CITR Retreat 2011

A Hands-On Experience
in the
West Virginia Mountains

September 2nd & 3rd
Camp Sheppard, located in Roane County, West Virginia.

2011 Party on the Farm follows on September 4th at
Stringtown Rising Farm.

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

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

Learn old-time skills and fresh, new methods in a hands-on way with in-person mentorship from fellow CITR friends. Classes will include cheesemaking, preserving, soapmaking, breadbaking, candlemaking, homemade beauty products, and simple woodworking. Take home fun and functional know-how for self-sufficient living and old-fashioned crafting–and take home what you make, too.

The price of the retreat includes your accommodations, meals, classes, and supplies. The total cost per person is $275. 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 in the hall at Camp Sheppard on Friday, September 2, at noon with classes beginning shortly afterward. Meals provided: Friday supper, Saturday breakfast, Saturday lunch, Saturday supper, Sunday breakfast. (The CITR Party on the Farm will begin at Stringtown Rising Farm at 1 p.m. on Sunday.) Accommodations at Camp Sheppard will be available 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 class descriptions below then click the link at the bottom of the page to hold your place at CITR Retreat 2011! There are limited spaces available.

Questions? Contact CITRevents(at)

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.

See our Retreat 2011 sponsors. Thank you!

Workshop Leaders

Suzanne McMinn

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

CindyP, writer of Chippewa Creek {Our Life Simplified},
do-it-yourselfer and soapmaker. CindyP will be leading the soapmaking and homemade beauty product classes.

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

LauraP, writer of The Land of Moo, farmer, entrepreneur, and Jill-of-all-crafts. LauraP will be leading soapmaking, cheesemaking, and breadbaking classes.

Workshop Descriptions

Full sessions are offered in 3-hour blocks. Mini sessions will be offered Friday and Saturday evenings in 90-minute periods. Each retreat attendee may participate in 5 full sessions and 2 mini sessions.

Classes offered as full sessions include pressure canning, boiling water bath canning, beginner soapmaking, advanced soapmaking, hard cheese, soft cheese, and breadbaking.

Preserving Classes
Take a journey into the art of preserving–hands on and hands in! Take a boiling water bath class, a pressure canning class, or both. Dehydrating and steam juicing are also on the ‘menu’ in every class. Learn the principles of safe home canning, proper processing methods, how to use basic canning equipment along with the hows and whys of specialty equipment, how to can with low-salt or low-sugar, how to make baby food, and the tips and tricks of gorgeous jar presentations–everything from pre-canning planning to storage.

We’ll prep food, prepare recipes, then process with water bath canners and pressure canners. You will take some home and taste on-site, too. Something for everyone–from the beginning canner to the more experienced. NOTE: “Swag” for Preserving attendees will include a copy of the Ball Blue Book.

Cheesemaking Classes
Dive into the joy of home cheesemaking! In soft cheese classes, experience making your own mozzarella from start to tasting in the class. Classes will also include butter-making as well as demonstration and sampling of other soft cheeses including creme fraiche, fromage blanc, and mascarpone. Learn the fundamental techniques to prepare you to make any kind of soft cheese at home.

Hard cheese classes 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 class, 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 class with hard cheese demystified, ready to go home and make your own.

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

For the beginner, learn how to make good old-fashioned lye soap how your grandmothers did by hot-processing. We’ll measure, mix and cook oils and lye together as you watch firsthand the magic as lye and oil is turned into a beautiful bar of soap. You’ll learn the tricks and techniques of pouring, slicing and drying. We’ll also take the mystery out of soap recipes by learning the soap calculator and the make-up of different oils working together–so your family and friends can have soap that works with their skin. You’ll go home with a few bars made by you!

For the advanced, as you already know the ins and outs of lye and oils, we’ll take the next step. We’ll use a different type of lye and the hot-process method to make liquid soaps–another product you can take those unpronounceable ingredients out of. Take home your own bottle of shampoo, bubble bath, or body gel!

Breadbaking Classes
There are few things more satisfying in life than taking a warm loaf of bread made from your own hands out of the oven. Welcome to the world of homemade bread! We’ll start with a discussion of the very simple science behind yeast-risen bread then you’ll put your hands in some dough right away. Using basic, raw 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. In addition, learn about using different flours in making flavored and textured breads, homemade dough enhancer, how to choose the right pan, rising and shaping tips, methods of preparing yeast breads, how to make bread ahead, and the principles behind creating your own unique bread recipes. With hands-on experience and in-class guidance, you will leave this class with the knowledge and skill to make homemade bread a part of your daily life.

Say goodbye to store-bought bread!

In the mini sessions, candlemaking, homemade beauty products, and woodworking are available.

Candlemaking Classes
Learn the basics of this fun craft! Getting started is inexpensive, fun, and satisfying. Find out how to create a work area with the right equipment and to understand the different types of wax as well as how to use dyes, scents, and wicks. You will make your own basic container candles as well as learn to make specialty chunk and striped container candles. This is a hands-on class and you will take home your creations.

Homemade Beauty Product Classes
Learn how easy it is to create some of your basic beauty products. Find out how to mix and match ingredients you may already have on hand at home to make lotions, creams, and more! Learn how to read the ingredient label on your bottles and figure out what you actually need to duplicate the products you already love, expanding on the basic products in class. This is a hands-on class–you’ll take your beauty products home!

Woodworking Classes
Learn the skills to construct simple projects with hands-on guidance in the class, using simple tools. Projects include soap mold/cutter, cheese press, bird-feeder and decorative, useful items for your home.

You’ll go home with your masterpieces and the basic knowledge to assemble more projects at home on your own.

Registrations closed!