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Treleven in August

20 Oct

Tiny garden, huge output. Despite the many ground hog families living nearby, the little kitchen garden kept all three families on the farm well supplied during the summer.  Salad greens, herbs, flowers, kale, chard, peas, beans, beets, broccoli, kohlrabi, zucchini, butternut, and acorn squash, hot and sweet peppers, eggplants, and of course, many varieties of tomato. We were grateful to Ethan and Susannah who returned from Switzerland in time to run the farm while Cheryl and Don walked the 102 miles Cotswold Way. Treleven has a flock of sheep, the Cotswolds

Summer's Bounty

Summer’s Bounty

had thousands, all kept safe inside a variety of gorgeous stone walls and ingenious gates.

As we thought about the wonderful network of public foot paths in the UK, we got more and more excited about sharing the Treleven trails with others. Please stop by and ask for a quick orientation!

Don and Susannah w/veggies

Don and Susannah w/veggies

Volunteer Tomatoes

Volunteer Tomatoes

Treleven in July

20 Oct

July was beautiful: for making hay and for our four sessions of nature camp. We loved being able to explore the woods, fields, and ponds as part of our learning experience. It was also the month of our first full day Experiment with Light Retreat. We hope to offer this more often as the months go by. Rita and Cheryl practiced tai chi down by the pond each Wednesday morning. Peaceful and lovely.

Nature Camp

Nature Camp

Treleven in June

30 Jul
Hay Crew

Hay Crew

June was a beautiful month at Treleven. The weather was just about perfect for making hay. With the help of our neighbors and our intern, Megan Cousino, the first cut was promptly brought into the barns. Enough to take the flock through the winter, and then some. Don and Megan also loaded two years worth of fleeces to take to the wool pool.

Megan and Don load the fleeces for the Wool Pool

Megan and Don load the fleeces for the Wool Pool

Nature camp unit on rocks, minerals, and geology

Nature camp unit on rocks, minerals, and geology

This was also the month that nature camp began, and we all had a wonderful time. With the guidance of Erin Ruble, we selected six units that were related to one another and that helped us to explore the landscape of the farm. The first unit: rocks, minerals, and geology, brought us to one of the more interesting geological features in the Champlain Valley, an escarpment located in the home pasture.  The next unit, finding our way, looked at the ways different animals, including humans, navigate to find food, shelter, mates, and safety. The children were introduced to geocaching, and we were stunned to learn how many geocaches exist in Addison County alone.


Peggy Greeting Participants in the Narrative Therapy Master Class

Perhaps the outstanding highlight for June was the Narrative Therapy Master Class taught by the internationally known Maggie Carey and organized by Peggy Sax. The class was seriously over-subscribed and Peggy is already taking reservations for next year’s session. You can find more information at the Reauthoring Teaching site.  You can also see many more photos and details about both the Nature Camp and the Narrative Therapy Program on the Treleven FaceBook Page.

In other activities we held a lovely discussion about the role of retreat centers and retreat practices in our lives, inspired by our visiting friends from the Mt Gilead Friends Retreat Center.

This led to some further discussion with other retreat centers about the possibility of establishing an informal network to share ideas and experiences.  Rita and Cheryl started practicing Tai Chi down by the pond on Wednesday mornings. Don continued to expand the trail system. We invite you all to join us for a formal (such as the upcoming class on stories) or informal event.

Treleven in May

16 Jun

Bench in the WoodsDon with Aldo Leopold Benches

After the snows of April, the warm balmy days of May were a welcome relief. The wildflowers in the woods burst out over night, carpeting the forest floor with white and pink trillium, snow drops, hepatica, and trout lilies. The smell of wild leeks filled the air, and Kirks bees started flying again. Don made a number of Aldo Leopold benches, which have been placed along the trails. Living on Earth, the NPR show, came to tape a segment on the bat habitat management project. Our partnership with Middlebury Food Works began as Megan Cousino created the new Facebook page for Treleven.

We finished up plans for the Nature Program that will begin June 19. You can download a copy of the Treleven Nature program Registration here. Next month we will be continuing Experiment with Light, holding Tai Chi practice sessions down by the pond, and hosting an international class on Narrative Therapy that was organized by board member Peggy Sax. Although that class was over subscribed, you can now reserve spaces in the Master Classes for 2015 and 2016.

Our newest and very exciting partnership is with Hogback Community College that will by sponsoring Stories in the Land a 5 session writing workshop taught by John Elder and Don Mitchell. The course begins October 7. You can read more about the course and download a registration form here.

