Three sisters garden

There is an Indigenous practice of growing corn, beans and squash in the same bed as a form of companion planting. This inter-planting allows each to thrive and support each other similar to three inseparable sisters.

There are many variations of the three sisters garden, and this is what it looks like at the Luther Glen Garden.  We have non-GMO corn, the first of the sisters planted growing tall and strong.  We have sugar snap peas planted right next to the corn that vine up the corn, using the stalk as a trellis. The peas are a legume that fix nitrogen, meaning they take nitrogen from the air and bring it down to their roots allowing the other sisters to absorb it from the soil.  Finally, we have pumpkins that like to sprawl and cover the soil around the corn and peas.  The pumpkin plant acts as a living mulch, covering the soil and reducing evapotranspiration (water loss from soil to atmosphere), while also suppressing weeds.  The prickly nature of the squash vines keep critters away who might normally nibble on the fruits of the others.

This practice is applicable to our lives as well! We each have different gifts and when we work together we can support, uplift, and allow each other to thrive.

Romans 12:6-8

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

 

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Giving it our ALL

This summer Onsite and at Day Camp we are focusing on being “All In” and “All Aboard.” We are looking at what that means in our faith lives. Over the course of the week we will be discussing how we can be “all in” with God by loving with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength. Our prayer, every summer, is that the lessons we teach at camp go beyond just the one week we spend with the kids.

And so we want to share with you one of the ways in which we at Luther Glen find ourselves “All Aboard.”

It’s no secret that starting a farm is a long, slow process, full of ups and downs. But part of that journey is faith in a larger plan and being “All In.” With a strength of faith we believe that the mission of a sustainable farm is worth the tireless hours of labor, the building permits that take longer than anticipated to go through, the late season cold, and the early freeze. Being “All In” means that we continue to trust God through the good times and the bad. It means that we keep getting up early and pushing forward, even when first plans fall through.

Being “All In” means that we are working towards something bigger than ourselves and we will put heart, soul, mind and strength into it.

We hope that the plans God lays out for you inspire you to jump “All Aboard.”

 

Summer is here!

It’s our favorite time of the year once again! All at once the weather has warmed and the camp has filled up. Last Saturday we were blessed by all of you who turned up for the barn fundraiser. And now our summer staff has moved in and begun to train for the summer ahead. There is so much to think about as we head into this season, so many lessons we can learn from the farm.

We learn from the farm that patience is essential, that nothing fruits overnight. We know some campers will come with hesitation and that is okay – with patience, time and attention, our prayer is that they find their own place here at Luther Glen.

We learn from the farm that things don’t always go according to plan, and that is okay. We often set some new farm initiative into action – a new planting or watering system, a temporary fence or shelter – and we watch it fail immediately. But we always learn something, we always walk away with a different understanding of what we set out to achieve. We spend countless hours planning summer camp. And you know what? At some point we’re going to be way off schedule. A skit or a game or a meal that we think is going to be a hit is actually going to end up being a huge miss. But we’re going to learn something. We’re going to get to spend time in a new and unplanned moment.

We learn from the farm that new beginnings are not only possible, but can lead to incredible things. Four summers ago there was no farm to speak of. Luther Glen/ Yolijwa was running summer camp but there wasn’t much more happening on this site. With a lot of work, a tremendous amount of support, and a trust in God’s plan, this site has seen a remarkable transformation. The new beginning of Luther Glen through the farm has revitalized the site, the staff, and the summer camp program we run. We see first hand that new beginnings can change lives. And summer camp is that new beginning for so many young people. It is the time when so many of our youth take hold of their personal relationships with Christ. It is a step outside of the box, it is the big leap of faith. No week of camp is the same but each week offers a new beginning – and we see how powerful that can be.

Please join us in prayer as we move forward in faith for a safe, patient, flexible, life-changing summer.

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But Why a Barn?

If you follow us on Social Media, receive our mailings, or if we have visited your congregation recently, you’re sure to have seen that we are in the midst of a huge fundraising campaign to build a barn.

You might be thinking – but why a barn?

The barn is intended to be the Heart of the Farm. This barn will protect the livestock from the elements as needed, act as nursery for newborns. It will store food efficiently, and double as a classroom for adults and children alike. This barn will be a base for Bible studies and work projects. We feel the need for it pulsing in our day-to-day. But this is no small project and we need all the help we can get.

This Saturday, June 9th is our big Barn Fundraising Event. If you can, please join us at Luther Glen! RSVP to: Office@LRCChome.com

If you can’t make it on Saturday but you do want to have a hand in making this dream a reality- don’t worry!

You can still make donations through our website: LRCChome.com/donate

*Make sure you designate “Barn” for your online giving.

