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Some qualities which we think make for a successful apprenticeship:
-eager to learn, self-motivated, dependable
-comfortable around animals
-consciously aware of your goals
· A portion of your food will come from the farm (meat, eggs, cheese, milk, veggies, baked goods), depending on the year and the season; but you will need to provide for your own items which cannot be produced here.
· The apprentice and journeyman’s yurts have no running water and no (or very little) electricity. Water is hauled for drinking and washing. We use an outhouse and compost it. The yurts are heated with wood stoves in the winter—they stay quite warm since they are relatively small and compact. Ken has wintered eight New Hampshire winters in his, and rather likes it. With farming and carpentry, the technology used is somewhat less primitive, though hopefully still appropriate.
· There are income-generating possibilities off- and on the farm, but you should not count on these as a sure bet, as they vary with the season and with your particular skill set. Additionally, some seasons will lend themselves better to seeking off-farm employment, both in what needs doing on the farm, and what’s available off of it.
· Ownership of a car and cell phone is a good idea if modern transportation and communication are important to you. There is a pay phone in town, about six miles away. The local library, open three afternoons each week, has dial-up internet service.
· Above all, we would like you to clearly communicate with us your goals in coming (and as they continue to evolve during your stay). This may be accomplished in some of the following ways: written goals, established evaluative measures, regular written reflections, and communication of all of these. In this way, we may have half a chance at helping you reach them. We will attempt to communicate ours with you.
Like all those whose work is circumscribed by the vagaries of the weather, we are committed to ‘making hay while the sun shines.’ In muddy March this involves quite a bit of telling stories around the maple syrup evaporator; but by the time May rolls around with its lengthened daylight and scores of summer projects to be started, story-telling gets put on the back burner. In general:
1. We all work together until the work gets done.
2. The work is never done.
Just kidding. Sort of. Sometimes it does seem this way. But we work because we enjoy what we do, the way we live, our peaceful surroundings—if we wanted a lifestyle not overshadowed by the weather and the needs of plants and animals, we would have done what our guidance counselors’ suggested (Sarah got her degree in psychology and master’s in education. Ken has his BS in mathematics). We see the farm as a sort of giant canvas upon which each day’s work is painted. During our time here—whether it prove to be long or short—we hope to make some contribution to making it more beautiful, more sustainable, more welcoming to all creatures; until the time comes for us to pass ‘ownership’ to others. Because of this, we neither watch the clock nor keep track of our inputs. Einstein said, "The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community." We think you will come to agree that by immersing yourself in the life of the farm you will gain the experience and insight that you seek to develop. All the same, we understand that the apprenticeship is not just about working dawn to dusk. That would constitute a hired hand. It has been our observation that study without experience becomes too academic; yet experience without reflection is just a whole lot of drudgery. We are committed to finding that balance with our apprentice.