You can write us at Post Office Box 205, Cambridge, New York, 12816
“Your real duty is to go away from the community to find your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell
25 August 2016

The Romney Posse

By: Jon Katz
The Romney Posse

The Romney Posse

I call them the Romney posse, our new unit of Romney wool sheep – Izzy on the left, Griselle out front, Rosemary to the right, Biddy in the rear. A lot of beautiful wool. The Romney posse keeps to itself, but moves with the other sheep. They are still challenging Red, butting and charging him sometimes.

He is handling it. It will take a week or so before they form a unit, and at least that long before they are dog broke, and follow orders from the border collie.  We're glad to have them here, there is no sign of fence-jumping. Other than butting the dog, they are good citizens of the farm.

Posted in General

Precious Mornings: Talking To Animals

By: Jon Katz
Precious Mornings

Precious Mornings

As often as I see this precious ritual, I never tire of it or wonder about it. Maria and the donkeys have a rich and intense dialogue, they make time and space for one another, and it seems to be a healing thing, a calming thing for all of them. I don't know precisely what the conversation is about.

The donkeys are extraordinarily sensitive to Maria's moods and emotions, she finds them healing and grounding. They seem to need this also, when the other animals rush out to graze, the donkeys stay behind, and these three fine one another, you can almost touch the words and feelings that pass between them.

Maria has helped me tremendously to study the way in which animals sense the emotions of people, and thus are able to communicate with them.

Posted in General

Passage To India: “I Am Worthy. And I Thank You.”

By: Jon Katz
A Seizure

A Seizure

Maria wrote a beautiful piece on her blog last night, she called it "I Am Worthy. And Thank You," and I think in many ways it is the most important piece she has ever written about self, and her own long search for identity. She is sick of feeling unworthy, she said, tired of being afraid to ask for help or receive it. I recommend it.

"This morning I woke up annoyed with myself," she wrote.

"Who, I thought, wants to support someone who keeps whining that they’re  not worthy. And what am I really looking for?  I’ve heard so many times already, through the letters I’ve received, in my email and on facebook how people believe in what I’m doing.  How people believe in me."

So, she wrote, it's time to believe in herself. At first, she was frightened by the outpouring of support she received when she asked for help. She has instead chosen gratitude and excitement.

I love this post, and I am struck by the impact Maria's trip to India is already having on her. I can hardly wait to see what the trip itself and the aftermath bring. She is writing her myth and beginning to live it.

With communication, wrote Joseph Campbell, the mythic experience begins. So many of you are communicating with her this week.

The beginning of a mythic world or a mythic tradition is a seizure, something that pulls you out of yourself, beyond yourself, beyond all traditional patterns. It is out of such seizures that civilizations are built, books are written, lives are changed. Maria is in the midst of such a seizure, and great things will come from this trip.

All week, we have been reading these beautiful messages from all over the country, so many people wish they could come along, so many believe in Maria, her heart and her gifts and her commitment to helping other people. In just a few days, Maria received enough money to pay for her passage to India, for her travel and food and hotel.  She is going to help the victims of sex trafficking learn how to find sustainable lives.

Maria has received more than $3,800 on her indiegogo.com page, and several thousand dolalrs more from the donations and  wonderful letters are still coming into our post office box, P.O.Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816. She is still accepting donations, any additional funds will all be used to help the women she is going to India to teach – the victims of sex trafficking, a horrific problem in Southeast Asia and much of the world.

These women, former sex workers and slaves, are the women Maria is going to Calcutta to help. She will teach them how to make the humble potholder, something in use all over the world, something relatively easy to make and easy to sell. Maria will also teach them how to make potholders that are also works of art, something that is not to easy to make.

In opening herself up to this trip, in accepting all of the help from others, in absorbing all of the beautiful messages, the great human experience starts. The ancient mystics called it aum, said to be the seed of creation.

