When she wanted to expand her business, Cobb Hill member Jeannine Killbride, founder of Cobb Hill Frozen Yogurt, turned to the local investing movement in Vermont for financing to help her obtain the equipment she needed to increase her production. Earlier this month, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund interviewed Jeannine about the process and her advice to other small-scale, food-system entrepreneurs. You can read the article here.
From gnome searching in the woods, to an easter egg hunt at the farm, to a knock-out potluck brunch, Easter was a lot of fun! It was great to see such excitement all across the hill. Afterwards, there was fun at a fort, maple syrup sap line cleaning in the woods, impromptu conversations all across the hill. It was a fabulous day at Cobb Hill!
Our local paper, the Valley News, carried a remembrance about Dana Meadows this weekend, written by Cobb Hill member, Stephen Leslie. Here's an excerpt to give you a taste. You can read the whole article here.
While Dana was deeply concerned about the future, about the generations that would follow us, she was a natural optimist. She believed in our ability to rise up together, to care for one another, to reinvent the world. And she knew from her own life experience that hope and strength have a way of building on each other once we set our intentions and create systems to put them in motion. It is 15 years ago last month that we lost Dana, but her great spirit and the power of her ideas and her vision are not lost — they are all around us.
See more in
OPERATE FROM LOVE. One is not allowed to say that seriously any more. Anyone who calls upon the human capacity for love, generosity, wisdom, will be met with a hail of cynicism. “Of all scarce resources, love is the scarcest,” I have heard people say.
I just don’t believe that. Love is not a scarce resource, it is an untapped one. Our jazzed-up, hustling, quantitative culture does not know how to tap it, how to discuss it, or even what it means.Read More
The second annual Cobb Hill Prom happened last weekend - timed perfectly to break up the winter season. Cobb Hill teens Nora, Gretta, and Jenna invented the idea last year and brought it back this year, with glittery confetti, blue and white streamers, dozens of balloons, and a chocolate fountain! I think it's fair to say it was the first prom for Caleb and Maeli who are getting a jump on prom-going before entering pre-school! It was fun to see just how fancy my Cobb Hill neighbors can look when they shed their farm clothes and winter gear - check out a few photographic highlights:
Cobb Hill member Jenna Rice, one of the group of young adults who have grown up at Cobb Hill, is on a gap year between high school and college. She's using part of that time to build a small, energy efficient home on wheels. After spending the fall months designing the house and picking out the manufacturer of the high energy efficiency panels the house is made of, Jenna visited the factory to watch the assembly of her house and made a time-lapse video.
A week or so later the house arrived, in the midst of a snowstorm.
You can read more about the house and Jenna's other projects on her blog.
Cobb Hill member and forester, Bill Stack, has been working in part of our woods this winter. His project is part of a Natural Resources Conservation Service grant that is helping defray some of the costs of forest stand improvement. Bill is thinning out some trees in order to 'release' others, especially those with potential for providing timber, enhancing aesthetics, increasing biodiversity, creating wildlife habitats, or producing fruits & seeds that nourish wildlife. Some of the trees felled will be used for firewood, others for growing shiitake mushrooms, and the rest will eventually decompose helping improve our water and soil resources in the forest. The two photographs below shows views of one small section of the six acre project, before and after the selective thinning.
Tending the forest in a community asks the forester to be teacher, naturalist, consensus-builder and listener, as well as tree expert. These few sentences from an email Bill sent round before getting to work gives a good sense of the many things a true community forester needs to keep in mind:
"Heads up if you are out this way and hear the chainsaw. If you have favorite trees that you want to keep in this area let me know. Happy to visit with you if you are out in the woods as well."
This week we are having our first real taste of winter at Cobb Hill, with snow on the ground (finally!) cold sparkling nights and blue sky days. It inspired me to set out this afternoon with my camera to see if I could capture a little bit of the beauty of it all.
More than a year in the process of writing and representing twenty years of practical experimentation, Stephen's newest book, Horse-Powered Farming for the 21st Century has just been released. It builds upon his first book about animal power in the small farm The New Horse Powered Farm, and includes contributions from dozens of farmers working with horse power in the US and Europe.Read More
This Sunday we had a great treat. Instead of two or three adults volunteering to cook, the seven and eight year olds offered to cook a feast for us all (they had a bit of help from Jenna and Coleen). They planned the meal, cooked for a group of around 40 people, and helped with clean up. it was a great meal of burritos with ice cream cone cupcakes! Fun was had by all (in the cooking and the eating). Huge thanks to the cooks!!!
On December 13th, we celebrated St. Lucia's Day with pastries for breakfast, a roaring fire in the den and a very special visitor. This Swedish tradition comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden.