Sustainable Sharing – Sunshine House CSA

Jennifer and I are delighted to announce we are offering shares in our first Sunshine House CSA!  Our son James has been spearheading the transformation  with the help of many of our friends, and a few WWOOFERS (stay tuned for more on WWOOF), to expand our modest permaculture homestead to a small market farm (small being the operative word).

Over the next couple of  months we expect to harvest cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, peas, carrots, beets, radishes, lettuce, chard, cocozella squash, peppers, okra, rhubarb and several varieties of tomatoes.  Additionally our herb garden is full of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme  ( I could not resist) and second lesser known verse; marjoram, tarragon, mint, and chives.  We will also share at least once: honey, seasonal fruit, and farm fresh eggs.

We anticipate our harvest to begin Monday July 9th and continue weekly through September 24th.  We are offering our twelve week share for a modest investment of $300.00.  Pickup will be available Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning at the Sunshine House in Cromwell.  James is willing to offer delivery. Please call to discuss.

Sustainable Sharing

Over the past five years we have enjoyed sharing our abundance with family, friends, and neighbors. Recently we have realized how important it is for us to do what we love as a lifestyle! We invite you to join us in making an investment in this healthy lifestyle and grow the Sunshine House Farm infrastructure, capabilities and offerings. We will use the rest of the the proceeds of this share and continue to give fresh fruit, produce and eggs to our local Food Pantries.


I’m new here…

“I’m new here”

These words illicit an enormous amount of fear and vulnerability for me.  As a young child we moved often;  as a result, walking through new experiences today takes effort, courage and faith. Let me tell you a quick story giving an example that I am not alone in what I need in these situations!

Recently Michael and I shared the day with a wonderful group at our Matching Pictures Workshop.  During one of the communication exercises a guest shared her experience attending a new yoga studio.  On her arrival she announced to the desk staff, “I’m new here.” The desk staff smiled and continued on with her duties.  She thought she shared that she was needing information, connection, and comfort, yet her perception was the receptionist was not very helpful.  woman on yoga matThe check-in process involved one of the new-fangled touch pads and there weren’t any directional signs for changing rooms or lockers. She announced again, “I have never been here before, how do I sign in?” Rather than explain how to sign in the receptionist walked to the front of the counter and quickly completed the sign in for her. Our friend expressed to us her feeling of embarrassment at this point in the interaction.  She then asked the woman where she should put her stuff during class. The desk staffer waved her arm in the direction of the wall of cubbies. So while this is an extreme example of “losing strategies” it is one worth sharing.  It is indicative of the daily conversations we have, in our heads and out loud with others that do not meet our needs.

The point of the exercise  at our workshop was  to show that we sometimes engage in “losing strategies” when we communicate, we make statements rather than asking for what we need. Our guest was able to relate how she did not get her needs met because she did not make a specific request. Part of Compassionate Communication is learning to identify what we are feeling and needing and making an appropriate request in order to get our needs met.

So here is the cool part. For those not aware I am a yoga teacher as well. I would like to think I am  a gracious and attentive teacher and host, especially in the yoga studio. And as I shared above, when it comes to new experiences I am very sensitive and empathetic to people’s vulnerability in  trying things for the first time. The next morning I was at the Connecticut Yoga Center preparing to teach my Sunday morning class and 3 new people arrived!  It was one of the students very first yoga class ever! The young woman walked up to the counter and said “I have never been here before.” My heart smiled! The example from our guest the day before was so fresh in my mind that I knew exactly what this new yoga student needed! She was making a  statement rather than asking for  what she needed- information, connection and comfort but because of my own practice with Compassionate Communication I was able to identify that.  I went around to the front of the counter and with a smile I explained to her how to sign in, then I took her by the arm, led her to the studio, showed her where everything was, and helped her set up her mat.  The look of relief and peace on her face indicated to me that her needs were met.

Helping the new woman sign in and feel comfortable at the yoga studio was the most important yoga I could have practiced that morning; connecting with another human being through empathy. Yoga means union, we are one, we feel the same feelings, we experience the same fears and joys. Compassionate Communication has taught me to express my needs appropriately so that I have the best opportunity in getting my needs met. It also teaches me to listen with empathy for the needs of others so that I may be of service in times of need.

