Farm and Sing
Calling out to singers, farmers, craftspeople, homesteaders, folklorists, pagans:
Farm & Sing
We are excited and delighted to announce our folk camps for the summer of 2022!
On our farm, we tend organic apple trees and other fruits and berries; we raise lambs; we milk sheep. And we sing, and gather with friends and neighbors to reimagine and perform ancient animist agricultural folk rituals: to thank and honor our flock, the trees, the land, the sun, the earth, the clouds, the stones.
We invite you to join us in work, in song, in crafts, in foraging, in creating ritual on our beautiful farm.
We are holding three sessions this summer 2022:
“The songs, the feasts, the reverence, and the spirit that infuses every gathering at Cate Hill Orchard is pure magic. Singing to the ancient orchard, eating from the land, immersing into magic and history, and gathering with their incredible community is deeply nourishing, inspiring and fun. Maria and Josh are incredible people and hosts and it fills my heart to know that they are singing just on the other side of the hill.” – Beana Bern
Magic, Song, and Ritual: Summer Solstice Retreat
When: June 19-21, 2022
Cost: $150-300 sliding scale
Join us in celebrating the folklore, ceremony, tradition, songs and magic of summer solstice!
The power of the midsummer sun is embodied in the wild flowers, herbs, trees, grass, animals, and ourselves. The sheep produce copious milk, the birds and light wake us up early in the morning, the grass grows so fast the ewes can’t keep up with it.
Wildflower wreath making, herbal saunas, water divination, fire sculpture and ceremony, ancient Slavic and Baltic traditional summer solstice songs, magic of the elements and more!
Lead by Božena Hrycyna and Maria Schumann.
Božena grew up in the Ukrainian diaspora community in Ontario, and has a life long commitment to the folk traditions, crafts, and songs of her ancestors. She’s a founding member of Kosa Kolektiv, a group of women in the Toronto area that aim to revitalize peasant folklore in an urban context, through singing, sewing, cooking, planting, crafting, putting on workshops and sharing ideas over tea and good food.
Maria is a folklorist, farmer, singer, and ritual practitioner. For the last 10 years , she has been creating and reimagining traditional seasonal folk rituals and ﬁnding ways of incorporating them into farm life. She has been studying Slavic magic for over a year under the mentorship of Olga Stanton, aka Magpie, a Ukrainian/Russian practitioner with a deep knowledge of Slavic rituals, magic, and witchcraft.
Can’t come for the whole 2 days? Come to our Sunday afternoon Ukrainian and Baltic Summer Solstice Songs and Flower Weaving Workshop! Sunday, June 19 2-4:30 pm. Suggested Donation $40.
*Tenting on farm is encouraged as we will have a late night and a very early morning
* Schedule subject to change, depending on the weather!
Sunday June 19
12-2 Arrive, set up
2-4:30 pm Community Sing
4:30-6 pm Gathering wild herbs and flowers, flower wreath making
6-7 pm light supper
7-9:00 pm Sauna
9 Magic of the Elements: Fire
Monday June 20
6 am Magic of the Elements: Water
7am Milking Sheep, bringing ewes to pasture
9 Opening Circle and Sing
10 Magic of the Elements: Earth
12-3 Lunch and Siesta
3-5 Sing. Magic of the Elements: Air
5-6 Berry picking
8-9 More flower wreaths
Tuesday June 21
4-6 am Summer Solstice Dawn Ritual
6-8 am Breakfast and closing circle
“…..deep like the soil, soul-quenching. Moving like wind through me and us. Seeping through like snow melt. Healing. Deeply loving & supportive community…”
Breath, Sound, and Healing
When: July 18-22, 2022
Join us for five days of this deeply needed workshop, a journey of collective healing held outside in forest, field, and orchard. Explore the possibility of music to calm, open and heal, and connect body and mind to the subtle rhythms of nature, through basic asana, stable posture, pranayama, the science of breath, and nada, the essential vibration, pure sound.
Forest meditations; yoga in the apple orchard; swimming; foraging; willow basket weaving; berry picking; trance-inducing Lithuanian sutartines; songs from Ukraine, Georgia, and Epirous; tree branch sculpture; gardening; shepherding; and more.
Pavitra and Polash are students and practitioners of Baul, an ancient oral tradition of music, yoga and living wisdom rooted for centuries in the land of Bengal.
Polash is an artist and musician from Bangladesh. He encountered the Baul path as a teenager, drawn to the freedom of the music and purity of the philosophy. His guru Fakir Daulad Shah, was a master of Fakir Lalon Shai’s lineage.
Pavitra is a poet and artist from India raised in New York City. She has been in India since receiving a Fulbright in 2014 to work with shadow puppeteers, cantastoria artists and women storytellers. The journey led to her birthplace, Bengal, and to her guru, Parvathy Baul. Pavitra and Polash have been in Santiniketan, India in a small mud-hut studio, nurturing music, art and Baul practice under the guidance of their gurus. They currently travel between India, Bangladesh and the US, where they continue to sing, dance and practice Baul-Fakiri.
