Farming provides a context, a reason for the ritual and song.
Ritual and song provide an vehicle for expressing joy and gratitude, bringing abundance to the farm.
The Fall Equinox is a time of abundance and harvest. It is also a time when we enter the dark half of the year. Within the days of plenty, we (must) acknowledge the fact that we prepare for the dark, cold days of solitude and scarcity. On the farm at harvest, as the apples come to full ripeness, people come together to work, to sing and to celebrate life.
The Farm Song Ritual intensive is an opportunity to be on the farm at at harvest, as the apples come to full ripeness, to come together to work, and to sing and celebrate life.
Farm chores are abundant and endless. This is a time of year when we work long and hard, when our bodies must contend with all the demands of the fruitful earth. We will be apple picking, picking seaberries, sheep milking, shepherding, egg collecting, berry weeding, hemp harvesting, pickling, wild hawthorn gathering, salve making. The bees forage the goldenrod, asters and knotweed, we extract honey. The plums fall off the trees, we sell what we can and then eat plums for breakfast lunch and dinner. The first pears are ripe. We pick apple drops every morning and feed them to the lambs, we continue our battle with the burdock. We gather hazelnuts.
Medieval, Georgian, British, American Shape Note, Ukrainian, Lithuanian. Songs about harvest, sheep and shepherds, migrating birds, summers end.
Magic and ritual are important parts of harvest and fall around the world. For this beautiful element of the session, we will be holding space to explore the numinous and the magical side of collective harvest time work at Cate Hill. Jamie (see his bio below) has been coming to Cate Hill to work on the farm and make ritual in the powerful spots in the farm and pasture landscape of the midnight sauna, the holy spring, the cold white quartz megaliths for the last three years. He is excited to approach the course by proposing a mix of reading, journaling, discussion, daily magical practice and collaboratively designed ritual. The opening reading material will be made available prior to arrival, to enable us to make the most of our time together.
Jamie Ross is a professional card diviner, preschool teacher, artist and witch. His magical practice is elemental, animist, queer, ecstatic and collaborative. It is strongly rooted in a personal practice of ancestor veneration, grounded in the seasonal observations, chant, sacred drag and Radical Faerie ritual and mischief-making. In addition to providing the Pagan chaplaincy services to people incarcerated in federal prisons the province in Quebec, he has organized ritual for over a decade in groves in and around Montreal, Toronto and southern Vermont. He lives just northwest of the farm in Montreal (unceded Mohawk Territory). jamieross.org
Who should consider attending:
Anyone interested in experiencing the messy joys of farm life. No experience in singing, farming necessary; neither is a familiarity with magical practice or Pagan ritual. There is space for all levels of experience and skill. All are welcome – people of all backgrounds, orientations, genders, citizenships and faiths are invited. If you have a sweet tooth for organic apples and have always dreamed of deactivating Facebook for a week, this is the place for you.
Maria is the farm’s shepherd, cheese maker, and salve maker. Maria sang with the Yale Slavic Chorus in college and led the chorus at Bread and Puppet Theater in the late 1990’s. She now sings and teaches songs in her kitchen, in apple orchards and barns, and whenever and wherever she gets the chance. Locally, she sings with the group Farm Song and leads a teen chorus.
Josh Karp is the farm’s orchardist, cider maker, bookkeeper, beekeeper, carpenter, and maintenance guy. Josh grew up on the farm and has a deep knowledge of the terrain and local community. Josh has been singing for many years and moves between tenor and bass as needed.
Jocelyn Macelroy vegetable gardener, farm hand, weaver.
Arrival: Sept 13
Camp Session: Sept 13-20
Departure: Sept 20
Tenting or shared indoor housing. Email us for details.
If you prefer more privacy and comfort (or if you are allergic to cats!), here are some suggested local lodgings:
- Highland Lodge1608 Craftsbury Road Greensboro, VT 05841 (802) 533-2647
- Greensboro Barn AirBnB Apartment Phone 802-533-9281
- Baker Hill House Tim & Bobbie Nisbet, 802-533-7727
- Rodgers Country Inn, West Glover 800-729-17
How to Apply:
Write us a brief email introducing yourself! Send an email to [email protected]
*who are you? why do you want to come? *what’s your experience with farming? *what’s your experience with singing? * food or animal allergies?
How To Register:
- send a check to: Cate Hill Orchard 697 Shadow Lake Road Craftsbury Common, VT 05827
- send an email to [email protected] and we’ll send you a paypal invoice
- call us at 802-586-2059 to pay by credit card
Early Bird Registration: Register by August 15 and get $75 off your tuition!
If you need to cancel your reservation a $50 processing fee will be withheld from your refund. No refunds will be given for cancellations made 10 or fewer days before the start of camp.
We don’t want to turn any applicant away on financial grounds. That said, we are a small, family run farm with all the typical financial struggles of other small farms. In order for us to do Sing and Farm Camps, they have to be self-sustaining, and cover the costs of our time, extra staff, and food. Thanks for considering this before you request financial aid!