Posts Tagged ‘wood splitting’

LHG Retreat – the rest of Saturday

November 4, 2011

Saturday afternoon, we had a special guest teacher – Patricia Kyritsi Howell of Botanologos/Wild Healing Herbs.  She arrived a little early and was brave enough to immerse herself in our fun-filled group by eating lunch with all of us.

The focus for her class was medicinal herbs and concoctions for winter colds and flu.

After a marvelous, filling lunch, Patricia served us all a calming tea – very calming….

It’s a good thing she’s such a great teacher otherwise we would have all been fast asleep on the floor!

I don’t remember the herbs but I want to know what was in that tea.  I might just serve it to some of the school groups who come visit the farm!!

Photo -op!   Such beauty, such poise ….such hams!

(Dee is sniffing one of the  cough syrups that Patricia made up for us)

Lots of note taking in this class!  I love Stephanie in this pic.

I don’t know if it’s an “Oh no!” or  “Aha!”

After the fun time we had with Patricia – we needed a brain break…

See this peaceful little cabin near the woods?

Not any more!!

The ladies all went out to try their hand, or rather their feet, at walking on stilts.

A chicken fight challenge was thrown out to the crowd.

“HA HA!!,”  said Julie.  “I laugh in the face of danger!!”

Not sure what the outcome was but…

Julie was seen “stilting” her way into the woods.

Another cry for a challenge was tossed to the crowd by Cindy Bee.

“And who dares climb the insurmountable stairs of this cabin!!?”

“Like this!!”

Lynn grabbed hold of the challenge and ascended the stairs…

And soundly claimed her victory by also DESCENDING the stairs!

“Me, me next!!  I wanna try!”

“Ta Da!!!     …Quick take the picture before I fall off!!”

Okay – enough frivolity.  Back to serious business…

The logs had been cut earlier in the day – now they had to be split.

After careful instruction from Lynn, we really did place these dangerous tools in the hands of women!

They did a great job – of course 🙂

A little more instruction…

Which was, even if your axe gets stuck in the log – always look good!

Ah, the sweet feel of success!  I heard tell that these pieces of wood were going to be mounted on the wall, right next to the deer head!

The concentration….

The sheer determination…. (I mean, look at her face!)

The finesse and dexterity…

And of course the fun!  That’s what it takes to split wood with other women!

But beware – don’t mess with the teacher!!

Again, the woods surrounding were saved by the call to dinner.

We had a true Southern dinner and it was amazing!  Still a little full from lunch, I headed to the kitchen thinking I would take a “taste” of each dish.

Oh no – not hardly!  Incredible mashed potatoes, squash casserole, mac and cheese (not from a box!), butter beans, chicken and gravy (the chicken expertly picked from the carcass) and pumpkin pie for dessert!

And as with every evening meal – homemade wine from the Winey Goat (thanks Amanda!)

We talked and laughed some more, rehashed events from the day, wrote down more quotes, cleaned the kitchen and then headed down to the fire pit.

Thanks to the lumber jack crew, we had expertly stacked kindling and wood for the fire.

Anne-Marie had bread dough left over from class that morning and I suggested we get a flat rock and put it on the grate over the fire.

“Let’s put the dough on the rock and see what happens!”

It worked!!  So with a glass of wine or “apple pie”, we toasted the day and broke bread together 🙂

We stayed by the fire for a while, laughing till we cried at times.  Then slowly, the wonderful, intoxicating tiredness of a day well spent began to take over.

One by one or two by two, the ladies ascended the hill to warm, comfy beds.

A good time was had by all and the sisterhood connection of these homesteaders was knit by the learning, laughing and sharing of the day.

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Inaugural Ladies’ Homestead Gathering Retreat

October 31, 2011

I’m still basking in the memories of the retreat as they filter through my mind while I try to get back to life here on the farm.

When I sat at this table this summer, taking notes and dreaming about what it would be like to actually have a retreat focused solely on homesteading, my dreams couldn’t begin to conceive all the emotional/relational gifts that would be mine after a weekend together with like-minded women.

After my friend and I waved good-bye to the last car as it made it’s way down the mountain, re-checked all the rooms and buildings, and put our own belongings into the truck, my very good friend suggested we sit on the back porch to “breathe” before we headed down the mountain ourselves.

While we sat in the rocking chairs, breathing in the crisp fall air of dusk, surrounded by the incredible beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, we reminisced about the activities and conversations of the last 48 hours.

And then she asked me a very poignant question – Did the weekend meet the expectations I had for a Ladies’ Homestead Retreat?

Moments before we sat together on the porch, I had to make my way up the path to the Guest House to look for a walking stick that had been left behind.  In the quiet solitude and alone with my  thoughts, I had been thinking about all the “firsts” and “victories” that had happened over the weekend for these women and my heart welled with incredible emotion, almost to the point of tears.

This retreat went far beyond my expectations….

As we rocked back and forth in our weather worn rockers, I shared that with all those “firsts”  and “victories” came a sense of accomplishment when a new skill was learned; self-worth when added knowledge was given to a conversation; self-confidence when a fear was overcome or a goal successfully achieved; a belief in who they are as a person, that they matter, when hugs and words of affirmation were given after they shared a part of their “story.”

You can never ever buy or purchase those gifts for another person – you can only offer the opportunity to try and the encouragement and hand holding to let them know you believe in them with all your heart.

The cheering and the clapping resounding in the valley when one of the gals successfully split a piece of wood with an axe; the applause and “atta girl!” for the first time teacher of one of the classes; those light bulb moments when a concept or plant identification  was understood and grasped;  the “come on, you can do it!!” whether they were trucking to the top of the mountain or picking a chicken for the first time – these are the results of sisterhood, friendship, a community of like-minded women.

Time after time this weekend, my heart rejoiced as I watched each woman receive the gift of self-worth, self-confidence, “you matter.”

This was OUR weekend, we all made it happen, we all had a part in its success…

And we all shared in the joy and blessing of friendship.

In May,when I sat at that little table on the porch of a rustic log building and scribbled notes and ideas for a ladies’ homestead retreat, little did I know that the reality of those dreams would far exceed any of my expectations.

Thank you ladies, my friends, for an incredible weekend.