For Maria, her journey in search of her strength and voice began with the potholder, selling her first potholders told her that she could live and work as an artist. Accepting help and seeing herself as worthy has been a longer and harder process. But the potholder and her ever-evolving art did their work, helping her to find her voice, and increasingly, her strength.

She is finding her myth even while she is living it. Jung wrote that the way to discover your myth, to discern your true identity is to observe your dreams, observe your conscious choices, keep a journal, see which images and stories surface and resonate and speak to you. Look at stories and symbols and see which reflect your heart and soul.

Anna Freud wrote that panic strikes us when we lie to ourselves and the sub-conscious rebels. Maria told me yesterday that she knows she is lying to herself when she says she is not worthy. She is never arrogant, she is not a saint, she is always worthy.

Maria has done all of this good and hard work, in her life, in her art, in her humble potholders. Now she is taking her myth to India. The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to realization of who you really are, and then returning to the field of normal life. A call to adventure comes and draws you out. The call to adventure is one of unknown places, unseen forces and unknown powers.

So thanks to you all of you, the adventure begins. We will keep you posted.

She is worthy, and we both thank you for your support.

 

Posted in General
24 August 2016

October Light

By: Jon Katz

 

October Light

October Light

October light is my favorite light, photographer's light. The glare of the sun softens, and in the morning and late  afternoon, the light is especially subtle and beautiful. I see the light changing already as the end of summer approaches, this morning, Maria sat out in the pasture to look at the new flock, grazing together. It looked like a good flock to me.

Posted in General

The Return Of Sarge

By: Jon Katz
Return Of Sarge

Return Of Sarge

Sarge, the World War II salvaged work truck of Pompanuck Farm, returned to our pasture today, he will be here for a week until Vince Vecchio, a reknowned big man in a truck comes to put gravel in the pole barn for the winter, and flatten out our bumpy driveway.

Then Scott  Carrino will take Sarge and our very excellent donkey manure back for the Pompanuck gardens. Every year, Scott warns me that we should only use composted manure for the gardens, every year I tell him we know that, we have been up here for years.

When he comes next Wednesday, Vince will take our growing manure pile and put most of it in  Sarge's truck bed. He will add some gravel to the police barn, where the animals will huddle in the winter when it's cold or icy. Otherwise, they don't care much about the weather.

People forget that animals like sheep and donkeys are desert and mountain animals, they hate to be cooped in without ventilation. Our pony is hardy as a tank, no weather drives her into shelter if there is a drop of grass to look for. Ponies were bred as war  horses, Genghis Khan rode them across Asia.

We'll keep some of the composted manure for our gardens, which will undergo some major expansions and improvements next year.

Sarge is welcome here, I love photographing him (he will be a portrait in a show one day) and his arrival is a sign of the end of summer. Even though it is hot still, and sticky, and the flies are vicious and thick, everyone with a farm is thinking of winter. Ed Gulley is bringing me 90 bales, Sandy Adams is bring about 25 second cut bales here.

There is hay available here, just a couple of hours in any direction there has been severe drought this summer, compounded by the absence of any melting snow last winter. The ponds and wells are low, but in our county, we have been spared drought or extreme weather.

The first and second hay cuts have been  strong, we can buy square bales for between $3 and $5 a bale (if it's delivered).  Just a couple of hours a way, hay bales cost twice that much.

We seem to be off the track of the most severe weather. (If my grandmother were alive, she would spit three times over her shoulder to drive evil spirits away if I said that, any time you said a good word about anything, spit flew all over the place.)

I get very restless when there is no hay in the barns in September, even though the animals graze well into October, even November. I don't really relax until the woodshed is full (it is but we need one more cord if the winter is cold) and the barn is stuffed with hay

This winter, we will be feeding 10 sheep, two donkeys, and a pony, I think we'll go through 125 bales of first cut. We give second cut as an energy boost in extremely cold weather.

We are also replacing the frost-free faucet on the side of the house, Jay Bridge is coming to do that before the first frost. Our oil burner has been checked, the wood stoves have been cleaned

Posted in General