'Intro to Reiki' Set For Oct. 25 At Better Farm

An introductory course on Reiki practices is slated from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Better Farm.

Spend two hours with open-minded people to discover the basic principles of Reiki, all that the practice can do to improve your life, and experience a sample so you can get a feel for it. The course is being offered by Victoria Willoughby, an experienced Reiki practicioner, reflexologist, raindrop therapist, and Young Living Essential Oils representative.

"After 16 years of teaching," Vicki says, "Reiki has taught me so much to share. It has brought more joy and wonderful relationships into my life than I could have ever imagined. In a world that often seems so futile and sad, with this tool, there is always something I can do to improve any situation."

The cost of intro will be applied to tuition for anyone who chooses to take a Level 1 class with Vicki at a later time. Invest in the future for yourself, your family,  your loved ones and the world that we'd all like to create.

6-8 p.m. at Better Farm, 31060 Cottage Hill Road, Redwood. Cost: $20, click here to register.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Next Vino & Van Gogh Sip-n-Paint Class Slated For Sept. 17 At Better Farm

betterArts presents a nautically themed Vino & Van Gogh event from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at Better Farm in Redwood.

This event offers an extension option for any artists who would like to bring their child or children along! Adults will paint the anchor (top image, left), while children attending will have the opportunity to paint an attachable painting of a red fox (complete with pirate hook!).

This class will be held outside (weather permitting -- otherwise in Art Barn) at Better Farm, 31060 Cottage Hill Road, Redwood, NY, 13679. For further information, email info@betterarts.org or call (315) 482-2536. $30/adults, $15/children younger than 16. Click here to register. Email info@betterarts.org with any questions.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

betterArts Presents OUTDOOR Vino & Van Gogh Paint 'n' Sip Series In July And August

Continuing with the success of betterArts' winter and spring installments of guided Vino & Van Gogh paint 'n' sip series, the organization is offering two very special summer classes that will be held outside at Better Farm.

JULY 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Bring a picnic blanket or towel to our first-ever OUTDOORS paint 'n' sip event, held outside in paddocks where horses and alpacas roam! Enjoy a guided painting workshop from beginning to end, bottomless wine and finger foods. All materials provided! Cost: $30. Register here.

AUGUST 11, 6-8 p.m.

This event is open to parents as well as their children! As always, we will be offering bottomless beverages and endless finger foods to delight parents and children alike! This event will also be held outdoors at Better Farm. All supplies provided! Cost: $30 adults, $15 children under 16. Register here.

 

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Week-Long Workshops Planned Next Week For G4G Revival Tour: Outdoor Compost Toilets, Rainwater Showers, And Green Building Galore June 27-July 3

The amenities station that will be installed next to the Art Barn at Better Farm.

The amenities station that will be installed next to the Art Barn at Better Farm.

Better Farm welcomes Grateful 4 Grace from June 27-July 3 for a week of green-building projects, team-building and workshops.

Grateful 4 Grace is a non-profit group traveling all over the country to offer helping hands on projects that further a sustainable mission. From their website:

Combining our love for humanity and the love we have for our planet, we have set out to help others help others become more consciously sustainable. With the universe as our guide we plan to gather in effort to grow our sustainable-minded collective consciousness that will produce what we consider to be a balanced environment that all species can live harmoniously with. To accomplish this we are traveling across the world helping intentional communities and organizations that are currently helping with similar causes become self-sustainable. 

Twenty people from Grateful 4 Grace will be staying at Better Farm to help us construct an amenities station next to the Art Barn with compost toilets and solar showers fed by rainwater.  We will additionally be constructing a smaller version of the amenities station next to our new solar-powered tiny home, greywater filtration units, and working on other farm-related projects throughout the week.

The public is invited to help us on this project and gain valuable hands-on experience in construction, green building, sustainability, and alt-energy concepts. To sign up, just email info@betterfarm.org. Lunch and refreshments will be provided!

Volunteers are welcome to join us from Tuesday, June 28, through Saturday, July 2, at Better Farm between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Let There Be (Solar) Light

Better Farm hosted its first-ever solar workshop on Sunday, covering the basics of how solar energy works, introducing basic hardware for setting up your own solar kit (including information on inverters, wires, panels, and more), hands-on experience actually installing a kit on Better Farm's Tiny Home, and take-home packets so students could have reference for DIY'ing their own solar setup on any small cabin, shed, work room, studio, apartment or barn.

The workshop was taught by Allen Briggs, who has lived off-grid for years and has extensive experience wiring and installing solar and other off-grid systems.

Short History Of Solar Cell And Direct-Current Systems

The first commercial use and development of a solar panel was by Bell Telephone in 1954. However, DC systems have been used since the mid-1920s in rural areas of the US. Most were powered by wind generators.

How Does A Solar Panel Work?

In short, a solar panel is a silicon and wire lattice encased in glass that allows photons from the sun to react with electrons in the silicon. Silicon is made up of positive and negative electrons that move freely throughout the migration hole the wire lattice provides. When the photons react with the silicon, the electrons become excited and start moving repeatedly in the panel. At the same time, the positive and negative repel away from each other. This process creates electricity, which is funneled out through wires at the bottom of the solar panel and lead to a storage battery.

