Dear friends and customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,
This past week Dan turned 44, which was an important anniversary for me and Jack – the date at which we started our family for real. Jack happened to be in the hospital, the day after he got his hip replaced. I was with him most of Thursday – Saturday when we came home, Jack with a very functional hip and a little baggage. Urination after a spinal anesthesia sometimes causes the bladder to not function as it is used to doing, and though all the docs and nurses assured us that this is very temporary, it can be somewhat anxiety producing in the moment. I have been flooded with thoughts and feelings over the past 4 days (writing this in the Hurricane on Sunday) about long term relationships, the eventual passing on that we all will face someday, the community of the hospital, good and healing food and nutrition, my role as a caregiver, to name a few.
I can’t adequately express the value of the long term love relationship, especially if we can continue to do the work that keeps the relationship alive and vibrant after the initial time of wonder and complete investment of the early months. When I was a young girl I wanted nothing more than to have a long term loving relationship. Little did I know that these things don’t just happen in a happily ever after fashion, instead taking daily care and attention. But I learned this lesson over the course of those 44 years, and each time there is a challenge to the continuation of relationship on this plane, there is an opportunity for a dive deeper into trust, mutual support, compromise and collaboration that can culminate in 2 more whole persons who can be of better service to each other and in the world. Many thanks to the farm staff for double duty on Thursday and Friday, for Cathleen, coming over on “daughter-in-law time” to help me with chores Saturday morning, Dan for rides, Chuk and Ellen for offers of help and support, and all the relatives and friends who checked in with concern. I gained new appreciation for the folks at UMass Memorial, from PCA, housekeeping, PT, OT, nursing, secretarial, doctoring, and the amazing valet staff who go out of their ways to support families and patients who are in a challenging physical and often emotional place. I came away from this experience again feeling the profound potential of people caring for one another.
Education – To Think is to Listen: Paul Hawken
Seth Godin – The Power of Organic – thinking about how we tell our story and developing customer loyalty
Paul Hollenbeck – How Denmark Went Organic – I was super impressed by this very humble individual who has had a huge hand in making organic mainstream in Denmark, seemingly by involving all players in the agricultural world in Denmark to provide a win-win system for farmers, eaters and the environment. It seems that Denmark is a country to emulate.
Paul Hawken – Extractive Capitalism’s Toll on Food, Farming, + Life. Paul is a long, long term organic pioneer. He is talking about my most favorite topic – human nutrition. Reintegration of food into place. Being outside, Not being right. Regeneration – one of the most beautiful and deepest impulses of human beings that encompasses everything we touch, see and do. Enjoy this talk!
We are hurting for workers right now, just as the picking volume gets super heavy and planting, weeding mulching, and animal chores stay heavy. You can spend one glorious morning per week – 8-12 with lunch, getting lots of good exercise, an amazing bag of food, and make new and lasting friends. Apply here – we are desperate! Julie@mhof.net, 978-257-1192
Chicken house workshop
Anthony and Cathleen finished their first 2021 chicken house version on Friday and we were happy to divide the meat birds one more time into it. Many years of experience tweaking our houses to make them more field worthy are represented in this new model.
Interested in raising healthy chickens? Why not consider pasturing them by building a range house that can be moved to fresh grass every day and let them gorge on the soil critters they love to eat. We will talk about how to use such a house, and present designs for several styles – ones which can be moved by one person and ones which accommodate more birds but requires two people to move. Egg collection, feeding and watering, and security from roaming dogs and wildlife will be discussed. The second half of the workshop will be a hands-on experience helping build such a house. The workshop will be on Saturday, September 18th from 10:00 to 12:00, at the farm. We will be both outside and inside, rain or shine. Stick around for a potluck lunch if you like right at the end of the workshop. Register below. We offer this workshop for a sliding scale donation. We truly appreciate it if you can donate to help cover costs and allow others who do not have the means to pay to attend. After registration donations can be made via PayPal at https://mhof.net/many-hands-sustainability-center/ or in cash/check the day of the workshop. MHSC is a 501(c)3 and any donation is tax deductible.
Register here: https://mhof.net/events-workshops/
We will not run the CSA on Labor Day, but the next day, Tuesday, September 7. Please be advised that Monday folks will pick up on Tuesday that week.
Week 14 best guess at what you will get
- Summer squash and zucchini
- Apples – these are coming from our beautiful Prima tree
Don’t forget to buy some flowers on your way out of the barn on CSA day
CSA still open.
We are still taking shareholders. Check the website for the weekly downwardly changing prices. https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/. If you have been dawdling, now is the time to cash in on some of the best eating. It is an eater’s paradise out there right now.
