On October 2nd Gail and board member Patti Doiron participated in Brattleboro’s Buddy Walk which is an annual event held to raise money for the Winston Prouty Center. We sold FC tee shirts, homemade cookies and met many wonderful people. Another huge delight was seeing old friends who were also participating in this important community event.
FC is now looking more uptown thanks to the Brattleboro Kiwanis Club who have donated 5 benches to place in strategic places. The benches allow clients and their families to have a comfortable place to sit and observe our teachers interacting with peers or with other species of teachers. This special contribution to our environment is a keenly important one. A HUGE thank you to the Brattleboro Kiwanis Club!
Bridget, Scarlette and Bob enjoying one of the new benches.
Another wonderful addition to FC has been the increase in our volunteer staff. Annette Dykema, Natasha and Joshua, Katie MacAllister, Anna, have joined our volunteer crew and have already made a huge positive difference at FC. Natasha and her husband Joshua have made our duck habitat look oh so much better and more comfortable for our inimitable duck teachers and with help from Annette have reconfigured the chicken yard. The volunteers have been staining, cleaning, mucking, training etc. What a wonderful thing for all!!!
Our new volunteers join: Elizabeth Doiron, Maya Sutton-Smith,Wendi Zimmerman and Katie Reynolds who have contributed so very much in helping to make Farming Connections a better place for both animals and people.
We lost some very precious teachers over the past months. Fernando, the world’s most adorable donkey died unexpectedly this winter. There were many tears shed as Fernando brought joy to so many. His absence can still be felt.
Our Beloved Fernando
We lost our playful feline clown, our beloved quirky little Cole Daniel Bolo. He was not feeling well but before we were able to bring him to the vet he disappeared.
Saryn, who with her son Ethan sponsored Cole Daniel, is holding the little guy the day he arrived.
The severe heat of the summer took a heavy toll in the chicken family: we lost Amanda, Helen and Maude. The circle of life can be a very difficult one to accept but harder to deny. While our tears were still wet on our cheeks, Samantha presented us with 6 healthy and adorable chicks. New life has a way of reminding us that death and birth are tied together.
Maude, Shade's Mom, stately friend
Amanda, Elizabeth's special girl
Helen who ruled the roost with dedication
Many of the young people who come to Farming Connections have had trouble making and keeping friends, getting along with others — including members of their own family. It is not uncommon for people who do not feel comfortable around others to avoid looking at them directly – even when they are talking to someone. This lack of eye contact makes it impossible for them to become good at reading the expressions and movements of others.
While one cannot go back and redo what happened in early childhood or modify genetic predispositions, it is possible to improve one’s ability to notice nonverbal cues and translate them. Starting this communication education with animals makes it far less threatening than starting with peers or authority figures. Animals, after all, do not judge us they simply respond to us. Our farm teachers are quite good at letting us know how things are going. Making a mad dash away from us is hard to miss or to misinterpret and a slobbery lick while trying to fit into your lap is equally transparent. While these behaviors are easy to read, more subtle animal speak can also be mastered. This mastery and the accompanying self-confidence it brings can become a springboard to improvement in communication away from the farm.
Now what does that mean??
Below is an excerpt from an article that relates to how we can improve our ability to connect with others:
What do neuroscientists know about what happens in the brain when we are more “socially intelligent?” One finding is that what one person does…exhibit empathy, for example… affects their own brain chemistry as well as the people around them. One person’s behavior “powerfully leverages the system of brain interconnectedness,” wrote Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, authors of “Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership” in September’s Harvard Business Review.
Scientists found the existence of “mirror neurons;” when we become aware of someone else’s emotions via his or her behaviors, our mirror neurons mimic those emotions. The neurons create an “instant sense of shared experience.
Intuition also is located in neurons called “spindle cells.” These make it possible for a super-rapid coming together of beliefs, emotions, and judgments that result in our first impressions of people we’ve just met. It’s our social guidance system, Goleman and Boyatzis wrote.
The surprising thing to me about all this is that if you’re motivated to have more social intelligence, take heart. You can. Once you become aware that your SI quotient is low, you can learn and practice new behaviors and thoughts, which lead to changes in emotions…”
After a long absence of blog updates it’s time to bring everyone up to date.
As you may have guessed, we had yet another litter of little bunnies. Ms. Madison, pictured in the little red truck, was the smallest and some would say the sweetest.
We had a full house of hoppers- almost wall to wall rabbits. The boys who still live here have all been neutered and the baby boys who were not neutered are in their new forever homes. What this should mean is we will not be having any more baby rabbits but will spend our time enjoying the ones we have.
Our exciting plan for our rabbits is to have a bunny jumping competition right here at Farming Connections so stay tuned!
When rabbits were bumper to thumper. (sorry about that)