CSA NewsLetters

August 25th, 2015

Wind Dance CSA Newsletters 2016

Week 6 – July 6, 2016

Reminder – next CSA delivery is July 20!


Bees and the blues. Burkhart’s Blueberries is a great place to stroll and pick and sing, and chat, and pick some more, – one berry at a time. This has been the case for the past several years, as the blueberries graced CSA boxes for a number of weeks. This year the blues have hit the patch. Before venturing out over the mountain to Burkhart’s farm, I called to check in about picking.   I was saddened to learn that the Burkhart’s only picked 30 pints for themselves and that is the end for the season – they are not opening this year for picking. Usually they pick over 150 pints for themselves alone. The berry rows will be quiet this year from playful picking that intrudes upon them with thousands of unsprayed berries to pick. The patch was also quiet in early spring.

The usual humming of bees did not occur as vibrantly as needed for pollination, as the flowers were in bloom during the 20 plus days of rain we had. Flowers out during rainy days does not equal to good pollination by bees. They stay hunkered down in their hives in rain. Since the majority of blueberry flowers did not get pollinated the crop was greatly affected.   This is the second crop that has been affected by weather this spring – the cherry flowers at Orr’s were zapped by a late frost and blueberry flowers at Burkhart’s were in bloom during a rainy season. Egads…. Makes me think a lot.

My latest thought is about honeybees. Selfishly I want blueberries – to eat, to share with you, to store for the winter and eat on snowy days. Dang. Expanding beyond my own desires, I thought about the bees. If they were not able to get out and pollinate during all those rainy days, how are they? How are their food reserves? Was their energy affected for continuing their work on these sunny days? How   will the wet spring affect them in the coming months? The coming year? Will it affect their population numbers and honey production in this region?   Only questions – no answers, yet.

I do know that our two new hives seem to be doing well and John has been keeping a very careful eye and hand on them. In the meantime, I wonder about the bees… and the blueberries. I will search for other places to pick and hopefully in your next box there will be some. Our patch is still growing and the songbirds have been enjoying them just as they ripen. This is the first year in 13 that we have not included blueberries around July 4 – hopefully on July 20! We’ll see you then.

Hope your week is delicious and delightful.

Working for a healthy planet and people,

Leslie & John

In your box this week is:

Onions                        Garlic                          Eggs

Onion and Garlic Scapes – great to add to stir fries – a delicacy in many finer restaurants     the garlic scapes are curved

Goat Cheeses – fluffy fromage blanc and cheddar yo-cheese. Inadvertently I used a quart of yogurt in the two-gallon batch of milk when making the cheddar – I like it and hope you do too!

Root Crops!   Beets     Carrots     Turnips    Raddishes

Peas – don’t judge a pea by its cover! Shell them and a bright green is revealed. Cook them and eat them up yum! Compost the shells.

Lettuces – it has been amazing to continue to use the lettuce – although bitter on its own, it can so easily be altered with herbs and a dressing, cranberries, walnuts, etc. I used it during the teen camp and no one once ever said anything about bitterness (and I didn’t say anything to them about it), and they ate everything put out for them to enjoy. Included is purslane – another recent restaurant delicacy to add to salads.

Herbs – fennel, arugula and chives

Greens – chard, mustard and two types of kale. Kale is getting bigger – yea! Seems like it has been taking a while

Humus – made with fresh garlic from the garden! Other ingredients – lemon, tahini, olive oil, chick peas

Banana-Apple Poppy seed Walnut Bread – made with organic whole wheat flower.

Rhubarb                    Gooseberries

Flowers – red beebalm is edible and looks great gracing a salad

Enjoy! Any questions? Please call or email!  304 258 4672

Wind Dance CSA Newsletters 2015

Week 14 – September 25, 2015

Greetings CSA members!

