CITR Retreat 2012

A Hands-On Experience
in the
West Virginia Mountains

September 13th-15th
Camp Sheppard, located in
Roane County, West Virginia.

2012 Party on the Farm follows
on September 16th at
Sassafras Farm.

Are you ready for the CITR retreat? Join us for an exciting adventure in the scenic hills of West Virginia!

Already reserved your spot for Retreat 2012? If you need to make a change in your reservation or enrollment, email us at [email protected] and we’ll fix you up!
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See you at the retreat!

If you haven’t reserved a spot yet: Sign Up Now

Workshop Proposals: We will be accepting workshop proposals for CITR Retreat 2013 soon. Check back for more information as it becomes available.

Retreat Sponsors: Sponsorship opportunities include providing door prizes that will be given away at the retreat and “swag” items (or money for items) that will be given to all attendees as well as sponsoring class supplies. Sponsors may be businesses, organizations, or individuals. For more information about retreat sponsorship and to see our current list of sponsors, click here.

CITR Retreat 2012

Learn old-time skills and fresh, new methods in a hands-on way with in-person mentorship from fellow CITR friends. Workshops will include cheesemaking, preserving, soapmaking, breadbaking, candlemaking, natural skin care, spinning, felting and fulling, quilting, container gardening, mushroom log inoculating, apron making, dulcimer playing, painting, goat milking/husbandry, and power tools. Take home fun and functional know-how for self-sufficient living and old-fashioned crafting–and take home what you make, too.

Evenings will be “freestyle” with craft-sharing time and some very special entertainment. West Virginia dulcimer player and maker Jim Good will entertain us with his music on Friday evening (September 14) and Granny Sue, a real live old-fashioned folk storyteller will regale us with her tales on Saturday night (September 15).

The price of the retreat includes accommodations (four nights), all meals, six 3-hour workshops, supplies, entertainment, and activities. The total cost per person is $485. You must be 18 years or older to attend. Your place can be held by either a payment in full or a deposit. RV sites are available at an additional charge. You may also bring your own camper if you prefer. (There is no additional charge for campers.) Please see all the info on the Camp Sheppard page.

Check-in to the retreat will begin at noon on Thursday, September 13. Arrive at Camp Sheppard on your own schedule and join in the fun! We will have “freestyle” activities going on all day Thursday including optional biscuit-making and pie-making workshops as well as apple butter-making (join in, take a pint home!). We’ll also have craft-sharing going on all day with craft demonstrations. Thursday will be all about you arriving at your own pace, settling into your cabins, joining in any activities you’re interested in at the hall, bonding, sharing, getting to know one another, and having a great time. Retreat workshops will take place all day Friday and Saturday.

Meals provided: Thursday supper, Friday breakfast, Friday lunch, Friday supper, Saturday breakfast, Saturday lunch, Saturday supper. The CITR Party on the Farm will begin at Sassafras Farm at 1 p.m. on Sunday with food, fun, demonstrations, and more food. Accommodations at Camp Sheppard will be available Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. If you stay in the cabins Sunday night after the party (or in a camper or RV at Camp Sheppard), you must be prepared to leave the camp no later than 9 a.m. on Monday morning.

Looking for a “ride share” to the retreat? Get hooked up here.

Browse the workshop descriptions below then click the link at the bottom of the page to hold your place at CITR Retreat 2012! There are limited spaces available.

Questions? Contact [email protected]

See the Camp Sheppard page for more details about the facilities and accommodations, RV site specifications, campers, pets, children, and outside links to travel and hotel resources (if you would like to extend your trip into a full WV vacation) as well as train, bus, airport, and car rental info. Directions to the camp and additional details will be provided to all confirmed attendees after August 1.

Workshop Leaders

Suzanne McMinn

Suzanne McMinn, writer of Chickens in the Road, milkmaid, and farmgirl. Suzanne will be leading cheesemaking, candlemaking, and breadbaking workshops.

CindyP, writer of Our Life Simplified,
do-it-yourselfer, entrepreneur, and soapmaker.
CindyP will be leading the soapmaking workshops.

