This is the 75th year since the first 3 nuclear bombs were detonated on earth. The Catholic Worker Farm Movement continues to be part of a constructive program of resistance to the terrors of industrial violence, including atomic weapons, through the power of Love and self-sufficiently living off the local land.
The Earth Abides Catholic Worker Farm in Calaveras County is part of an 87-year-old movement which began in New York on May 1st (MayDay), 1933. On that special MayDay Peter Maurin, Dorothy Day and other friends began publishing a newspaper called The Catholic Worker, which promoted Catholic Social Teaching including respect for life and the greatness of the working-class. The Movement is founded upon direct service to poor folks, voluntary poverty (not to be confused with destitution), communal living and nonviolent resistance to oppression, war and injustice, with a focus on the connecting of people with their environment.
The Catholic Worker is one of the earliest back-to-the-land movements in the U.S.A. amidst the rise of the American Empire. There are many Catholic Worker houses and a few farms in the US, but no organizational ties to the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The autonomous Catholic Worker (CW) communities almost never depend on the Roman Catholic Church system for support. Many CW communities include Catholics, and each CW community is run solely by the anarchists and others who comprise it.
California’s Catholic Worker Farm is situated on 80 acres in the Ponderosa Pine belt of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada at about 3,200 feet elevation. In the first 30 years of this CW Farm we had a “Sheep Ranch, California” address, which became diverted to a “Mountain Ranch” address with a new (old) zip code around 2006. We also enjoyed ponderosa pines before they were decimated by the western pine bark beetle, which has quickly killed at least 10% of our forest stock. So in 2018 and 2019 we didn’t have goats or alpacas or chickens or vegetable crops while we dealt with the fire hazard of the beetle-killed trees. Nowadays, Canticle Farm of Oakland counts us as their daughter, and the original group running the land trust has moved to Sutter County, CA.
The weather is generally mild but can be somewhat unpredictable. It usually snows at least once every winter. One winter we had 3 feet of snow in one dose, but it melted in under 2 weeks. In winter, the roads are muddy and slick. In summer, they are dry and dusty. We are extremely remote if you are used to suburbia or city-living. Temperatures vary from 10F/-11C at night in the winter to a little over 100F/39C at day in the summer, but the ground never completely freezes in the winter and nights tend to be below 70F/21C in the summer. The weather is generally mild with a week or two of extremes when one least expects it.