This Valhalla Project blog provides updates on the 200-acre pilot property in the Ozark mountains with information on our homesteading programs for post-9/11 military veterans. Valhalla has established a very special retreat and reintegration facility for post-911 combat veterans and war zone civilian workers transitioning back into the civilian world; see our "Valhalla Vision" page for an overview.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page for more detailed information about the Valhalla Project
and how to apply.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Remembering Tank: A Very Special Wall Oven with Massive Cooling & Storage Racks

In memory of Gordon "Tank" Calder of the
Warlords Motorcycle Club, who helped
raise the money for Valhalla's new wall oven
before his very tragic accidental

death on June 10th.
Valhalla's tiny 1970s-era wall oven finally stopped working last March and everyone therefore had to live without any baking for a period of many months (no cakes or cookies, no muffins or casseroles, with a lot of sad faces). It was a terrible oven anyway, and entirely too small for serving larger groups of veterans. 

Yet replacing that outdated appliance wasn't a simple matter at all. A new oven big enough to serve our needs would require ripping out a large hole through an unwired wall, building a recessed cabinet, installing the necessary electrical connections, and then reorganizing the entire kitchen around a more practical storage system. The sad fact was Valhalla Project's 2015 budget did not include money for purchasing and installing a suitable large-capacity replacement oven. 

But we did have a $250 Home Depot gift card that the Lake Forest Men’s Golf Association of Daphne, Alabama donated last December. Then the Warlords Motorcycle Club raised $1,000. Marjie and Jim R. in Round Rock, Texas sent another $1,000. Much smaller donations trickled in (every nickel, dime, and single dollar always counts) and added up to finally make the entire project possible, and here is the resulting wall oven with cooling and storage racks:


Behind the scenes

Tearing a big hole in the wall was fun! Housing for
the new oven was then built within the bunkhouse
closet on the other side.
There was only one place in the kitchen where the new 30" oven could fit: a section of wall
that had the bunkhouse closet on the other side.

The oven cabinet extended into the closet, although several Valhallans agreed that they'd rather have cookies than storage space anyway.

Loren (on the right) became the first Valhallan to 
use the new oven by baking Swiss Cheese Buns for 
dinner. At first we didn't tell him that he was in fact 
mastering a classic French recipe... since "Cheese 
Buns" sounds a lot less intimidating than
"Julia Child's Gougères."
Army SFC (retired) Loren helped with
installing Valhalla's brand new 30" GE Profile Self-Cleaning with Steam Plus Convection Oven, and became the first person to use it. He learned to bake Swiss Cheese Buns (aka Julia Child's classic French Gougères) from scratch. His English Yorkshire pudding was also very tasty.

Recall that every Valhalla participant is required to learn new cooking skills while they are here, and although some are already accomplished cooks or grillmasters, most are intimidated by... baking!

The mere idea of singlehandedly developing a

Friday, July 17, 2015

Valhalla's vegetable garden renovation, Summer 2015

The Valhalla Project's main vegetable garden has 16 raised beds
measuring 8' x 4' each. This year's crops include peas, tomatoes,
squash, asparagus, onions, shallots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes,
baking potatoes, okra, many different varieties of chili peppers,
and just about every herb known to mankind.
Many veterans who come to the Valhalla Project are eager to learn about growing their own food. Since this is an integral component in our program of self-sufficiency we’ve spent the last several years working on a model raised bed garden that allows vets to grow vegetables and herbs and discover how rewarding the deliciously edible fruits of their efforts can be.

Our major innovation this year was the addition of cattle-panel arches over the tops of our raised beds! Never seen it before, and it was the brainchild of Valhalla founder, Chris, who suggested that it would be an effective way to prevent the chickens and turkeys from tearing up the beds as well as allowing the sheep to graze throughout the garden and keep them out of the plantings. Sure cuts down on the need to mow the pathways, and Valhalla's chief mowers -- the sheep -- just love it.

Check out the asparagus supported by the new cattle panel arch -- they're standing as straight as
soldiers in formation! Also notice the removeable doors that lock out the sheep, chickens, turkeys, and 

ducks. The doors are easily removed for harvesting vegetables and weeding, although mulch 
keeps almost all the weeds out.

The concept worked better than originally envisioned. The arches not only kept the unwanted critters out but also – as a big unexpected surprise – provided structural support for the taller plants. The best

Friday, May 15, 2015

Three month old Loki arrives!

