Dear Friends and Family,
This year we wish you Happy Holidays from the Arctic Circle! We are enjoying this time of year here while the ranch is quietly sleeping. We are both here because Zsuzsi spent most of 2018 carrying out research at the university of Oulu, and she will spend also a part of 2019 in this magical place. This meant a big change for the Organic Art Ranch during 2018, less time spent in Transylvania but the birth of new ideas for the future. For this reason the garden and certain activities were less in focus than in the previous years. Despite this there were several workshops, including the first Thai Yoga Massage Workshop in Romania. For the same reason the 2018 season was much shorter, as we ended most of our activities by October.
One of our new activities this year was participating at a bimonthly bases at the Huedin Piata Market, together with Sara and Douglas from Kalotaszeg Durabil. Every other week we shared a stand at the market where we sold out surplus from the garden, and also brought some rare herbs and vegetables. It was a great opportunity to learn from old
local grandmas and local farmers and at the same time teach them something new.
A great setback in 2018 was the weather. The constant rain from the end of May to August has made carrying out a lot of projects difficult, especially construction, gardening and haymaking. Overall this radical weather around the country is concerning, but it brought us an array of rainbows. Because of the bad weather we had more time on breeding chickens, experimenting with an incubator, which we keep mainly for eggs and company around the homestead. The main project this year, which was slowed down by the heavy rains was the expansion Little House, which has gone through major changes.
Our Nature Retreat program was very busy, mostly full for the summer. We are grateful once more for the variety of people that we have hosted this year, some of which have become true friends. We are also grateful for friends who traveled across the globe to see us. “No man is a failure who has friends” (Mark Twain), and 2018 proved once again that we have friends far and wide that we can always count on. We are thankful beyond words for that.
Each year we support artists through our Artist Residency program. This year we were honored to host two very talented artists, Ben and Reinout, have very beautifully captured the essence of the Organic Art Ranch in the short movies that they made this fall. Ben’s movie shows some of the most essential values of the Organic Art Ranch, you can see it here. Reinout’s video also captures the beauty of the place, you can see it here.
One of the highlights of 2018 was meeting Jukka in Lapland, in Northern Finland, who has his own homestead, similar to ours. He manages to grow a lot of his own food in this harsh climate and has animals. It was impressive to see what he does above the Arctic Circle, and we are hoping to learn more from him in the following year.
The lower garden is asleep under layers of mulch until Zsuzsi is back; the goats are enjoying their freedom with the herd, and the chickens and cats are in the loving care of friends in a neighboring village. Bobby has become more chickenized but still goes straight into the house and sits on the couch when the door is open.
With some feelings of longing for the peaceful winters on our little homestead, we enjoy the uniqueness of winter holidays right under the Arctic Circle and the home of Santa Claus, reindeers, northern lights and long, white winters.
Love and Peace,
Zsuzsi and Roger