Smith River Alliance and Rock Creek Ranch: A History
The Smith River Alliance is a non-profit organization that came together in the 1980’s with the intent of conserving and protecting the Smith River and allowing the sustainable use of the area for recreation and study. The Smith River Alliance currently own Rock Creek Ranch, where CCAT was delighted to be able to have their employee retreat. However, the ranch changed hands a few times through its history.
Rock Creek Ranch was originally owned by George Owen Knapp in the 1930’s. He build roads to the property along with a house that is still there today, and a lodge that is not. The lodge was washed away by the river in 1955 and left only a crumbling stone wall and the leftovers of what looked to be a fireplace. The site has a scenic view of the river, and weddings are now held there. The ranch was then owned by Ralph and Dorothy Hollingsworth who lived on the property until they were too old to live there comfortably. Instead of selling it to a developer who would have littered the place with houses and roads, the couple decided to sell it to the Smith River Alliance, whom they knew would take care of it. Although it took them two years to raise the money, the property was sold to the Smith River Alliance in 2002. The Smith River Alliance now has made the ranch into a place of community for groups to come and experience the beauty of the Smith River and the space around it.
This past weekend CCAT went on its employee retreat at the Rock Creek Ranch. It was a weekend of bonding and togetherness for the CCAT Staff. Everyone in attendance shared something with the group to show another side of ourselves to our cohorts. We learned knot-tying, watched people sing, and played a positive game that gave all of us warm-fuzzies inside. Many people also shared poetry, and below is an example of one of our amazing CCATs. We can’t wait to go back!
Poetry by A CCATer Herself
And thus I sit
Consumed by the ideals of an altercation
to the fabrics of my being intended together.
The loose thread was tugged at again.
Like a valve in my heart, not precisely pumped and developed.
Yet still, the strings of my heart are pulled.
Moved in such precision to unravel the stitch I have sewn over my eyes.
So carefully, so indefinitely, these needles I continue to monotonously string through pre-made holes over and over and over and in these eyelids.
I’ve never noticed that pain until the string was held
so lovingly in such dirty hands, and so passionately in such a free mind
But I realize that there is no thread to use.
There has never been a spool to wrap.
I’ve just been poking holes in my skin and in my heart.
Thus, I open my mind, accept the understanding and wisdom that is offered to me.
And I embrace the chaos with all of the love in my being.
And my being will love your being.
And there is no thread to pull
You can’t unravel something
that was never quite sewn together in the first place.
Organic Gardening in the Rain
CCAT’s Organic Gardening class meets on Tuesday afternoons at CCAT to do wonderful work in the garden, but as you may have noticed, this Tuesday, it was raining! When I walked up to CCAT that afternoon, I expected the class to be canceled, but instead, they were hard at work inside the classroom. This week, they were working with Levon Durr to cultivate mushrooms! To do so, the students were inoculating alder logs to grow nomeko mushrooms. To do so, they were drilling holes into the logs and filling the holes with small dowels that had been colonized by the mushroom spores. To finish the process, they coated the spots where the dowels were drilled into the logs with a layer of wax to prevent unwanted fungi from colonizing and taking over. When they’ve finished their task, the logs will be buried in CCAT’s Hugelkulture bed and left to colonize. This process takes a year, but next fall we should be seeing lots of edible nomeko mushrooms fruiting (popping up). These mushrooms will be nutty and delicious! To learn more about the mushroom cultivation process, contact Levon Durr from Fungaia Farm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCAT held this years first Open Mic on October 15th downstairs CCAT at 7:00pm. These events happen the second Tuesday of every month, and everyone is invited to share in our safe-space presentation area. Last night, because of technical issues, the microphone wasn’t usable, but the symbolic “Open Mic” provided a space for people to share words, songs, and tunes. We had 18 people present art of some kind. For a first open mic it was undeniably successful, the attendees were still going well after the allotted time slot.
In honor of CCAT’s annual Harvest Festival, we did a bit of digging to find the origin of the Harvest Festival itself. Since the agricultural revolution people have celebrated the harvest with all kinds of celebration–the earliest ones recorded go back to the sixteenth century. They usually go hand in hand with the Harvest Moon, and today they are celebrated with Mid Autumn Festival, in the US and Canada with Thanksgiving, and in more traditional Harvest Moon celebration. The word “harvest” comes fromOld Englishword hærfest, meaning “autumn,” and the celebrations are usually around the autumn equinox.
Julia’s Favorite Vegan Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one 8 x 8 inch pan or line the bottom with wax or parchment paper.
Sift together into a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened nonalkalized cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine and add:
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Stir until smooth. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Slide a thin knife around the cake to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake and peel off the paper liner, if using. Let cool right side up on the rack.
Serve plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or frost with quick frosting.