3 month old Loki, a Great Pyreneese / Akbash puppy, has joined Valkyrie and Sadie as a future guardian of the Valhalla Project's 200 acre homesteading retreat for post-9/11 combat veterans. Very special thanks to Lindy and Lee Benitz for bringing Loki to Valhalla!





* * *
The Valhalla Project needs your help and support
We need YOUR help to keep Valhalla functioning efficiently - while at the same time expanding vitally important programs to assist post-9/11 combat veterans and war zone civilian workers to transition back into the civilian world. 


The Valhalla Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity recognized by the IRS.
Nobody, including cadre or board members, draws a paycheck here, nor will they ever: we simply give everything we have to make Valhalla possible. 100% of your donation via Paypal will go directly to program expenses, period. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 9: Valhalla's own RECONNECT 3 CHALLENGE. If you are a combat veteran then you hold the keys to reaching out and reconnecting with battle buddies who you haven't heard from in a long, long time. Civilians can't do this. The VA can't do this, nor can any other government agencies or nonprofit organizations. Only *YOU* can do this for yourself and for some of friends who you've lost contact with... and you'll undoubtedly have a lot of fun while also generating a great deal of joy in the process. Meet our challenge before New Year's Eve, and you'll be glad that you did:



* * *
The Valhalla Project needs your help and support
We need YOUR help to keep Valhalla functioning efficiently - while at the same time expanding vitally important programs to assist post-9/11 combat Soldiers and war zone civilian workers to transition back into the civilian world. 


The Valhalla Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity recognized by the IRS.
Nobody, including cadre or board members, draws a paycheck here, nor will they ever: we simply give everything we have to make Valhalla possible. 100% of your donation via Paypal will go directly to program expenses, period. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Day EIGHT! We're still locked inside the gates without shopping, outside contact, or internet access aside from the two hours required for uploading these
video updates... plus checking email for any messages associated with
this very special and unique Valhalla Project outreach event. The bunkhouse needed a little work and we also describe some of the chow that is eaten here on a regular basis, check it out: 


* * *
The Valhalla Project needs your help and support
We need YOUR help to keep Valhalla functioning efficiently - while at the same time expanding vitally important programs to assist post-9/11 combat Soldiers and war zone civilian workers to transition back into the civilian world. 


The Valhalla Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity recognized by the IRS.
Nobody, including cadre or board members, draws a paycheck here, nor will they ever: we simply give everything we have to make Valhalla possible. 100% of your donation via Paypal will go directly to program expenses, period.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Day 7 of Valhalla's Homesteading Marathon, with a special message just days before Christmas: 


* * *
The Valhalla Project needs your help and support
We need YOUR help to keep Valhalla functioning efficiently - while at the same time expanding vitally important programs to assist post-9/11 combat Soldiers and war zone civilian workers to transition back into the civilian world. 


The Valhalla Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity recognized by the IRS.
Nobody, including cadre or board members, draws a paycheck here, nor will they ever: we simply give everything we have to make Valhalla possible. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Day 6 of Valhalla's Homestead Marathon includes our lessons learned from the first of four "NO ELECTRICITY FRIDAYS" - and as usual, the birds and animals tried to steal the show! Learn more about just some of what livestock protection dogs do during the day, and take a look at what went on when the power was off for 24 hours:



* * *
The Valhalla Project needs your help and support
We need YOUR help to keep Valhalla functioning efficiently - while at the same time expanding vitally important programs to assist post-9/11 combat Soldiers and war zone civilian workers to transition back into the civilian world. 


The Valhalla Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity recognized by the IRS.
Nobody, including cadre or board members, draws a paycheck here, nor will they ever: we simply give everything we have to make Valhalla possible. 100% of your donation via Paypal will go directly to program expenses, period. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 4 of the Valhalla Project's Homesteading Marathon:


* * *
The Valhalla Project needs your help and support
We need YOUR help to keep Valhalla functioning efficiently - while at the same time expanding vitally important programs to assist post-9/11 combat Soldiers and war zone civilian workers to transition back into the civilian world. 


The Valhalla Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity recognized by the IRS.
Nobody, including cadre or board members, draws a paycheck here, nor will they ever: we simply give everything we have to make Valhalla possible. 100% of your donation via Paypal will go directly to program expenses, period.