I’ve been entrusted with a tiny black, white, and yellow striped monarch caterpillar. Well, it was tiny – 1/2 inch, however in the last two days it has grown to 3 inches! Its work is to munch on fresh milkweed leaves, and we have a handy patch growing by our small frog pond, which we are encouraging to spread into one of our garden beds. The existence of the amazing migrating monarch butterfly is totally reliant on the milkweed – it is the only plant the caterpillar will eat. One egg at a time is laid on the underside of the leaves by the monarch butterflies. The population of monarchs has declined dramatically – I’ve read down 70%, due to a variety of reasons, including less available milkweed. On Tuesday, when one of our homeschool girls came to me with a plastic carton with the tiny monarch caterpillar in it, I got excited and then a bit nervous when she said, “Here, this is for you.” Egads, I thought to myself, I hope I can really take care of this precious critter, cause I’m good at killing things. No kidding. I’ve taken in some creatures to help rescue or nurture and on the most part they end up dying and it feels awful. However, I took a breath and I said to myself, I can do this. So with the 25 kids who attend our programs, we are observing this caterpillar – measuring, drawing, studying about the Monarch Community, and learning how to take care of it. Last year, the same girl, Emily, brought me three beautiful chrysalises with monarch caterpillars waiting to transform into butterflies and we were successful tending to them and releasing them onto our zinnia’s and watching them fly around the house and then south. Emily taught me how to take care of the caterpillar – you’d think I’d know how. I wanted her to show me, and she did a great job and it’s pretty simple – sprinkle a few drops of water every day in the container and put a fresh milkweed leaf in. It is growing beautifully! Emily’s mom is potting up some milkweed so that it can be put into a larger container for when it climbs to hang upside down and form a chrysalis. With the monarch numbers so low, it is important for us to be really mindful and caring to this tiny creature. Emily is a nature girl. She spends a lot of time outdoors beyond Wind Dance. She loves to explore her farm and each fall she carefully looks under milkweed for eggs and caterpillars. She is tender with every living creature, and she is one of my teachers.

Have a great week all! We welcome fall! Next week is the last delivery for the season – please bring a box or bin and return the CSA boxes. Thank you!

This week your box has:

Small spaghetti squash  patty pan squash                                                                     Green Beans

eggs – a bit                                               pepper – California and little yellow        Tomatoes

sweet potatoes                                                       apples and pears – both organic and picked locally

lettuce and a bit of greens in one box       onion and garlic                                   watermelon

Chocolate Chip Cookies                  herbs – arugula, basil, parsley, oregano, dill, thyme

See you next week! Working for a healthy planet and people,

Leslie & John

Week 13 – September 18, 2015

Greetings CSA members!

Fall is sliding in with yellow hues revealing themselves in trees and cool mornings, and we have slid full force into our homeschool programs. Four days a week, 25 beautiful kids, ages 5 to 16 – they keep us on the move and on our toes!   Our days are busy with up to 12 kids per day. They arrive by 9:30 and picked up at 3:30. They play outdoors in the morning for about an hour. Then we dance – John plays the fiddle and I instruct the dance – Alabama Gal, Virginia Reel, etc.   We study about nature and biology, read favorite stories, record natural history in journals, save seeds, plant seeds, and oh so much more, including more play and siesta. Siesta is important – we stop the business and sit still. We still our minds and our bodies. We sit apart from each other to get into our own space and place. We let the earth surround our being and it becomes part of our being – a treasured time for everyone. The kids come to love siesta and ask for it. Although they love running around and playing, they come to appreciate the still and the quiet. Sweet moments. It is great to have the kids back and it is always busy when they’re here, and when they are not here, a lot of prep and planning happens, including putting the CSA together.

For three weeks during fall, the CSA and homeschool programs overlap.   We’ve often thought about finishing the CSA before the homeschool programs, but we always have food to share and happy to do so, and more is coming in! This weekend we’ll be digging sweet potatoes! I love digging root crops – it is always surprising to find what is hidden in the earth that has been growing all summer. Sweet potatoes are the trickiest to dig – they can penetrate deep in the earth, and getting down to the tips without breaking them can be a challenge. But it is a fun challenge and it will be interesting to see what gifts the earth will provide for us all. We also have more watermelon coming, and winter squashes.  This week watermelon is cut up in yogurt containers. Pop open and pop in your mouth on these hot afternoons. Enjoy!

In your box this week is:

Squash – patty pan or round ball zucchini

Tomatoes      Eggs         Garlic        Onions            Carrots           Cucumber

Cheese – easy to freeze if you want to save it – just pop it in the freezer

Green Beans for Full Share              Lettuce

Peppers          Pears – they are ready to eat when they start to turn yellow

Watermelon – in yogurt container

Chocolate Nut Zucchini Bread – can freeze if you want to save it

Herbs – Basil, arugula, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme

Flowers – the purple is Turtle Head – look closely and you may see turtle heads!

Have a great week everyone! See you next week.

Working for a healthy and happy planet and people,

Leslie & John

Week 12 – September 11, 2015

Hello CSA members!

