winter -- eggs, honey, potatoes, garlic, squash, teas, tinctures, tonics, syrups, soap

So in other words, we are asking you to prepay an amount toward future food so that we have the starting capital to fund this expansion toward greater self sustainability.

Here’s what we have:
We have the rabbits & their temporary cages
We have the chickens paid for
We have 2 hives paid for
We have 4 goats in process of being paid for
Honey extractor
Sink for the barn
Windows for the barn
Duck Fencing for the lake
Meal worms for the Chicken
Red Worms for the Chickens & Garden

What The Garden needs:
Electric Fence and Energizers
1 more hive (approx $200)
Ducks paid for (approx $75)
Feeders & Waterers for Goats, Chickens & Ducks
Fence stakes
Rustic Door
Pond bubbler for ducks
Beekeeping equipment
Pond liner for barn living roof

What we need to build:
Bee hives
Duck house
Rabbit hutches
Barn (to house goats, rabbits and chickens, also storage)

ALSO -- Please NOTE!

We will be building our barn in April using ancient (now considered alternative) building methods.  Using all materials from our land here we will create a log structure with wattle and daub walls and a living roof!  We will be working on the barn the last two weekends in April -- April 23-25 and April 30-May 2 and the week in between. Overnite accommodations and food provided.  We’d love to have your help!

PS  Oh, and did I tell you that we’ve been “Certified Naturally Grown”?  It’s a self-policing organization that gives certification to those growing organically (without the high fees and paperwork).  CNG has 700 farms nationwide and is rapidly growing.

So looking forward to this community creation — can’t do it without you!  Love & Blessings...  Rachel

Farm Share - Phase I

Farm Share at The Garden
Invest in a small farm enterprise and get paid back in FOOD! 

Beginning this Winter/Spring 2010 we are expanding our self-sustainability dreams into reality by starting a farm here at The Garden!  As you may well know, we have extensive flower, herb, vegetable and small fruit gardens already established here in Rensselaerville and we have been guided to add small livestock to our expansion.  Your share will allow us to get the stock, barn supplies and fencing needed to get things off the ground.  In return you get paid back through the food we produce. This will allow us to help people, like yourself, find, learn about and consume good, clean food, and if you desire, learn how to do it for yourself!  After the Farm has been established and everyone paid back, we will be using the production from the farm for our guests and workshop attendees here at The Garden and creating a multi-farm CSA.  

We begin with American Chinchilla Rabbits, a rare, heritage breed rabbit.  We’ve been lucky to get a breeding pair that are unrelated (hard to do in the rare animal world).

Buff Orpington Chickens and Khaki Campbell Ducks will be here at the end of April --  both are known for their eggs laying and meat production.

Goats in mid-May (as long as the barn is done -- see below) will be bred in the Fall for kids next Spring.  So next year, milk and cheese!

Bees will be coming at the end of May and honey will be harvested in the Fall.

Farm Share
$100 and up
Return in milk, cheese, eggs (chicken & duck), rabbit and honey

Animal Share
Chickens -- $25 -- return 7 dozen eggs
Ducks -- $36 -- return 6 dozen eggs
(duck eggs are twice the size of chicken eggs!)
Rabbits -- $100 -- return in meat, pelts or pets
Goats -- $150 -- return in milk and/or cheese
Bees -- $200 -- return in honey

About your contribution: 

        *  You can donate and get a tax write off
        *  You can buy a farm/animal share and be paid back as funds permit       
        *  You can buy a farm/animal share and be paid back with the fruits of our labors (at fmv)

Call or email me for a Contract!  (518) 797-3373
Thank you & Blessings...  Rachel
(We can take cash, checks or credit cards for your Farm/Animal Share)

ALSO -- Please NOTE!

We will be building our barn in April using ancient (now considered alternative) building methods.  Using all materials from our land here we will create a log structure with wattle and daub walls and a living roof!  We will be working on the barn the last two weekends in April -- April 23-25 and April 30-May 2 and the week inbetween. Overnite accommodations and food provided.  We’d love to have your help! 

PS  Oh, and did I tell you that we’ve been “Certified Naturally Grown”?  It’s a self-policing organization that gives certification to those growing organically (without the high fees and paperwork).  CNG has 700 farms nationwide and is rapidly growing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Energy Within

The Energy Within

Finding balance in the synergistic eco-system we create with Nature

Winter is the time to celebrate the harvest and take stock of our accomplishments. How did our year’s experiences impact our relationships with our Self, family, friends, community and environment; what worked and what needs changing? Nature has a built in reflection period. Trees and plants go dormant while animals and other creatures hibernate or are recycled. The things that didn’t work in Nature do not return, those parts of Nature’s existence that do work, continue.

How do we get so out of touch with what works in our own lives? We are intrinsically tied to the natural world, our physical bodies are designed to be in harmony with the cycles of nature. Our challenge, as a society and culture, is our lost sense of that connection. We haven’t actually lost the connection, that’s an impossibility, but we have lost the sense or the feeling of being connected. Connection goes by many names, some call it community, some call it energy, some call it love, some God, Great Spirit, Everything, Nothing. The name itself matters not, it’s the feeling that compels us to search.

What does Connection do for us? It allows us to know when to rest, when to move forward, when to eat, when to sleep, it puts us in touch with what we really need to be happy and healthy. Look at a infant or a child, they sleep when they’re tired, even if it means face down in the mashed potatoes. They want to eat when they’re hungry, never mind the clock. They will automatically gravitate to what feels good to them and is best for their wellbeing.

What does Connection feel like? It’s a belonging, it’s an alignment, it’s having a sense of place, it’s a feeling of peace. How do we create and then recreate that feeling of Connection? Reconnecting with Nature will bring us back to that feeling of connection and help us to understand our place in the world.

Try this exercise:
Focus on one aspect of nature, choose whatever appeals to you in this moment. If you are feeling quiet and contemplative you might focus on water; a lake, a stream, a droplet, a storm. Sit or stand and focus your attention on that water, take a few deep breaths and settle your body, your mind and emotions. If you are having trouble doing this, bring the things that are bothering you up in your mind and send them into the water, let them flow away if there’s a current, or let them dissolve and dissipate. Keep releasing the thoughts and emotions that are distracting you until they wind down, this may take you more than one session of quietness. Concentrate on the water and feel it. Imagine it’s coolness, smoothness, how you feel after you’ve been in the water, clean and clear. As you do this, you will relax more and more and begin to feel peaceful. Breathe in the peacefulness of the water and as you do feel it clear you, clean you and balance your entire system. Feel the connection to the water and all of Nature. Bring this steady energy into your life.
Maybe your connection with Nature is through a different aspect, perhaps the air, then connect with the wind or the coldness of the air. Try the earth, plants, flowers, solidness and strength or fire, the sun, flames, movement. Or perhaps you respond best to a combination of these elements… the crisp scent of a fall day, the crunch of leaves, a light breeze on your face while the sun warms your back. Do whatever works for you.
This exercise will give you a powerful connection to whatever aspect of Nature you feel aligned with and with a little practice you can call up that feeling of connection by focusing on the element or elements any time you feel disconnected or out of balance. So take time over this period of quiet reflection to feel the Energy Within, find your connection with your Self, your people and your world.

Rachel Ginther, Alchemist, FSE
Currently Rachel produces 500+ Vibrational/Flower Essences & Aromatherapy products for spiritual evolution and provides fertile ground and sanctuary for those seeking personal growth through her holistic retreat and learning center, The Garden at Thunder Hill ~ A Center for Spiritual Evolution. New for 2010 ~ Sustainability Retreats! ~ Tel: (518) 797-3373