Getting Matching Pictures…what it took.

“That’s not what I meant!”

For years I found myself muttering this under my breath. I know what I meant!  I know it is so obvious! How could someone possibly think I meant that?!?!

While we have had a wonderful marriage we did have our fair share of “being misunderstood” or feeling “unappreciated” which ultimately led to what we lovingly call the death spiral of verbal entanglement…every.single.time.

Sound familiar? To register for the August 6th workshop click here.

It took 20 years of marriage counseling, individual therapy, book upon book, method upon method, degrees, sailing trips, houses, and almost calling it quits – so many different strategies in order for Michael and I to figure out that what we needed was to learn to listen with empathy and express ourselves honestly and without judgement in order to enjoy and flourish in the full measure of love we had for each other.  Well, in the summer of 2011 NVC (Non-Violent Communication) found us (long story haha!). It saved our marriage, our hearts, our lives, our sanity.  We now fully enjoy the 25 years of life we have shared.

We have combined our personal NVC work and skills along with some tools we’ve learned in a couple of other methods to bring you “Matching Pictures”.

This one day workshop August 6th from 8:00am-5:00pm is an Introduction to Compassionate Communication.

How do we find the peace within our hearts and with those we love? How do we practice meaningful communication in order to get our needs met appropriately?

20130913_214132Explore with us new approaches to communicating that help us connect with others and our divine energy. During the workshop we will participate in several fun exercises that will help us practice and explore listening with empathy and expressing ourselves with an open and loving heart.

This workshop is appropriate for couples, siblings, families or individuals looking to connect with their loved ones with more intention.  The skills can be applied to all relationships, especially ourselves!
This workshop is based on the work of Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, a language of compassion, referred to as NVC. For those of you unfamiliar with NVC you can visit the Center for Nonviolent Communication’s website and read the first chapter of Rosenberg’s book.

To register for the workshop click here.

Registration and light breakfast fare are from 8:00am -9:00am
Registration Fee of $75.00 includes all the materials needed for the workshop which you will keep, a light morning breakfast fare, a catered healthy summertime lunch and afternoon refreshments. Please wear whatever you are most comfortable in. Our workshop room is a beautiful sunlit room on the waterfall overlooking a beautiful pond.
The workshop will begin promptly at 9:00am

“That’s not what I meant!”

How many times have we found ourselves muttering this under our breath, frustrated that we found ourselves feeling “misunderstood”? What are we missing? How do we find the peace within our hearts and with those we love? How do we practice meaningful communication in order to get our needs met appropriately? We understand and we have been there!

Have you attended one of our previous workshops?  Then please, come join us for a refresher!  Join us for a Matching Pictures One-Day Refresher Course for $40.00.  Attend alongside new participants and experience all of those “aha!” moments anew.  Enjoy the camaraderie and food while getting your needs for connection and shared reality met! Register here.

Some of our favorite things

Here is a short list of vendors we have found to be extremely helpful in our homesteading attempts. Enjoy!

Omlet  This is the chicken coop we started with. A fully enclosed, plastic (read easily cleanable!) double insulated, varmint proof chicken coop. We love ours! We quickly outgrew it because we have more than 4 chickens now but we use it as a brooder for new hens each year. we just love it.IMG_20140717_181948







AZ Apiaries For the Love of Bees Bees, supplies, hives and most important successful experience! Right here in Connecticut! It’s nice to have someone local so when you catch a swarm of bees like this you have somewhere to put them!

Blue Sky Bee Supply  An online Beekeeping resource that we lean on regularly. Owned and operated by the family of my dear friend Heather.


Shelter Logic  On our little urban homestead we needed a sturdy, legal and relaible shelter for our rabbits.  This company shipped it right to the house and my husband and son assembled it in two days!20150712_164616





My Pet Chicken A wonderful resource, also right here in Connecticut, for the Backyard Chicken.  Everything from brooding lights to chickens!  We have had great success with everything we have ever purchased here, even our little peeping chicks that come in the mail! Nothing better than getting a phone call from the post office at 5:45am in the morning! You should get backyard chickens. Here is why.