Enjoy this new slideshow.
"Let's Fall In Love" by Melissa Gordon Rhine and New Territory.
Photos and A/V by Meg Novick.
The ram we rented
from our Amish friend is a young black-face.
A bit more rambunctious than we have had for a while—I am not quite
going into his space and would never turn my back on him. Many farmers
lambing by now or will be soon, but we prefer to lamb later in spring.
June the lambs will come, but before they do, we will run the “corn for
program.” One reason to keep the herd small is the care and respect
that can be
given to each animal. Early on, I recognized I would never want the
of the sheep to take their wool, so instead we have the corn for wool
The sheep take turns entering the stall for the corn, and with scissors
remove their wool. Basically they get haircuts. Rarely is this
one sitting, so you get to know them pretty well. I can’t imagine doing
I observe that most
people living on the land prefer kindness—
to the land and to all its inhabitants. I am certain that the past few
generations—people asked to mass produce, to choke their precious soil
chemicals they could not afford—also choked back the sadness at what
lost. The concept of progress and the taste of greed are seductive.
machines took the work of horses, the loss must have broken hearts. But
bred to be good soldiers, to bite our lips and persevere. Even our
peace speak of sacrifice.
But my time at Echo
Valley has never been a sacrifice. The
trade-off for creature comforts comes at great cost. The sacrifice of
living in over-crowded conditions, of farm workers subjected to poisons
uncompensated labor, the loss of joy: that is sacrifice. When I wrote
Warrior that Echo Valley
was “an experiment in living,” I also wrote that it was a “celebration
conscious choice.” I stand by that.
There are many who
have returned to the land and made a
solitary stand. I do not think that can work any longer. The work
demands, the learning
curve, the costs of a
culture that has not yet woken up to the fact that living as we do is
unsustainable are too much for even the largest of families. As Echo
grown, I am even more certain the experiment toward community sustained
is a most lovely solution.
We will continue to
learn and you are invited to the
celebration. There is no sacrifice in appreciating simplicity and joy.
nothing hard in giving kindness. Pain comes when I think there is not
Suffering comes when I forget I am being given everything. Our classes
sustainability will soon be posted and will remain free of charge. Our
initiatives of peace are growing, as is our commitment to see that all
are given a chance to know that peace is possible.
With your help, we
An anonymous donor has offered to match $15,000 in donations made to
Echo Valley Hope, Inc. this year.
There is currently about $13,000 left to match.
If you share our
enthusiasm for peace and
sustainability, if you recognize the practical and powerful
efforts that we undertake, then
please consider a tax exempt monetary gift of support.
To make a
tax-deductible donation, send a check or money order to
Valley Hope, Inc., E 14604 County Rd. F, Ontario, WI 54651,
online securely through
or donate on Facebook here.
AND ENDING WAR
On January 29th,
Sami Rasouli of The Muslim Peacemaker Teams
visited Echo Valley, sharing his work and his hopes for Iraq. According
to the UN Children's Fund, only 30 percent of children in Iraq have
access to safe drinking water. The Muslim Peacemaker Teams'
initiative, Water for Peace, uses donations to
supply schools and hospitals with water purification systems.
Throughout the year
and on the first of each month, Echo
Valley Hope will address and participate in an act of peace.
We have kicked off February with a donation to Water for Peace.
Click here to join the Facebook group,
Peace First and Ending
PEOPLE MOVES FORWARD
Echo Valley Hope's initiative, Farms
Link People, is working toward acquiring land for community
sustained farming. The next conference call for interested
people is February 18. Visit the blog