Dede (aka wvhomecanner), cooking and canning addict, and co-owner of Canning2 on Yahoo groups
Dede will be leading preserving workshops.

LauraP, writer of The Land of Moo, farmer, entrepreneur, and Jill-of-all-crafts. LauraP will be leading cheesemaking, spinning, and homemade skin care workshops.

Beth (aka Blyss), a modern Suzie Homemaker who enjoys everything from spinning, sewing, knitting, canning, scrapbooking and cheesemaking. Beth will be leading the apron making workshops.

Shelley (aka twiggityNDgoats), writer of Twiggity Dairy Goats, is a resident of Roane County, Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat farmer, and is passionate about developing a homestead dairy with all the resulting wonderful milk, cheeses and other products. Shelley will be leading the goat milking/husbandry workshop.

Heather (aka MrsFuzz), gardener and producer of as much of her own food as possible even in limited space or difficult circumstances. Heather will be leading the container gardening workshops.

Kelly Walker
Kelly Walker, writer of Life of a Daily Painter, is a daily painter and teacher who believes the only thing you need in order to learn to paint is desire. Kelly Walker will be leading the painting workshops.

Pat Springer
Pat, owner of Springer’s Yarn Nook, knitter, teacher, and rock star of socks on a 9-inch circular needle. Pat will be leading the felting and fulling workshops.

Leslie and Diane
Leslie and Diane are mushroom enthusiasts, beekeepers, home vinters, and all-around DIY champs. Leslie and Diane will be leading the mushroom log inoculating workshops.

Kelly (aka kellyb) is a quilter, gardener, home canner, dehydrator, chicken-lover, wanna-be cheesemaker, grandmother, and constant student. Kellyb will be leading dehydrating and quilting workshops.

Earnie is a plumber, HVAC contractor, gardener, grandfather, dessert maker, cook, and all around Renaissance man who has run his own business for the past 32 years. Earnie will be leading the power tool workshops.

Sherry, non-music reader, self-taught psaltry, dulcimer, and fiddle player. Sherry will be leading the dulcimer workshops.

Workshop Descriptions

Workshops are offered in 3-hour blocks. Each retreat attendee may participate in 6 workshops. All supplies and equipment will be provided in every workshop.

Workshop availability status:
Breadbaking, Soft Cheesemaking, Liquid Soapmaking, Goat Milking/Husbandry, and Cake Candlemaking are closed for enrollment.

Preserving Workshops
The art of preserving is neither dying nor lost! Learn how to preserve using boiling water bath and steam canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, steam juicing, and more! Learn the principles of safe home canning, proper processing and storing methods, how to use basic canning equipment along with the ‘magic’ of specialty equipment. (Steam juicing will be “on the menu” in both canning workshops.) Something for everyone – attendees will be polled as to what skill level they desire to learn, from first-timers to advanced, and workshops will be planned accordingly.

In the boiling water bath workshops, learn what can be safely preserved by this method and the most current tips and tricks including low temp pasteurization for pickling. We’ll prep food, prepare recipes, and process. And taste!

Pressure canning workshops will take you to the almost endless possibilities in the world of preserving – meats, soups, stews and more! Learn to preserve low acid foods safely and economically, including meals in jars that are the best ‘fast food’ ever! Move beyond the fear of using a pressure canner and into the confidence of DIY.

Dehydrating is one of the oldest forms of food preservation. This workshop will delve into what can be dried, and how to prepare, store, and use what you preserve. We’ll make jerky and other foods, and use dehydrated foods in recipes. We’ll use and discuss different styles of dehydrators and even learn what else they can be used for besides food preservation!

Cheesemaking Workshops
Dive into the joy of home cheesemaking! In soft cheese workshops, experience making your own mozzarella from start to tasting. Learn the fundamental techniques to prepare you to make your own cheese at home.

Hard cheese workshops will prepare you with the basic how and why of milk, cultures, rennet, cheese presses (homemade and spring-weighted), as well as the basic supplies and equipment to set up a home cheesemaking kitchen. In each workshop, we will make a hard cheese from pot to press, and you will learn how to set up a cheese cave at home for aging to perfection. You will leave this workshop with hard cheese demystified, ready to go home and make your own.