This barn will impact so many intricate pieces of our daily ministry at Luther Glen and it isn’t possible without the support of our donors and our congregations.

Thank you for all you do.

But Why Great Pyrenees?

Most of our farm animals are differentiated by their species but in the case of the dogs at Luther Glen – the breed is very important.

When we first began to build the farm we knew it was very important that we find a livestock guardian dog to help us protect the animals that came to live here. We talked to a number of the many farms in the area and the choice was very clear – we wanted a Great Pyrenees. This breed of livestock guardian dogs is not only fiercely loyal – they are gentle, hardworking, affectionate and vigilant. What more could we want?!

Our dogs are loving but they are also working hard all day, every day. Luther Glen is located in a rural mountain area and there is no shortage of predators that could impact our livestock. However, with these Great Pyrenees guarding day and night we don’t have to worry nearly as much. Ranger can chase off a coyote, Annie has stopped a rattlesnake in its tracks. The livestock are never without their guardians and in this, we believe that they are safe.

We are so happy to welcome a new Pyrenees to our herd. Shasta came to work for us yesterday and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Shasta is the sweet, hardworking sister of Ranger. Almost three years old, Shasta has been raised as a working dog at a local ranch. Due to downsizing the rancher needed to rehome some of his many animals and contacted us because he knows she could thrive here. Shasta has been raised with livestock and we expect her to excel here at Luther Glen. And to top it all off she’s an absolute sweetheart and a joy to work with. We can’t wait for you to meet her.

So why do we have Great Pyrenees? Because they make all this possible.

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But Why Chickens?

The happy hens of Luther Glen are almost always nosily clucking away in their hen house. These loud layers are some of the hardest workers on the whole farm. With over 100 hens, one of the biggest areas of production Luther Glen Farm has seen over the last three years is egg production.

With the hard work of these hens we have been able to move to providing farm fresh eggs for our campers and guests year-round. We also use the eggs to support our local community. For each dozen of eggs we sell, we donate a dozen to Central City Lutheran Mission in San Bernardino. When we started the farm we wanted to reach back out into our community and provide food for those in need. The eggs have been the way we have thus far been able to see this goal met.

But the chickens are doing even more than production – they are providing us with a comprehensive look at a lifecycle, which has been tremendous for our Outdoor Education program.

With the help of our incubator we are able to provide students with an understanding of the entire lifecycle of a chicken. While we are incubating eggs, students are able to use a light to look into the egg and see veins and body development through the shell. If we time it right, chicks can even hatch while students are present! They are able to see the life of full grown laying hens – how they peck and forage during the day, lay eggs, and curl up in their coop at night.

We have a wide variety of chicken breeds so our egg collection is always a treat. Guest and campers are always surprised at the variety of colors and sizes the eggs are. From the Americauna’s greens eggs to the Maran’s rust colored eggs, every day feels like Easter at Luther Glen!

Our hens are always working hard and are an integral part of the farm and how it works daily.

 

But Why Sheep?

When we talk about our “herd” of livestock, we’re speaking generally about the group of goats and sheep that roam the farm, mowing down any stray weeds and entertaining our guests. Often they get lumped together when we talk about them, but the goats and the sheep are actually very different from one another.

In our experience, where the goats are playful, the sheep are more standoffish and reserved. Where the goats eat the tops of all the grass and weeds, the sheep tend of mow clear to the ground. Where the goats flock to people for attention, the sheep seek out other sheep. This reserved nature is where we get the expression “sheepish” in the English colloquial. Sheep tend to hang back, to hide out. But over the last three years these quiet creatures have become some of our most beloved animals.

Most often sheep are raised on farms for meat or for wool. Ours provide neither of these two things. We are home to a varietal of sheep that molt their wool with the seasons and do not need to be sheered. While this saves us a considerable amount of time, it means that we don’t reap the rewards of their naturally occurring assert. But we find value in the sheep in other ways.

Because we are primarily an educational farm, we find that having different varieties of livestock in our herd helps to broaden the scope of what we can teach.

When it comes to the sheep, we are able to teach guests and campers that female sheep are called ewes, male sheep are called rams, and baby sheep are called lambs.

We can teach that, although we usually use the term “herd” to refer to our livestock, a group of sheep can also be known as a flock or mob.

We can teach that if you feel like the sheep are always watching you – you’re probably right. Sheep have a 300-degree field of vision, allowing them to see around and even behind them without turning their head. This helps them to be aware of their surrounds and of any predators that might be sneaking up on them.

We can teach that like goats, sheep are ruminant mammals which means that their stomachs consist of four chambers, with which they digest their food

We can teach that the sheep gestation period is 152 days, so once we breed our sheep we know that we have five months to prepare for the new arrivals.

There is a lot that campers and guests can learn about our sheep, and that is why they happily make their home at Luther Glen!

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