A Basic Solar System

First, we start with the solar panel, the wires from the panel connected to a charge controller. From there, we connect to the battery. Wires also branch off from teh battery and connect to an inverter and system monitor.

Setting Up The Solar Array

Solar panels should be set up facing south, so the panels get sun the whole day. Most solar panels are angled from 32 to 52 degrees in order to collect the maximum amount of sunlight.

For full instructions, click here.

Yoga Retreat Offered At Better Farm Aug. 12-14

Yoga Retreat Offered At Better Farm Aug. 12-14

A yoga retreat is scheduled this summer at Better Farm from Aug. 12-14.

Activities are scheduled from Friday evening through mid-day Sunday, and are available to people who wish to stay on-site (or for locals who would like to participate in the activities but sleep at home). One-day and half-day passes are also available.

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Spotlight On: Better Festival Featured Artist The Suitcase Junket

One-man band The Suitcase Junket will be a featured artist at this year's Better Festival Saturday, June 18, at Better Farm in Redwood.

The Suitcase Junket is Matt Lorenz, a Vermont-born musician, visual artist, and tinkerer. His artistic vision is one of salvaged and repurposed objects, throat-singing, and original music.

"I'm interested in the hidden voices that reside within things: the songs stuck inside instruments, the story behind the object, the mysterious weight of a word, the harmonic sequence that's in every note waiting to be broken as light through a prism."

Lorenz tours The Suitcase Junket nationally playing on festival stages and city street corners, in concert halls and dive bars, in living rooms and listening rooms. The sound isn't easy to pin into a genre, but The Suitcase Junket is often likened to Tom Waits, The Black Keys and Andrew Bird.

His instruments include a resurrected dumpster-diamond guitar, an old oversized suitcase, a hi-hat, a gas-can baby-shoe foot-drum, a cookpot-soupcan-tambourine foot-drum, a circular-saw-blade bell and a box of bones and silverware that operate much like a hi-hat. He pounds out rhythms with his feet and his twang-and-buzz guitar growls through a couple of old tube amps. On top of all this is the ethereal edge of his overtone throat-singing.

In support of Lorenz's unusual instrumentation, betterArts will host a free workshop during the afternoon of Better Festival helping people of all ages upcycle everyday objects to make instruments.

The Suitcase Junket will perform at Better Festival from 4:30-6 p.m. The band's latest album, Dying Star, was released in March and is available here. Also be sure to check out The Suitcase Junket On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @suitcasejunket.

For more information about Better Festival and to Order tickets, click here.

Overnight Outdoor Survival Course Coming To Better Farm This July

NO TENTS. NO SLEEPING BAGS. NO EXCUSES.

Test your toughness at an overnight survival camping excursion Saturday, July 30, that will test your might as you utilize primitive fire-building techniques, construct a shelter, learn navigation skills, forage for edible wild plants, field-dressing and prepare wild game, and much much more!

Course instructor is Scott Smith, a seasoned Army veteran with 27 years experience in the infantry and more than four years serving as a US Army ranger instructor.

Course starts at 10 am Saturday, July 30. Extraction from the wilderness will be 10 am Sunday, July 31, with a celebratory, farm-to-table breakfast at Better Farm. COST: $73, includes Army-issued survival manual and Survivor T-Shirt. All skill levels welcome!

This workshop is limited to 15 students. To register, click here. To see our full list of upcoming events, click here.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

betterArts Presents 'Vino & Van Gogh' Adult Painting Class April 14

betterArts presents the next installment in its adult paint 'n' sip series, "Vino & Van Gogh", from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Better Farm.

This class will feature a Vincent Van Gogh theme playing on an image of a tree with swirls, texture and movement. Instructor Maria VanPelt (LaFargeville Central School) will guide students from start to completion using acrylics on canvas.

As always, all materials will be provided and students will be able to enjoy bottomless wine and finger foods.

Cost for this class is $30. To sign up, CLICK HERE.

This class will be held in the betterArts Art Barn at Better Farm, 31060 Cottage Hill Road, Redwood, NY, 13679. For further information, email info@betterarts.org or call (315) 482-2536.

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Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

betterArts Hosts Successful Snow Hike, Craft Beer Tasting At Better Farm

Photo/Kenny Lavezzi

Photo/Kenny Lavezzi

betterArts volunteers Justin Chirico and Matthew Tardif last weekend led a group of outdoor enthusiasts on a hike around the Better Farm property beforeand adjacent Indian River Lakes Conservancy preserve. The hike was followed by a craft beer tasting, discussion of the art of brewing beer, and great company.

Many thanks to all who came out! Here are photos from the day.

To find out about our upcoming events, click here.

Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

betterArts Offers Adult Crafts Night March 24

Students will make four magnets and a collage on canvas at the March 24 class.

Students will make four magnets and a collage on canvas at the March 24 class.

An extension of betterArts' popular Paint 'n' Sip series, an adult crafts night from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 24, will feature two projects, finger foods, bottomless wine, and great company.

Instructor Maria VanPelt (LaFargeville Central School) will guide students through the creation of four magnets (see above photo), as well as a Mod Podge canvas utilizing collage:

All funds raised through betterArts workshops go directly toward arts and cultural outreach in the North Country. Class size is limited to 20 students. Cost is $30.

 CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Email info@betterarts.org with any questions.

Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.