Soapmaking Workshops
Take the plunge into soapmaking–step by step!

Hard Bar Soapmaking–Take the first step by learning how to make a good old-fashioned bar of lye soap how your grandmothers did–by hot-processing, but with a modern twist. We’ll measure, mix and cook oils and lye together as you watch firsthand the magic as lye, oil, and water is turned into a beautiful, safe bar of soap within just a couple hours. You’ll learn the tricks and techniques of pouring, slicing and drying. You’ll go home with a few special bars made by you!

Liquid Soapmaking–For those who have already worked with lye and hot processing, learn how to use a different type of lye, create a different type of trace and magically make an all-natural, fast and easy liquid soap. Take it home to use it in your own home as hand soap, shower gel, or even shampoo–another product you can take those unpronounceable ingredients out of. You’ll also learn the tricks to diluting and thickening your homemade liquid soaps.

Breadbaking Workshops
There are few things more satisfying in life than taking a warm loaf of bread made from your own hands out of the oven. Using simple ingredients, you will learn the steps of mixing, kneading, and shaping to create your own fresh-baked rolls, loaves, pizzas, coffeecakes, and more using the Grandmother Bread recipe. With hands-on experience and individual guidance, you will leave this workshop with the knowledge and skill to make homemade bread a part of your daily life. Say goodbye to store-bought bread!

Cake Candle Workshops
Love those primitive country-style artisan candles? Make your own using a few specialty wax whipping and frosting techniques! Learn how to make a basic cake candle then how to apply the techniques to create cinnamon bun candles, pie candles, loaf candles, and more. This is a hands-on workshop and you will take home your creations. No previous candlemaking experience required.

Natural Skin Care Workshops
Hands-on natural skin care workshops will prepare you with the basic how and why of preparing your own products both for babies and for grown-up skin that needs to be babied. Learn which common ingredients nourish fragile/sensitive skin and which can irritate it. You’ll take home your own green healing salve and baby-safe lotion plus detailed tip sheets on therapeutic herbs, oils, skin nourishing formulas, sensitizers, and common ingredients to avoid.

Spinning Workshops
Learn to spin yarn with a drop spindle. This hands-on workshop includes an overview of fiber preparation and lots of practice with drop spindles, hand carding, and wool combing tools, plus tips and demos on using a spinning wheel, dyeing wool, and choosing fiber for your own spinning projects. Come ready to have fun!

Power Tool Workshops
Don’t know the difference between a drill and a jig saw? This workshop will introduce you to basic power and hand tools, and take the mystery (and fear!) out of using them. The care, maintenance, and selection of the right tool for the job will be covered, and you’ll get hands-on experience with a skilled instructor at your side as you practice using various tools then craft a small project to take home. Gain the knowledge and confidence to take not only craft construction but minor household jobs into your own hands. Specifically geared to women with little or no experience with tools, but men are welcome!

Felting & Fulling Workshops
Dive into an ancient craft! This workshop will introduce you to the history and techniques of felting and an understanding of the art of fulling–and what is the difference. Learn the basics of matting, condensing, and pressing fiber then practice your new skills making soap sweaters to take home with you along with the inspiration and experience to create even more projects on your own.

Quilting Workshops
Take a fun dip into introductory quilt making by machine sewing a small project. Learn the basic cutting, pressing, piecing, and sewing techniques that form the foundation of this creative art. You will leave this workshop with your first quilting creation and a new addictive craft to pursue at home! Some sewing experience will be helpful, but is not required. While fabrics, batting, and other supplies and equipment will be provided, if you have a favorite sewing kit, embellishment, or fabric, feel free to bring it with you.

Container Gardening Workshops
This workshop will focus on the key differences between gardening in containers versus in the ground. Learn about soil dynamics, water movement and retention, proper fertilization, and common mistakes (or “opportunities for learning”) when planting in pots. Learn how to make your own growing mix, how to find the best literature available to the container gardener, how to select fruits and vegetables for container growing, and grab some great ideas for creative containers. Build your own self-watering container, based on the global bucket system, in the workshop and take it home! Leave with the knowledge and ability to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs no matter where you live or how much room you have to grow.

