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About the book:
The Peace Warrior by Dena Eakles
 
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Echo Valley Hope, Inc.
 

November 2008

Ask me what I am grateful for and you will know who I am.
I am grateful for my sheep, for the laughter of children, for the orchard that fed so many this year. I am grateful my dog kept me up most of the night asking for my help in her sickness. I am grateful for my Mother who still prays for me and my Father who taught me to pray. I am grateful for many things, some obvious and some seemingly trivial, but most importantly, I am grateful that Gratitude was placed inside me and I can open that gift again and again, every moment, every day, and feel the joy of it.

The opportunity each day to recognize the Hand of Kindness that holds me, the awareness that wakes me before the sun so I can witness the hope of a new day, the recognition that my breath is a gift to be cherished…Gratitude puts it all into perspective. My notions of God, my beliefs on good and bad have changed over time, but my feeling of gratitude has remained and has guided me.

Born from humility, gratitude helps me soar above the mundane, above the confusion that can stalk me. It is the simple emotion at the root of my humanity. It defines me.
Ask me what I am grateful for and you will know who I am.

****************
In memory: Studs Terkel's amazing wit, clarity, and sense of justice were unrivaled by his love of humankind.
                 Thanks, Studs. 
****************

You Don’t Always Know What You Have.

When I first came to Echo Valley, I was told that cows had planted the orchard. It was said off handedly and the orchard had not been attended for decades. Then the sheep and goats came and after the second winter I noticed the goats had “girdled” some of the trees, ripping the bark and essentially killing them. Then came the apple lover who adored the orchard and pointed out rare heirloom varieties. Then came the sweet and unusual tastes and the recognition of something special indeed.

Then came the fences, securing the orchard, which still received little care. Then came the apples again, more plentiful each year, and the wonderful people who took us up on the offer to pick some, and the wonderful jellies, pies and over all good time at harvest. Then came the need to tend to the orchard, to clear the rotten apples, to keep high grasses away, allowing for future crops to be strong and less vulnerable to disease. Back, then, came the sheep and goats. They have done a stellar job as they go to the fresh grasses, eager to beat the winter frost and snow to the delicacies, leaving behind their fertile gifts in the hope of another spring, intoxicating aromatic blossoms and later, apples.
Now we have a need to walk with the herd in order to protect the apple trees, but how difficult is an autumn stroll with the sun still warm and the wind not yet biting?

I am reminded of the indigenous understanding: everything you need is at hand.
This winter we will be trimming the trees and working on our own version of tree girdling to protect the precious bark and keep our herd roaming freely…you are welcome to help out…and don’t forget your sleds.

In the spirit of Always Enough:

  • Echo Valley Farm will continue to open its doors to those with an interest in sustainable living and organic farming and to those in need. www.echovalleyfarmhealing.com

  • Our recent enrollment in the World Wide Organization of Organic Farms has introduced us to new friends who have come by to lend a hand.  For those who are “in between jobs” this contact could offer a wonderful possibility to visit small farms that could use the help. www.wwoof.usa

  • Echo Valley Hope, Inc. the educational and charitable non-profit will begin a series of conference calls entitled, “Links of Hope”. Through these calls we will begin to identify small farms throughout North America that would open their doors for short or long term stays for individuals or families, locate people willing to steward farms or share crop and discover other ways of connecting interested people with workable land. This effort would boost struggling small farms, increase food production for those in need, and be a refuge for individuals and families who are struggling economically or are without homes.

www.echovalleyhope.org

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