The CITR Retreat 2011 Report


This past Saturday morning, I woke up at 7:30 a.m. to find BuckeyeGirl (Deb) and Gayle outside milking my cow. They had gotten up early and driven here from Camp Sheppard to take care of BP for me so that I could get ready to teach. There was not one moment of the entire weekend that wasn’t packed with an example of cheerfulness, helpfulness, giving, sharing, and selflessness like that. Everyone did things that they didn’t have to do and often weren’t even asked to do. (LauraP was at my house scrubbing my goats’ water buckets the morning of the party! Kellyb’s husband fixed my toilet! Cincyjojo carried out load after load to my car Saturday night! Don’t even get me started on Mrs. Fuzz who gave up her last two classes to go with Pete to take home another attendee who had fallen ill! Or I’ll have to write a whole post just about her! Without a doubt, Mrs. Fuzz is a hero to every single person who was there when it happened.) People who PAID to be at the retreat were happily mopping floors, carrying pots, washing bowls, and laughing while sweat rolled out of their soapmaking gloves when they lifted their arms. We had a HEAT WAVE. September is my favorite month of the year here for its perfect weather, and never did I imagine it would be 100 degrees the weekend of our retreat. The hall had no air conditioning.

I never heard a single complaint.

(You should have seen how fast the bread was rising in the breadmaking classes!)

There was nothing but smiles and laughter and hugs all weekend. Everyone was so eager to learn, and a joy to teach. “What can I do to help you?” was heard over and over by every teacher. For me, it was a thrill to see people almost jumping up and down when they made mozzarella or realized how easy it was to make bread and candles and soap. I watched women who’d never used a drill before parading proudly through the hall with cheese presses they’d made themselves. People who were afraid to can took home jars of salsa and banana split in a jar–no longer afraid. The kitchen was filled with preserving students helping our cook, Debbie–just because they could. I think I can speak for all of us who worked at the retreat, thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. When we were tired, you were giving us a hug. When we were hot, you were making us laugh. And when our feet hurt, you were asking us what you could carry. You carried us.

Thank you to CindyP, Dede, and LauraP for teaching (and 52 in woodworking!), Debbie for cooking our meals and baking bread 12 hours a day (NO EXAGGERATION), Pete and BuckeyeGirl and Gayle for tirelessly volunteering, and CindyP again for being an amazing partner in the planning and preparation for months on end.

You can read more about everyone’s experiences at the retreat in the forum topic here: CITR Retreat Memories.

See the complete CITR Retreat 2011 gallery of photos here. (Wish I’d taken more! I was distracted!)

And YES. We’re doing it again. (Maybe a few weeks later in the year so we don’t risk another heat wave.)

See you in 2012!

P.S. If you have retreat photos on your blog or Facebook, feel free to post the link to share!


  1. CindyP says:

    Yes, thank you from the bottom of my heart! Everyone there made this retreat more than I ever hoped it to be! :hug:

    See you next year!

  2. Canner Joann says:

    I am so happy tht you are doing this again!!!!!!! I am sure that I speak for many when I say this – we can’t wait!

    I’ll be happy to help out, too!


  3. wvhomecanner says:

    Agree, agree and WOOHOO!!!
    I am ready to do it again now that my feet aren’t hurting LOL! Suzanne, many attendees asked at Retreat if we were going to do this again. I told them to ask you – umm after a week had passed ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Still floating after such a fabulous time – heat, exhaustion and all couldn’t override what a wonderful experience we all had!


  4. kellyb says:

    I have never been with a more wonderful or positive group of people. The only complaint I heard was about the heat and that was more a statement than anything else. When you consider how much was done, in crazy heat, I think everyone deserves a huge pat on the back. The teachers were amazing, the attendees were amazing, Deb, the cook was AMAZING, the food was amazing… I think I see a pattern here. My husband kept saying it was like watching little kids on Christmas morning. The smiles went from ear to ear, a wonderful experience. Thank you so much.

  5. Landodixy says:

    kellyb – that is EXACTLY how I felt…like a kid on Christmas morning! I am so happy that there will be another retreat next year! It was so wonderful sharing this experience with all of you.


  6. Miss Judy says:

    I am enjoying the retreat posts so much I can’t imagine the thrill i’ll get from GOING TO THE RETREAT NEXT TIME! Yes I am going…even if I have to take the time off with no pay! I vote for later in sept. too. CITR is Wonderful!

  7. Hlhohnholz says:

    Yay!! We get to do it again next year!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ll just say “ditto” to everything said so far. Hot-definitely. But it’s in the 50’s here this morning, and now I’m freezing! lol My poor body doesn’t know what to do. There are so many “amazings” in conjunction with this weekend, I don’t know that anyone could list them all (although Blyss gave it a good shot in the thread yesterday ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I know that you especially, Suzanne, were completely exhausted by the end of the weekend. Just remember, the first time is always the hardest. Next year things will go a bit smoother. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait!!!! Oh, and I have to get a load of tomatoes in the dehydrator this afternoon. I can’t believe I’m saying that. I have a DEHYDRATOR!! Eeeeeee!

  8. MMHoney says:

    Hello One & ALL;
    The third week in October is the peak of Fall Colors. (leaf foliage)
    That only adds to the enjoyment. Those interested needs to get their name in the “pot” early. Can’t wait until July…. Just a word of wisdom. Aim at bigger and better things…..

  9. CarrieJ says:

    That was a once in a lifetime experience! I am going to make hard cheese and hard soap. And roast some coffee beans. Here are some of my photos….still more to come of BP and me milking her!

    Thank you so much everyone for putting this on (and putting up with us!).!/media/set/?set=a.2155861616194.2115980.1236064615&type=1

  10. Sonia says:

    I will be there with bells on my toes!! I am definitely back for next year, Yipee!!!!!

  11. CarrieJ says:

    My boss is coming next year…that means I have to stay here and hold down the fort. It’s a good trade ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. TwistedStitcher says:

    I didn’t see any pictures of 52 making the cheese presses. Maybe an online tutorial like the soap making, candle making, etc? I would love to see how that is done. And I am definitely coming next year. I was so sad I had to miss it this time.

  13. Blyss says:

    :woof: YEAHHHHHHHH! I am SOOOOOOO glad you are doing this next year! I was SO sad being told it didn’t look like it would happen again… missing all my Chicken Sisters… so YEAHHHHH! Now, to wipe the tears from my eyes and get back to work… yuck!

  14. cincyjojo says:

    Oh, Hooray! There’s going to be a next year!!!! I want cabin 1 again!!! I said it first so, y’all can’t push me out of the way.

    I only posted a few pics but here’s my link.

  15. whaledancer says:

    I’ve got a big smile on my face just reading about it.

    Suzanne, I’m not surprised that people were helpful and uncomplaining. Besides the fact that they were probably having a blast, these weren’t strangers who were just paying customers. These were members of a community, CITR friends who simply hadn’t met in person yet. And that’s what friends do, pitch in. It’s more fun that way, anyway, IMO, because you get to be a part of things.

  16. Flowerpower says:

    Thats the way it ought to be everywhere! Sounds like a fantastic time was enjoyed by all..heatwave or no heatwave. I was afraid you would get hammered by the tropical depression heading that way. Lucky those who got to attend. Maybe one year..sigh… :happyflower:

  17. JeannieB says:

    Thanks for sharing your pics, some I could open and some I could not. But neverless, I want to lease SC and move in with Suzanne!!

  18. JeannieB says:

    I need tp correct my post, I want to LEAVE SC, not lease it!!

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