Mushroom Log Inoculating Workshops
You’ll never find mushrooms this fresh at the store! Learn the different ways to produce, harvest and store shiitake mushrooms with demonstrations and hands-on practice inoculating hardwood (oak) logs with sawdust spawn. Take home a new and rewarding hobby along with your log, ready for your very own harvest!

Apron Making Workshops
Make a very special souvenir to bring home from your retreat that will be both as practical and as decorative as you like. Learn to construct the apron, decorate it, and make it as cost effective as possible using remnants, items you wouldn’t usually associate with sewing, and pure creativity. Whether you are an expert sewer or have never put the pedal to the floor, you will walk away from this workshop with a one-of-a-kind apron! No sewing experience required.

Dulcimer Playing Workshops
This is a workshop for anyone interested in the only musical instrument that originated in the United States, right here in Appalachia. Whether or not you can read music, you can learn to play the dulcimer in a short time. All the basics will be covered–care, tuning, different playing styles and techniques, and learning some simple songs. (Dulcimers for use in the workshop will be provided to students. If you want to take one home, hand-crafted dulcimers from West Virginia artisan Jim Good will be available for purchase.)

Painting Workshops
Think you can’t paint? Let Kelly Walker guide you step by step as you create your very own masterpieces. No experience required! Everything you need will be provided–aprons, paint, brushes, and all other supplies.

In the small canvas workshop, you’ll follow along with an experienced and enthusiastic artist who will give you stroke-by-stroke instructions as you create your painting. Develop your artistic ability and learn about composition, color theory, color mixing, and basic painting techniques. If you’ve ever wanted to learn to paint, this is your chance. Go home with your personal masterpiece and a new-found talent to explore.

The gourd birdhouse workshop is for the birds! Learn to both craft and decorate your own gourd birdhouse starting with a well-cured gourd and using tools and paints to create a one-of-a-kind work of functional art. With a shortage of cavities available to wild birds, your gourd birdhouse will be filled in no time! You’ll choose what size hole to cut based on the type of bird you want to attract, clean the inside of the gourd, and paint the outside with the guidance of a skilled artist.

Goat Milking/Husbandry Workshop
This workshop will focus on the home dairy goat. We will have goats on-site for hands-on practice in conformation assessment, trimming, and milking (not to mention petting!). Topics include: 1) Why goats? 2) How to choose a goat to suit your needs (size, health issues, purpose). 3) Physical traits (conformation) and why it is important. 4) Management requirements (housing, feeding, and health care). 5) Practical instruction on trimming feet, giving shots and oral medications. 6) Milking by hand and machine. Handouts will be provided and by the end of the workshop you will know the basics for keeping dairy goats at home.

What do CITR Retreat attendees have to say?

“I would do this again in a heart beat! Maybe we can get away with making any CITR gathering ‘The funnest place on Earth’ and not having Disney sue us? LOL… but then again, isn’t it the people that make the event and not always the environment? So, YES! Being with a group of my CITR friends is fun beyond words!” –Blyss

“I learned so much and my horizons have been expanded beyond my comprehension. I have new skills for a lifetime and so many new friends around the country. I met the most amazing women, whom I consider my kindred spirits, thank you also for the memories.” –cincyjojo

“The friendships I formed are priceless in my mind and I cannot wait to see you all again. I learned so much and when I got home yesterday I made bread, cinnamon rolls, pepperoni rolls, herbed garlic biscuits and I am making cheese now!” –Banjobetsy

“I can’t even put into words how much this weekend meant to me (but I’ll try). Walking into a room of people who understand and love the same things that I do – getting back to nature, cooking, preserving, crafting, knowing how to be more self-sufficient – it was like finding my tribe!” –Canner Joann

See the CITR Retreat Memories topic on the forum for more Retreat 2011 experiences and the Retreat 2011 Gallery for photos.

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