Isaac Fosi-van Wyke is a singer, writer,and artist based in Louisville, Kentucky. His approach to art, song, and life is guided in large part by the teachings of Martín Prechtel’s school (Bolad’s Kitchen).
About Baul-Fakiri: Bauls are poet-philosophers and spiritual seekers in search of true love and pure freedom through their music, dance and yogic practice. This ancient oral tradition is rooted in rural Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, with influences stemming from Sufism, Tantra and Vajrajana Buddhism. The essence of Baul-Fakiri is universal- Bauls do not believe in boundaries of nationality, gender, race or religion- only pure love.
“I want to thank you again for the amazing experience….. Working and living on the farm gave me so much more than I could have ever hoped for or expected, and I’m so grateful to have been able to share that little window of your lives with you…”
A farm and sing camp is a camp on a farm where singing and farming is a daily activity! You will not be expected to do heavy farm labour (no tractor driving, ditch digging etc) but part of the experience is participating in daily farm life: giving the flock water, helping to move electronet fences, milking sheep, picking berries, mulching apple trees, weeding the garden. It is through the farm work that we grow community, and an understanding of the village life that the folk songs we sing emerged from.
The Sheep camp will have more farm work and less singing than the others– but we will still start and finish each day with a song or 2.
Tuition does not include housing. We may have tenting spots available.
Breakfast is on your own, lunch and supper will be shared meals. We will take turns helping to cook meals and washing dishes afterwards. Food will be simple, wholesome, and mostly vegetarian, except at the sheep camp where we will be cooling with lamb and mutton. We’ll use fresh organic ingredients from our farm and neighboring farms as much as possible.
Each camp will have a slightly different schedule. Magic Camp will begin early and end late, with a long siesta in the middle of the day. Meditation and Sheep Camp will run from 8-5. Eight Day camps will have one free day, in the middle, to hike, visit local museums, or just relax.
These camps are not geared towards children, but kids are welcome! Kids under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Tuition for kids: Under 5 free, donation for food appreciated; 5-12 half price; teens- same as adults.
A 30% tuition deposit to hold your place ($255 for Breath and Sheep; $90 for Magic) is due following your acceptance to one of our sessions. This tuition deposit is non-refundable, unless we have to cancel due to Covid or any other reason. The 70% balance of tuition will be due on arrival.
Almost all of our activities will take place outside, barring extreme weather. Outdoor masking optional; indoor masking will depend on the current Covid situation. A recent PCR test will be required, rapid tests as needed. We ask that all participants are respectful of others’ Covid comfort zones. Covid policies subject to change depending on case rates.
Musical instruments, headlamp, and songs to share. Clothing for hot, cold, and rainy weather.
Our ancestors didn’t have iphones or laptops. We are trying to access a pre-computer age world of magic and cultivate relationship with the earth, the seasons, and each other. We encourage all participants to check their devices at the door, ideally for the whole 8 days. If that’s not possible, we do ask that you leave your device in your room, and do not carry it around with you while we are singing, working and eating together.
At each camp we offer 2 spaces at reduced rate.
We also offer a few work trade spots, one for a media person, the other for farm help. To apply for financial aid, or a work trade spot, please send us an email telling us about your financial situation and your work availability and skills.
FULL -Slavic Magic, Song, and Ritual Working Group
When: Sunday mornings, 9-noon,
April 3-May 29, plus Thursday April 14 4-8 pm (10 sessions)
This working group will focus on a deep exploration of Eastern Slavic (Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine) folk magic and calendrical ritual traditions. Topics will include: Charms and Incantations for gain and for cleansing. Spindle, Spinning and Embroidery Magic. Magical and Ritual Dolls. Amulets. Household Spirits. Working with the elements. Magic of herbs, ﬂowers, and trees. Ancestors and the Dead.
Each session will begin and end with singing simple, traditional Slavic or Baltic songs.
April and May are a busy time in the Slavic folk calendar. The spring winds, calling the birds, bringing the animals out to pasture for the ﬁrst time, honoring the dangerous and generous spirit of spring waters, remembering and honoring the dead and the ancestors— each call for moments of observation and ceremony.
Sessions will take place on our farm. We will meet outside unless it is severe weather, then will meet inside the airy barn.
Group leader Maria Schumann is a folklorist, farmer, singer, and ritual practitioner. For the last 10 years , she has been creating and reimagining traditional seasonal folk rituals and ﬁnding ways of incorporating them into farm life. She has been studying Slavic magic for over a year under the mentorship of Olga Stanton, aka Magpie, a Ukrainian/Russian practitioner with a deep knowledge of Slavic rituals, magic, and witchcraft.
No magic or singing experience, or Slavic heritage, necessary, people of all spiritual paths are welcome.