Mowing the Meadow

Quaker Community, Bamford

“Mowing the Meadow” 2019
A Working Retreat from September 9th-15th

Over the week, weather permitting, we give the wild flower meadow its annual hand mow using sickles, scythes, billhooks, rakes and barrows. It’s a task that requires many hands, co-operation, thoughtfulness and sharing, as much, if not more than, muscle power. As well we will give the rest of the 10 acres of grounds a tidy up after the Family Summer Camp, along with other seasonal land-based tasks. These could include laying wood chip on potentially muddy paths around the willow swamp and camping areas, de-nettling & brambling in the woods, harvesting & weeding in the polytunnel and vegetable gardens, sowing green manure in the field garden, lifting & dividing perennial plants around the Main House, cutting comfrey, turning compost and renovating compost bins. Don’t be alarmed by the list – we try to make sure different jobs are available for differing energy levels/abilities.
Each day will have a balance of work and reflection sessions, free time for rest, walking, or bike riding in the Hope Valley. We will also have shared meals and social time. There are Meetings for Worship each morning and evenings close with our Community Epilogue.
In our reflection sessions we hope to look at the sources of our individual faith and the spiritual practices that strengthen each of us and allow us to flourish in an uncertain world. The sessions, led by different members of the Community, could include Qi gong, worship sharing, looking at contemplative prayer & meditation, an Experiment with Light, art/creative writing, and singing. Other ideas for sessions/contributions are more than welcome.
Please note that all sessions, practical or reflective, are entirely optional. However, we all take our turn at preparing meals, washing up and other chores.
What to bring: We provide all bedding and towels. Please bring working/weatherproof clothes & boots, and indoor shoes and slippers. We do have a certain amount of wet weather clothing, overalls, welly boots and gardening gloves, but for comfort it is best to bring your own gear including hat. It can get midge-y on the land in the afternoons, so insect repellent is useful plus anti histamine cream/pills if you are allergy prone. Strange to write in the same paragraph, but it can also be cold at nights at this time of year, so chunky sweaters & socks could be useful too.
Charges reflect the fact that this is a working retreat and are on a sliding scale from £185 to £300 for full board for the whole week.

Pattern of the day:
8 to 8.30 ​Join us in the stillness of our daily meeting for worship
9.15​​Starting with a gentle stretching and warm up session, we will be doing a morning’s work in the garden – including a much-welcomed coffee / tea break at around 11am in the Spider Shed.
1 (ish)​​Lunch, followed by the ‘as led’ time, which could consist of walks, pursuit of individual creative projects, or rest. Some people will want to continue with whatever work they were doing in the morning, which is fine, but we do advise everyone to know their limits and to pace themselves accordingly!
5 to 6.30 ​We will have reflective sessions exploring themes of growth, the interconnectedness of life, sustainability, and other such topics as led. If you would like to offer a session at this time, please let us know – ideas always welcome.
7(ish)​​Supper and socialising
8.30 – 9​Community Epilogue