Last night we had a board meeting for our non-profit, Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center. Our board really helps steer direction for Wind Dance and all of its happenings – which are quite many, which in turn makes for a busy agenda. After creating the agenda, I thought, this is going to take three hours. Our board is tight, super bright, delightful, and awesome. I love them all. There are eight and we operate under consensus – we sit in a circle – no table and discuss and stay on task. Despite the long agenda we were finished in just under the two hours allocated for the meeting, and set a focus and date for the next meeting. There is a lot going on, so with flow here I go:

– we just published another book! An important book – a historic fiction about the battle of Blair Mountain in WV and mountain top removal, titled “Saving Annie’s Mountain”. Although a picture book, it is a must read for all ages, as the history of Blair Mountain and the ramifications of mountain top removal are often unknown. Textbooks have scant if any information about the battle that occurred in 1921. We found no children’s literature on the subject, and the adult literature was too graphic to share with young youth, so a book was written by kids at Wind Dance. No easy feat. The creating is a story in itself. Gary Stewart, founder and owner of Cold Run Books (and a CSA member!), did a fantastic job getting this book to its wonderfully completed state and it is up and running! If you would like a copy let Gary or us know.   Part of our board meeting included an update from Gary about avenues pursued to move the book out and into laps of readers. Enclosed is a write up.

– as part of writing the story, “Annie’s Mountain”, Tim Newton (a parent of author Lily, and a board member) and myself took the authors on a trip to Blair Mountain and to a mountain top removal site. As part of the trip we stayed with Wilma Steele in a traditional coal town in Southern West Virginia, near the border of Kentucky. Her life revolved around living in a coal town with in ground mining and mountain top removal, and she is very active with the new Miners War Museum in WV. She knows history of coal in WV and shared a lot of it with us, gave us red bandanas, and hosted us graciously with a meal and a place to sleep. We slept scattered all around her coal town home, and in the morning Tim Newton presented a song that he had written that night as the rest of us were snoring. It is a reflection of time spent with Wilma and her influence on our visit – the song, “Grandmother Mountain” was just recorded! That song and another of Tim’s songs, “Timber and Coal” is noted in the book, “Saving Annie’s Mountain”. It is in its final tweaking stage and will soon be available to listen to and download from our web site – once we figure out how that can happen. Is anyone savvy with websites? We could use some help. Prior to our board meeting some of us listened to the songs – the emotional aspect of history in song is certainly revealed.   During the meeting Tim updated us on the recording of the songs and we discussed how to have it accessible for folks to down load – possibly for a small donation to Wind Dance.

– The education center is growing! We are going up and funds are coming in, and we focused on keeping the funds flowing – our goal is to not take out another loan and to continue to raise funds through grants and reaching out to our local and extended communities. An open house will occur over the first full weekend in November, and will be combined with naming part of the building with contributions – naming a brace, a beam, a peg, and even a huge bent! It will be a grand event and an amazing process to witness. Surely not your typical building style – a timber frame construction made with huge local oak trees that blew down in a storm donated to Wind Dance. This event is going to fly in quickly and a portion of our meeting was devoted onto how to make the raising weekend flow, and will be the focus of our next meeting.   Please come! We’ll keep you posted.

– Hike-a-thon! Attached is a flyer for a fun fund-raiser – a hike in Cacapon State Park. The committee who is over seeing this event is initiating this fund-raiser on Oct. 17 – a flyer is attached. I really appreciate having this event as it is so fitting to Wind Dance – hiking in a beautiful park. The idea is for people to participate for a fee or to get sponsors. If you like to hike please come, or you can sponsor a hiker! If you don’t know a hiker we can offer suggestions.   We anticipate hikers of all ages, including participants of Wind Dance homeschool programs. Maegan Bryner and Sandy Kay ,who are on the committee, gave us an update on the hike-a-thon, and Sean Bryner offered to assist with the event as well. Yeah! Many hands make light work.

Well that was a little glimpse into part of our agenda happenings at our board meeting! Hope you enjoyed it – almost like you were there.

This week your box has:

Tomatoes                   pepper                      cucumbers                 pears

Goat cheese                eggs                            garlic

squash – it keeps coming and we keep sharing!

Beets, Carrots and a bit of chard

Herbs – Arugula, basil, chives, oregano, parsley, thyme

Flowers – partly edible – included is some more basil

Oatmeal Raisin Crisps – organic oats, flour, raisins and sugar – granulated and brown, butter, salt, baking soda, cinnamon

Hummus – organic chick peas, tahini, olive oil, garlic and fresh squeezed lemonWorking for a healthy and happy planet and people,

Leslie & John

Week 10 – August 28, 2015

Greetings CSA members,

Today is August 28 and I have a grant application due. I am requesting funds for our building project – windows from Lowe’s – 23,395.05 to be exact. The maximum I can request is $25,000.00. This morning I was wrapping up the grant proposal with the last section, and thought I’d share it with you. Here goes….to Lowe’s!

