"It seems strange to say, but what can help modern man find the answers to his own mystery and the mystery of him in whose image he is created, is silence, solitude -- in a word, the desert. Modern man needs these things more than the hermits of old." Catherine Doherty

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This week at Mary Theotokos, Mass, hay, retreats and goats prowl for food!

More harmonious fellowship abounds at The Mary Theotokos Spiritual Retreat Center. In this update you will see pictures and hear about a series of latest retreats, a visit from the Bishop, animal escapes and the all consuming experience of haying between the rain drops. So scroll away and enjoy these moments from Mary Theotokos.

As July drew to a close the daily renovation work continues in full swing. Water projects from distant wells are rerouted, rivers are diverted, electrical, plumbing and of course the daily farm schedule! 
So you can imagine how thrilled we were when a family from Rhode Island called to come up for a working retreat. 
What a blessing!

After much work in the garden one of our retreaters wanted to do some tractor work. 
In this shot John explains the basics or driving the Kubota.

Within a few seconds she is on her way; moving large stones for the church porch foundation repairs. She promised to go slow but after two trips she has located the throttle and is looking for speed.

The garden work is a favorite part of recent retreats. Here Cathy decides what needs to be done for our group dinner as well as for donating to the local food shelves.

This family enjoyed working in the garden a lot and,…

…they also enjoyed cooking, a lot! Now that is my favorite kind of retreat work force!

Saying grace and breaking bread together, a wonderful time after all the work harvesting the food and cooking it.

Our meal is followed by good conversation and more fellowship.

The last day for this group was spent in the “classroom” of silence where one can really get in touch with who they are and be quiet enough to hear God speak cor ad cor, (heart to heart) on a nature hike through our woods.

Our farm dog Gurly wants to be in every shot!

After a few great days of wonderful fellowship, good food and much work we say goodbye to our retreaters and look forward to their return visit.

But there were more visitors to come! As mentioned on our last update, Bishop Emeritus Basil Losten of the Stamford Eparchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church came to visit. 

It was a lovely visit with a Mass that was open to the public, an informative lecture 
and Q & A on the Eastern Rite, a lovely meal and much planning for the future of the Mary Theotokos Spiritual Retreat center. We are lucky to have such a generous and caring leader to help this facility reach its mission.

Now onto to darker side of farming. The goats and their agenda. When they realized how busy we were they decided to make their move. The goats have schemes; to escape to the orchard, eat every apple or cherry that they can get, then to destroy every flower garden possible, with an ultimate target: gaining entry to the main house! 

Here they explore the limits of their coral, and discover a way out.

The hens follow after the goats in hopes of making their escape as well.
Little do they know they are free rangers already.

Once on the outside the goats try to make a deal with the dog in hopes of getting the orchard gate open or worse, the front door of the house open! Fortunately the dog, Gurly, suspects the goats intentions as evil.

Without the dogs’ help the goats make a daring attempt to rush the orchard gates but soon become tangled up!

This amuses the ducks to no end. The ducks often take time to laugh at the antics of their barn yard neighbors.

Persistence pays off as the goats locate a forgotten step ladder in the back of the barn!

With time running out and recapture eminent, the goats locate the Walkers youngest daughter and convince her, an animal lover, to open the front door and let them in the main house so they can complete their mission of destruction!

All appears to be working well for the goats till the girl takes another look at the situation and suddenly decides that perhaps these animals might be OK in the mud room but they do NOT belong inside the main house, certainly not in her play room!

(AP Press Photo)

Suddenly the whole caper is disrupted as John makes his appearance after hearing the goats’ pitter patter in the mud room. In seconds he steps in to make the arrest and escorts the trouble makers back to the barn yard. 

(AP Press)

But the goats have yet another plan to lure the unsuspecting Cathy into their foul schemes as captured here in by the AP press covering the daring escape and recapture.

Meanwhile it is time to HAY! With help from a neighboring farm, during a respite from the rain, the fields are cut, dried and made ready for bales.

Once the hay is baled, the hay wagon is transferred to the other tractor and towed to the loft conveyer belt with eager helpers coming along.

Nothing for it now but hot and dirty work unloading the hay onto the belt and up to the loft.

Haying means all hands on deck whether in the loft or on the ground.

The kids find a way to have fun as they roll the hay corals out to the meadow to prepare for the other livestock.

Currently we are able to provide a lot of veggies on our mission to help the poor through acts of charity in the local community but with luck and more hay we hope to provide meat and poultry as well to local food shelves.
All in all a very exciting and hard working few weeks at Mary Theotokos filled with fellowship, prayer and joy.
What every week should be!

Pax et Bonum from The Mary Theotokos Spiritual Retreat center in Vermont.
We hope you will visit us soon.