Fall CSA taking registrations
6 people signed up for this wonderful end of season share last week. You will get all sorts of late greens and roots to extend the health giving properties of our food to you and your family from the last week of October through the 4th week of November. It is hard to know how we will fare weather-wise this year, but last year was our most bounteous fall share ever. Sign up here – https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/
Community Fridge shares –
We added another share for the Community Fridges that we deliver each Friday to Worcester. Thanks to Chris and John this week! You can donate here – https://mhof.net/community-fridge-farmshare/
Meat Chickens ready for purchase on August 29 fresh
You will not find a tastier and no doubt more nutritious certified organic range raised Freedom Ranger chickens. They are only available once per year, so don’t tarry in ordering. Hens weigh in around 5 lbs. and cockerels around 7. They come dressed whole in a plastic bag with giblets and the neck (separated). Once we have roasted the bird we then make delicious chicken soup and often have enough chicken left for chicken salad also. These birds are top of the line. https://mhof.net/organic-meat/
Email from a new CSA member
Most Mondays we take a family walk down to the Paxton library after dinner to pick up our vegetable share. Our boys, Sam (4) and Oscar (1.5) always run up to the bag, breathe in deep to smell the amazing array of scents and then dig around to see what we got. Today they discovered the bag of tomatoes. On the walk home Oscar ate two of them like an apple and Sammy ate 1. I am sad I didn’t get to try them but they must have been delicious!
Thank you for helping us teach our kids about the joy of healthy food grown sustainably, ethically, and locally!
Thank you, Janet, this is wonderful to hear from you. Glad the CSA works for your family! Julie
Highlights of the week include weeding in the absolutely pouring rain on Thursday (looks like we will get another chance at working in the rain today!), Maya taming the undergrowth all around the house and this side of the farm with various weed whackers and mowers, Cathleen and Anthony finishing up their first start to finish chicken house (looks like we can take a break for awhile as we will have 6 houses available again after the meat birds go to meet their maker), weeding of beans, and new squash and cukes, planting of a bunch more lettuce, drying lots of peaches and making applesauce. We cut, raked and picked up a bunch of hay, some of which mulched the green beans and some went into storage in the hay barn. We soaked more mushroom logs and enjoyed the flush of last week’s shiitakes. Maya goes down to two partial days this week as she goes back to finish college at Clark. It is looking like we are not getting the brunt of the hurricane, for which we are quite grateful. The initial potato harvest was quite disappointing, though we have hopes for better yields in the south field than we got in the west. The pigs are doing a nice job of cleaning up around the solar panels and otherwise staying in their fence (always a blessing!)
Here is a new green bean recipe that Nathan sent us as we attempt to bring the quality of this crop up to the standard of so many of our other crops –
Special Green bean foliar – August 18, 2021
Recipe per acre –
3 Quart HoloCal
4 Quart PhotoMag
2 Quart Accelerate
2 Quart ReBound Manganese
1 quart ReBound Copper
1.5 quart ReBound Iron
1 pint rebound boron
1 Pint SeaCrop
1 pint HoloK
1/2 Pint ReBound Moly
½ pint Rebound Zinc
1 tsp micro5000 per tank
Use 1 quart of mix per tank
Add 1 quart of Epsom salts mix per tank – Epsom salts mix is made by dissolving 2 lbs of Epsom salts into 5 gallons of water
Circle of Song
Since 2001, Circle of Song has been in existence and singing 4-part harmony. We usually have between 12-18 members and we sing music from all over the world and from many genres. Some would say what we do is challenging, but all of us like to stretch a bit, but not too much. We are comprised of musicians of differing abilities, but are all folks who love singing and love singing with others. We read the music and teach those who feel less secure how to be better readers. You can check out some of our past concerts at https://circleofsong.net/.
After taking off 1 ½ years for Covid, we are restarting on Thursday, September 16 and are looking for new and returning members. We meet at the home of Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson at 411 Sheldon Road, in Barre, on Thursday evenings. We will gather for a potluck on the 16th at 6:30. Our singing hours will fall somewhere between 6:30 to 8 or 7-8:30 depending on the wishes of the members. We have a sliding scale membership rate which is very modest.
We often perform with instrumental groups and are investigating working again this Christmas season with Peter Lewis and the HS band at Quabbin Regional High School.
We are looking for sopranos, altos, tenors and baritone/basses and would love to welcome you. Our directors are Julie Rawson and Nancy Afonso, local musician local to the Quabbin region.
For more info contact Julie at Julie@mhof.net or 978-355-2853.
Soon many of you will be going back to school and otherwise making the switch to the fall life. May your transition be a pleasant one. We will be enjoying the fall here on the farm – a most glorious and nostalgic time of year!