 Thank you for reviewing our application. The work we do at Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center is far reaching – we teach, demonstrate, and engage students in discovery adventures. We guide them in understanding how the earth works, and how to take care of her through daily actions and conservation efforts. Youth are also given opportunities to learn about sustainable farming and living, as well as empowerment activities tending to the earth. We need space for our farm and earth education pursuits. The building has a solid foundation and the first level is complete, and is being built with sustainable means, i.e., local logs were carefully removed from the woods and installing composting toilets. It is a strong timber frame structure. It is difficult to calculate the amount and diversity of people the education center will serve, as the intent is to serve many generations long after we are gone.

To gain greater understanding of our work and project please look at our website, Facebook page and kickstarter sites:




 We hope you enjoyed learning about our construction project and the efforts it supports, and reviewing the internet sites. We look forward to hearing from you and being considered a recipient of your generous grant offering. Thank you.


Leslie Devine-Milbourne


Keep your fingers crossed!

Included in your box this week is:

Squash – Patty Pan or Yellow

Potatoes – combination of Kenebec and Yukon Golds

A bit of Brussels        Green Beans              Cucumbers                Pepper

Eggs                            Goat Cheese               Tomatoes – a variety

Raspberries               Beets                           Carrots



Peaches – from Mr. Merica of Unger – please wash first – not organic

Herbs from John – arugula, basil, hyssop, oregano, parsley and thyme

John’s Pungent Pesto!   Basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil – we recommend adding                                     Parmesan cheese.   Basil and garlic from the farm. We spread our                               pesto into ice cube trays and freeze them – they keep a long time.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread – made with organic whole wheat white flour from CGM


Working for a healthy planet and people,

Leslie & John

Week 9 – August 20, 2015

Blessings Everyone!

“Count your blessings – name them one by one”. That’s a phrase from one of the songs we sing at the camp we worked at last week. The big blessing in the last 24 hours was rain. We came home from camp on Sunday and the earth was thirsty, parched and looking very wilted. We watered, watered and watered the gardens. We used 600 gallons of water from our storage tanks that hold rainwater from our shed and house. Our efforts provided relief for the thirsty vegetables. A couple of days later we received a blessing – the rains came. Our temporary relief was followed by the rains, which are now providing vitality to not just our gardens, but the land – the rain brought down water and nutrients for all plants to enjoy. This morning the earth is looking crisp and happy with well-fed green leaves, glistening water drops on grasses, and a brilliant blue sky. I’m looking out our big window over the deck and it is glorious – stout hues of green oaks, maples, and hickories hover this cradle we live in draped in blue sky. This morning is the first I connected the popular green and blue combinations of so many human created products as a reflection of this beautiful earth. It’s no wonder they go so well together – so naturally beautiful. I often see blue and green together – wallpaper, sheets, art work, rooms, book covers, clothing, etc. When Chenaya chose colors for her room as a teenager, 8 years ago, it was blue and green. She’s in California now, but her colorful room is still here, and when I walk into it again it will have a new meaning for me. The colors she chose are indeed “earthy”, unlike the “earthy” I would have previously limited my view.   I will look at blue and green in a new way.   It is a “blue-sky day”, we are surrounded by beautiful green trees, and our water tanks are filled again – blessing after blessing.

“It’s a Blue Sky Day,” is a quote from a child I taught about 30 years ago – Majonna, a second grader, living in a rather rough neighborhood in Germantown, Philadelphia. I’ll never forget her saying those precious words with glee and a giant smile as she walked into the cinderblock classroom with the outdoors surrounded by brick walls, concrete, and asphalt. She saw the blue sky and was full of joy. I often wonder where she is today.

Enjoy the “blue sky day”!

Included in your box this week is:

Squash                    Potatoes – combination of Kenebec and Yukon Golds

Onion and garlic                 Green Beans                         Cucumbers                            Pepper

Eggs                                            Goat Cheese                          Tomatoes – a variety

Corn – from Mr. Jim Michael           Flowers

Peaches – from Mr. Merica of Unger – please wash first – not organic

Herbs from John –

Apple Crisp – we were gifted a box of organic apples, hence the apple crisp made using a recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, with organic oats and organic flours from CGM – millet/spelt/whole wheat white, butter, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt

Working for a healthy planet and people,

Leslie & John


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