Treleven in April

6 May
Happy Ewe

Happy Ewe

Barn at Night

Barn at Night

Pregnant Ewes

Pregnant Ewes

This was a lovely and exciting month for us on the farm. Lambing season is always filled with beautiful moments and unexpected sorrows. At the beginning, the wiring in the barn needed to be updated and we were very grateful to Victor Bolduc for taking care of it so thoroughly. It allowed us to welcome, for the 25th year, students from the College who spent the night in the barn office and delivered lambs after an orientation at Weybridge House. We were most grateful to Jake, Sophie, Kate, and the College’s organic garden and farm group for making this possible; and for the students from Cheryl’s Spirit of Change Class. The annual Lamb Frolic will take place May 14, from 5:00 – 7:00. We hope you will stop by to enjoy the sheer pleasure these babies feel in running free in the fields. (Sometimes the less sedate mothers join in the fun as well).


This was also a month spent planning for the summer, when our new Foodworks intern, Megan Cousino, will be joining us for the first time. Megan will be assisting with all aspects of Treleven: farm management, the Nature Explore Family Sessions, the Narrative Therapy Master Class, the Parent/Child Center food program, and planning for the future. She has already established a Face Book page for us, where you can receive updates more frequently than from this web site.

We hope you will take a look at it, Like Us and post photos that you take when you are here for programs.


Plans for the summer at Treleven are shaping up beautifully. We are trying to find the right balance between Spirit, Nature, and Social Justice programming. At this time we are planning to open the farm for Tai Chi practitioners (on Wednesday mornings at 11:00), families whose children are interested in learning more about nature (Thursday mornings at 10:00), people interested in retreats for spiritual renewal (see Experiment with Light offerings), Narrative Therapy Practitioners, (workshop is filled but you can join the waiting list or on-line learning group), and other land based programs as they unfold. Let us know what you would like to see and we can try to arrange it. You may remember that Treleven Inc. grew from the original skill-shares on the farm where people came together to share their expertise. We hope this tradition will continue.


In case you don’t believe that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and April showers bring May flowers, here are some photos from the first half of April. Despite the snow, Jim Andrew’s Herpetology students from UVM had a productive exploration of the vernal pools. We were also happy that the bias free policing and pre-school legislation bills passed in the State House. Both were related to groups concerned with social justice issues who have met on the farm.

Week Old Lambs

Week Old Lambs

Herpetology Class

Herpetology Class

Home Pasture

Home Pasture

Small Barn, Big Hickory

Small Barn, Big Hickory

Grain Bin in Snow

Grain Bin in Snow

Tasting Hay

Tasting Hay

Beautiful New Logo

16 Apr

This beautiful new logo was created by Win Colwell. We hope you will find it as entrancing as we do! You can see more of Win’s work here.

Treleven logo Large-Color

Looking Back-Looking Forward

9 Apr


14 Bat habitat management walks: held each Saturday morning at 10:00 from August to November. Typically lasting 90 minutes


Evening walk and open session for the Vermont Coverts Cooperators


4 lab sessions for the Middlebury College Environmental studies program (in April)


Lambing season with the assistance of Middlebury Students and alums: 3 weeks following an initial orientation at Weybridge House


2 Workshops for first year students: one focusing on the management of the farm and the other on the role of migrant workers in the agricultural community. Students from the second group camped out on the farm.


Jim Andrews Tree Identification Class (in conjunction with Hogback Community College)


Treleven as the retreat site for J-Term Class, Spirit of Change


Igloo construction


Culminating Seminar for Child Care Workers met under our auspices


Accepted as a partner for Food Works


Experiment with Light Session


Ethan and Susannah hosted extended stays for Global Diversity Foundation participants (a photographer and film maker from Cyprus and a political ecologist from Turkey).


Invisible Odysseys exhibit on display at the Middlebury Inn in conjunction with the Farm Health Task Force Training


Upcoming events:

Herpetology class from UVM visiting the farm with Jim Andrews (April 6)


Master Class with Maggie Carey June 12 and 13: organized by Peggy Sax, bonfires by Don and Ethan.


