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BELTANE/MAY DAY/MILK MOON

Posted in Uncategorized by hameau on the May 2nd, 2010

Beltane or May Day, the first day of summer on the Celtic calendar.  And according to tradition there was a procession: sheep first, then cows, goats and horses, to the quality of the mountain pastures.  Some my readings even included driving the animals through a fire to rid them of winter pests, lice, I’m assuming.  Here at Hameau, cows and sheep have been on grass since we saw the first green shoots, March 17, 2010, to be exact!  Yet, we pause because grass and a season of increase should be recognized.  Good, positive energy is a need for any farmer and/or farm, so SUNDAY, MAY 2nd is our OPEN HOUSE in 2010.  Bring your positive energy and help encourage a bountiful harvest. 

Day’s agenda:  12:30pm Sheepshearing, say hello to Kip, “shearer extraordinare,” he’ll interact, but his shears are sharp, so save your questions until after he is finished with each sheep, please; tours of the farm; local artisans and farmers will offer their wares–from fresh salad greens and eggs to photography and wine; 2:oo-ish, OK I admit I am a ‘groupie…’  my brother-in-law, Keith, is a member of a band (ole time rock ‘n roll) and his band, 3MO (3 months off, yes they are teachers) will rock the afternoon away.  And when they strike the chords for ‘Mustang Sally’ everyone MUST sing!  You have been forwarned…

And last, but certainly not least, Milk Moon.  We just came through it.  The full moon that falls right near Beltane is the Milk Moon.  And what a better time to celebrate the precious substance of milk.  I believe it is the original comfort food.  Consider grass is at a nutritional peak, all that good stuff going into this live-giving liquid.  (Have you read Johanna Spryri’s Heidi?)  Let’s honor the cow!

See you at the farm…   

2 Things Keep Me Warm in Winter

Posted in Uncategorized by hameau on the February 9th, 2010

1) Hameau Farm is known locally by its colorful silo (si lo: rural structure, usually found nestled near barns; a tall, rounded, sometimes concrete winter feed storage for cows).  Each girl who attends our summer program has the opportunity to add to our silo their unique signature with paint…so imagine, in snow, sleet, rain or sun as I push the door open from the milkhouse, there are brightly colored names that greet me as I do my daily chores.  And with each name there are stories and (warm) memories.  Some examples: down near the base, BONNIE, first came to the farm as a nine year old camper–an animal-lover and curious.  Lots of question and smiles later, Bonnie has been on staff for the past two years fielding questions, checking for smiles and considering a career choice that involves farm animals.   Farther up in a green square, VERITY, a five-year camper at the farm, joined our first group travelling to Scotland.  During our tour, perhaps while we were attending the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival, she and EMILY became fast friends sharing tastes in music.  The next summer they attended ‘Rock ‘n Roll Camp’ together and subsequently joined bands.  Always intriguing what new interests friends can encourage.  And then over to the right, with colorful lettering, KATJA, counselor from Germany for three summers.  I can still hear her magical laugh as she joined into the program interacting with each camper.  Katja now has a daughter of her own.  Yes, MARIE is signed up for the year 2017!  I could go on…        

2) Camp Fairs!  During the winter months I attend 12-15 of these events to spread the word about fun (and warmth) here at the farm.  An advance notice in our ‘moos’letter goes out to former campers.  And when family schedules align, what great (warm) energy occurs as we share ‘moos’ and farm experiences with each other and with new, potential Hameau farmers ’round the table!  So far we’ve been to New York City, the Washington, DC area and the Philadelphia area.  And there are still fairs remaining–Feb 16, Johns Hopkins; Feb 19, Arlington, VA; Feb 24, Alexandria,VA; Feb 27, Moorestown Friends, NJ; and Feb 28, Westtown Friends, PA–please stop by our table, feel the warmth, and plan to join us this summer.

OK, well maybe there is a 3) FLANNEL SHEETS!  My 200+ year old farm house does not have heat on the second floor.  Most nights I love this… yet there are nights in December, January and February when it is wonderful to snuggle into flannel sheets and down comforters…           

New Year New Decade

Posted in Uncategorized by hameau on the January 15th, 2010

Welcome to the blog space for Hameau Farm in the Big Valley!  Yes, it is a new year and a new decade.  And one for getting over fears.  After some needed tutelage, I’m ready to include ‘moos’ from and about the farm from time to time.

To get this blog (and perhaps year) rolling, here’s what I am choosing to celebrate:  1) Ayrshires–for you novices, these are the curious, noble, grass-adoring bovines (big, nice-sounding word for cows) ; red & white in color; and extremely hardy as they originate in Scotland (me too, many generations ago).  2) green grass–Hameau Farm is 110 acres of grass, brown and sleeping at the moment, yet the basis for my increasingly sustainable way of life.  Much more about this to come as we watch and (im)patiently wait for first siting…have you noticed the additional minutes of extra light we are receiving since winter soltice?  This is important.  And 3) family and friends–blood, of course you KNOW who you are–cultivated, the crop is ever-growing, YOU now that you have read this far in the blog…and those of you who have expereinced a Hameau moment.

Hameau?  Literally translated from French means ‘hamlet’ or cluster of buildings in a rural setting;  yes, we are rural and I admire the French concept and sound (pronounce “Ham Ohhh”) and yes, for the past 15 years we have, with our programming, developed a community.  The Hameau community is one that embraces individuality, trys new things, finds one’s voice and encourages others to find and do the same.

Again, welcome and check back for ‘moos’.