Reservations for Camp Sheppard open on October 1 each year. September is a popular month, and since we had a heat wave on Labor Day weekend at Camp Sheppard this year, I was determined to get us a better September date in 2012 when perfect weather would be all but guaranteed. (That would be any date other than Labor Day weekend, which is just that little bit too close to August. The following weekend, it was 65 degrees here, and it was in the 60s, 70s, with a few days in the low 80s, the rest of the month. October 1 last year, I didn’t even KNOW we were going to have a retreat! A few months later, I took the weekend that was left available, Labor Day weekend.) This year, I did my homework in advance and I learned that reserving Camp Sheppard is a competitive event. People line up at the courthouse door early in the morning before it opens. No phone reservations are taken until all the people at the door are served. Last year, every weekend in September was taken on October 1 first thing in the morning except for Labor Day weekend.
I arrived at the courthouse at 7 a.m. with Morgan in tow. We were on our way to the WVU game in Morgantown immediately afterward. There was one person at the door ahead of me. I relaxed, secure in the glory of my number two position and secure in the knowledge that I had first dibs on September. The lady in the number one spot told me she wanted August.
I told her she was NUTS, but she was set on August anyway. She takes a week in August at Camp Sheppard every year for a family reunion so she knew what she was in for.
I told her that was fabulous (for me!), and sat down to wait for the doors to open.
Three more people arrived shortly after me and they all wanted September. I rested on my laurels.
I spent quite some time watching this little old man walk back and forth in front of George’s, periodically trying the door as if it might magically open, waiting to get in for his breakfast.
The county clerk, Charlie, opened the courthouse doors and we all poured in. Nobody was in order (standing in line), but there wasn’t any fighting. I was relieved because I really didn’t want to have to beat anybody up. Everyone observed the honor system and took their reservation in order of their arrival. When Charlie realized I was number two, he said, “You did good for a rookie!”
I don’t know how many years Charlie has been the Roane County Clerk, but it’s been a long time, and he’s one of the nicest people in the world.
His brother is our donkey hoof-trimmer.
His cousin is our pig cutter.
And then there’s Charlie, the county clerk.
I always wonder what Thanksgiving dinners are like in his family.
Anyway–we have a date, for lo it is written in Charlie’s book!
CITR Retreat 2012 at Camp Sheppard is set for September 13-17. What can you get from a CITR retreat? Learn old-time skills and fresh, new methods in a hands-on way with in-person mentorship from fellow CITR friends. Take home fun and functional know-how for self-sufficient living and old-fashioned crafting–and take home what you make, too.
Next year’s retreat will be bigger and better than ever! We learned so much from Retreat 2011–and we’ll be giving you more of what you want in 2012. More workshops, more “freestyle” activities and entertainment, more bonding and sharing time, more protein at breakfast (that’s a little in joke for those of you who were at Retreat 2011), and more cool weather (another in joke that’s not so funny!). (And P.S. we will have CITR retreat t-shirts next year, too!)
In 2012, the doors will open for you at Camp Sheppard a day earlier. We will have all-day check-in on Thursday, September 13. No matter where you are coming from, you won’t have to get a hotel. Arrive at Camp Sheppard on your schedule and join in the fun! We will have “freestyle” activities going on all day on Thursday including impromptu 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.
Official workshops will start Friday morning, and workshops will go on all day Friday and Saturday. Retreat workshops in 2012 will include cheesemaking, preserving, soapmaking, breadbaking, candlemaking, natural skin care, apron making, spinning, felting and fulling, container gardening, painting, quilting, goat milking and husbandry (with goats on site!), mushroom log inoculating, and dulcimer playing.
Evenings will be “freestyle” with craft-sharing time and some very special entertainment. I have West Virginia dulcimer player and maker Jim Good entertaining us with his music on Friday evening and Granny Sue, a real live old-fashioned folk storyteller to entertain us on Saturday night.
The 2012 Party on the Farm will take place at
Stringtown Rising Farm (edit: the party will take place at Sassafras Farm) on Sunday, September 16, and Camp Sheppard and the cabins will remain available Sunday night with check-out Monday morning.
I’m so excited. I think we have an amazing line-up for 2012. Who doesn’t want to take a shiitake mushroom log home from the mushroom log inoculating workshop? Or learn to paint in a workshop with Kelly Walker? Learn to spin, felt, make cheese, quilt, or preserve? How can you resist milking a goat? Take home an apron from the apron making workshop or learn how to make your own homemade self-watering containers in the container gardening workshop. Make soap, beauty products, and candles! (In 2012, we’ll be doing cake candles.) There is something for everyone, whether you’ve been to the retreat before or are coming for the first time. All of our core workshops will be back, plus lots of new ones.
Like last year, the retreat will be offered as a complete package–all workshops, supplies, meals, and accommodations included. If you are local, I encourage you to attend and stay in the cabins for the whole experience. The retreat will be open to adults only (18 or older). The CITR retreat is a full-on blast where grown-ups are the kids. This is your time and we are committed to giving you the time of your life.
Mark your calendars! Registration for CITR Retreat 2012 will open in January when all the details–set-in-stone line-up, price, etc–are finalized. We will open to a 75 attendee limit, and it will be first-come, first-served. Watch the blog and the CITR Retreats page for registration kick-off and the latest info on our workshop and entertainment line-up.
Chickens in the Road Retreat 2012,
A Hands-On Experience in the West Virginia Mountains.
Your adventure starts here!