Summer Internship June 1- August 8. Megan Cousino will be our intern

Weekly Four Winds workshops for parents and young children (most likely Wednesday mornings from 10:00 – 11:30 with families welcome to stay longer if they wish. Organized by Erin Ruble with help from Cheryl and Megan


Monthly Experiment with light sessions: most likely 4:30 – 5:30, first Wednesday of each month


Visit from Donna Eder and David Duffee from the Mt. Gilead Friends Retreat June 21 – 29. There will most likely be an open sharing forum on the role of retreat centers in our lives


2014 Lambing Season, in conjunction with Weybridge House and the College Garden and Farm Coalition


Living on Earth Taping re: Flying Blind May 15


Workshop on building Leopold Benches (not yet scheduled)


Workshop on basket making with Maura Clancy (not yet scheduled)


5 session writing workshop with Don and John. Likely 2 sessions at the end of Aug and 3 in October (in conjunction with Hog Back Community College)


2 orientation sessions for first year students (mid Sept)


Narrative Therapy Master Class for 2015 will be on Narrative Psychiatry, led by SuEllen Hampkins


Additional possibilities:


Mother/Daughter narrative group workshop with SuEllen Hampkins


Workshop with Steve Blackmer: founder of Church of the Woods


Workshop with Emily Ryan based on the work of Joanna Macy: “The Work that Reconnects”:


Healing through poetry with Jane Jackson


Grant Writing with Susannah and Cheryl




Treleven in March

2 Apr

Vernal Equinox 2014


It is hard to remember a winter that has lasted this long.  Here is a view of the pond on the first day of spring. We are still burning wood and the snow cover does at least reflect lots of light during the solar days. We are hoping that the snow and ice will be gone before lambing season begins. The sheep have been coming into the barn in single file often sliding over the ice pack at the entrance. They still wait until we invite them in, but there must be some kind of hormones in the air as the ram has started butting me if I turn my back on him.  We are excited to be planning for summer and invite you to send ideas our way. The next Board Meeting is April 5, from 4:00- 6:00 if you have suggestions. Although Peggy’s workshop on the farm is over subscribed, there are still a few places open in the one that will be held at All Souls. Please see  Re-authoring Teaching for more information. We expect the family farm and forest exploration group will start meeting weekly in June.

We are very excited to be partnering with Hogback Community College as well as Middlebury College and the Union Institute and University for several of our offerings. Most recently Jim Andrews led his class on tree identification through the winter woods. It is amazing how much you can learn just by looking at twigs and bark. Here are some of the students with Jim:

Tree Identification Class

We hosted a session of Experiment with Light this month and hope to make it a regular offering in the coming months.  The Experiment is a guided meditation that takes about 45 minutes.  It is derived from what are thought to be George Fox’s instructions for turning inward and opening to the searching of the Light—the original way Quaker Meetings were held at home. (Public meetings had speakers and were very different.

For more information about the process, including several choices for the words used to guide the meditation:

Treleven in February

12 Mar

Igloo Exterior 2014 Igloo entrance 2014 Ethan in Igloo 2014


February was filled with dazzling sunlight and beautiful snow.  The Treleven Igloo, engineered by Ethan Mitchell, was constructed with the help of Susannah and the Putnam/Ruble family. It was large enough to shelter all six, although Cole and Eliza decided they did not want to spend the night inside. The igloo went up under the wondering gaze of Ethan’s 94 year old Grandfather, who later devoted many hours to watching it change shape as the weather grew warmer.

Don has been busy learning birds and trees. Cheryl and Erin have begun planning the summer farm and forest experience for families. Peggy’s narrative therapy master class is already over-subscribed. We are delighted to be participating with the Food Works Program at Middlebury College this year. Megan Cousino, our summer intern will be helping with Treleven activities both on the farm and in partnership with the Addison County Parent/Child Center.  We are looking forward to hosting a visit from Donna Eder and her family. They run the Mt. Gilead Retreat in Indiana; we expect to learn so much from them. We invite you to come explore the trails any time: mud season is just around the corner, so muck boots are advisable.

Treleven in January

15 Feb

The new year started with ice covered fields, unlike anything we have ever seen. Our nephew from Dallas strapped on his hockey skates and turned the whole farm into a skating rink. For us just putting out hay for the sheep in the morning became an amazing challenge. We started feeding grain and for reasons unknown, the sheep have become very polite, waiting outside the gate while we get things ready and coming in only when invited. We think it might be the effect of having only one ram this year, instead of our usual two. Lambing will begin in April, let us know if you would like to come help.

This was the second year that the Middlebury College J-Term class: Spirit of Change, met on the farm for two retreat days. We scrambled up the back cliff for lunch one day, but stayed in the warmth of the annex for the second day. The students all did placements at local non-profits and created short YouTube videos about them. We explored ways to create communities that offer pathways to prosperity for all members and created a short book based on the course work.

Spirit of Change Class on the Back Cliff

Spirit of Change Class on the Back Cliff