Ironwood Maine Web Update

“To be able to handle the best, you must be able to handle the worst.”

Wilson Kanadi

            This week here at Ironwood, students and staff have been experiencing a very cold weather change.  Both the farmhouse and the farmhouse barn are taking the extra precautions to ensure the safety of the students, staff, and the animals (a special thank you to Joy, barn manager, for assisting residents in keeping the animals safe). Due to these weather changes, Frye has had an almost constant fire burning at the fire-pit.  The barn has new information posted on the walls of the barn for the expectations of the barn chores, and the variety of weather protocols for the horses.  In this update, I am going to be focusing on the students, and the community as a whole as we adjust to winter.

            The farmhouse community has been planning many ideas, and taking action to help ensure the safety of everyone during the cold season.  The farmhouse students have been going outdoors to shovel the snow. They have also been putting out sand; that way, no one slips on the ice.  The barn crew has even kept the horses indoors on days when the temperatures are extremely low, when there has also been ice in the pastures.  The work ethic and care that has been put into our environment just to ensure safety in the cold season has been very high.  These are the examples of being able to handle the worst.  I try to remember when it was warm, and how much faster we could move with the heat, instead of being frigid.  

            The farmhouse has just received a new student into level three.  The adjustment process from Frye to the farmhouse can be very difficult, and the farmhouse community has been so welcoming and supportive of the new level three student.

            The Frye campus has been a little hectic; but overall, the students in level one and level two have been working on acceptance, trust, and meeting all of their level one/ two expectations.  A few of the Frye students are passionate about music, and playing instruments.  I believe that this is a hobby that most Ironwood students pick up and learn while they have free time, or music class.

            In experiential group at the Farmhouse, therapist Chris P. has been bringing in new views, new ideas, and a place to be open and honest.  In his most recent group, the farmhouse boys and girls were brought into two lines, both facing the other line, and the group shared things such as ; “What I like most about my self is…” , “I like people who are…”, and “ The world would be a better place if…”.  This practice brought a space to share what we as a community think, and how we would prefer our environment to be.  This is also an example of the focus point.  The community is sharing their ideas with each other, taking what they were hearing in the group, and using it to help their peers be more comfortable and open.

            The farmhouse music class has now been meeting regularly on Mondays.  They have been working on a song called “Behind Blue Eyes” – by The Who.  They started off very slowly and disorganized, but have been working hard on the song, and it now sounds amazing.  There was a short period of time when the music class was not happening, but they soon found the time and the resources to get music class back up and running.  I am in this music class.  I am amazed at our progress and the talent that we have to be able to play, and even create, songs.  The music crew has been practicing songs in the farmhouse, and in the garage, during free time. This brings a very good mood to the community.  The music crew has also handled the worst, trying to learn a song that not everybody knew.  Now, we are able to handle the best meaning we all know the song, and can play it very well.

            The Ironwood community, of both staff and students, is a very positive and productive community.  The community cares for everyone, and they communicate with everyone to make sure that we are all on the same page. This has been very helpful to new students entering at level one, and all the way up to the level four and five students who are preparing to return home.  We have all been handling the worst with the weather, stress, and anxiety. But in the end, we are adjusting and remaining positive.