Sperryville column for Oct. 21

Zen retreat Oct. 30-31

Zen Master Pohwa Sunim returns to lead his fourth retreat in Sperryville Oct 30-31 at Hearthstone School. Both days of the weekend retreat include talks, chanting, sitting and walking meditation. Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that favors direct realization through meditation and dharma practice.

You can find videos of Pohwa Sunim, who founded the World Zen Fellowship in the U.S. in 1994, and other information about zen practice at www.worldzen.org.

The retreat is from 9 to 5 Oct. 30 and 9 to 4 Oct. 31 in Hearthstone’s community room. All are invited to participate. Soup will be served for lunch. The retreat is free but donations are welcome to help cover the cost of Sunim’s flight from Korea. RSVP to adolfibarbara@verizon.net.

Cathie Shiff spins sheep wool into yarn with two of her sheep nearby in front of Knit Wit Yarn Shop. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

Main Street sheep

Sheep — right on the sidewalk, adjacent to a spinning demonstration by Cathie Shiff of Wits End Farm in Amissville — were a traffic-stopping attraction that Knit Wit Yarn Shop owner Rebecca Abecassis brought to Main Street to celebrate her first anniversary in business in Sperryville.

Just behind the shop were two alpacas with Gail Jaume from Platinum Alpaca Farm, and Carol Jordan Soaper, who was spinning alpaca yarn on the front porch. Visitors were also welcomed by Hayley and Riley Crossman, who sported gaily-painted faces, and tasty treats from Sperryville’s Triple Oak Bakery. The shop’s multicolor wools and kits evoked an atavistic warmth on this cool, fall day. In a world of synthetics made from recycled plastic bottles, the shop’s devotion to natural and plant-dyed wool brings us to clothing that connects us across the centuries with animals and the natural world around us.

Visit knitwityarnshop.com for news of upcoming classes and events.

Richard Jacobs of the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District office, in the river, leads a workshop for the Old Rag Chapter naturalists on macro-invertebrates in the Thornton River behind the Link in Sperryville. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

Stream masters . . .

Last Saturday Richard Jacobs of the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District led a workshop for the Old Rag Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists at the Thornton River, behind the Link, for participants in a 14-week master naturalist certification training. Monitoring samples of water to count macro-invertebrates is a part of the training that includes looking at all aspects of what makes a healthy stream. The Virginia Master Naturalist Program constitutes a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. To find out more about the local chapter, visit oldragmasternaturalists.org.

. . . and garden masters

Since May, master gardeners Becky Harman and Jack and Sally Price have been consulting interested gardeners and answering their questions every other Saturday morning at the Rappahannock Farmers Coop. Their last consultation date for this year is Oct. 30.

Old-fashioned apple butter

The aroma of hot apple butter being cooked over an open fire by Russell Jenkins and crew began at 3 a.m. Saturday and drew onlookers all day to Beech Spring Farm on U.S. 211 west of town. For the fourth year in a row we can enjoy this freshly made product, cooked the old-fashioned way with apples from a local orchard.