Our Home Life
Fresh flowers and beautiful art fill our homes with a warm, nurturing feeling that supports the well-being of each individual and the community. Domestic and life skills are cultivated through meal preparation and shared upkeep of the homes.
A typical home at Heartbeet consists of 3-4 adults who have developmental disabilities, two long-term householders (some with children), and 2-4 short-term live-in volunteers, all working together as a team.
Life In Vermont
Vermont is a year-round haven for outdoor fun. There are ponds and pools to swim in, lakes and rivers to paddle, and waterfalls to explore. In cooler months, we look forward to winter days of adaptive skiing and snowboarding. The town of Craftsbury is home to the world-famous Craftsbury Outdoor Center where community members can enjoy cross country skiing. Our land provides trails for walking, hiking and snowshoeing. Our pond provides a place to cool off in summer and skate on in winter. There is also time to relax and take a deep breath at weekly yoga classes held in our Hall.
Northern Vermont also offers diverse cultural activities. We often take day trips into Burlington, a small, bustling city on the banks of Lake Champlain and home to the University of Vermont. Ten minutes down the road, you will find the Highland Center for the Arts, and about 30 minutes up the road from us is the renowned Bread and Puppet Theater. And Heartbeet itself has become a cultural center for many of our Vermont neighbors, who visit our community for weekly classes from yoga and meditation to painting and felting.
To ensure the best health for our community members and the land and animals we care for, we use regenerative and Biodynamic agricultural practices. Our person-centered adaptive approach to therapeutic work on the land allows each farmer and gardener to contribute according to their unique strengths, and everyone has opportunities to continue to deepen their agricultural skills.
Our farm is centered around the care of our animals, including pasture-raised chickens, pigs, and small dairy and beef herds. Some of the activities of the farm include milking cows, collecting eggs, moving the animals for rotational grazing, haymaking, fence building, barn upkeep, making and using Biodynamic preparations, and small carpentry.
Our work in the garden keeps us busy sowing, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, and storing of a broad array of annual vegetables as well as some perennial vegetables and fruits. The 2/3-acre plot is a human-powered, no-till, permanent raised-bed system incorporating Biodynamic preparations and principles. During the growing season, we enjoy farm fresh food every day, and we preserve and enjoy the remainder of our harvest for the rest of the year.
Arts and Artisan Studios
Community members develop skills and express themselves creatively through our Felting and Woodworking craft studios. All natural materials are used to create beautiful products including wall hangings, cards, frames, and birdhouses, many of which are sold at craft fairs and galleries. This creates a revenue stream to keep the studios viable but also provides Heartbeet artisans with the experience of contributing their work and creativity to the wider world.
Music is also an important part of our everyday life. Many members of our community play instruments, and we offer singing classes and perform together formally in our hall and informally in our living rooms and gardens. We regularly welcome choral singing groups, local orchestras, and bands into our community hall for our enjoyment and as cultural offerings for the larger community around us in Hardwick, Craftsbury, and beyond.