Dear friends and customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,
Chicken slaughter day is long and grueling, and when it is over we breathe a huge sigh of relief that another usually very successful venture (both economically and nutritionally) is completed for the year. But this year is harder than usual. Not only do we have more birds and not enough carrying crates, Clare, one of our stalwarts, is on a much needed vacation so not only will she not be there but her truck isn’t available either. Sometimes when a problem seems a little too big to solve I move into denial. But luckily the topic came up at lunch on Wednesday. After everyone understood the magnitude of the problem the resources appeared. Anthony made a call and came up with his grandfather’s truck, Clare found some more carrying crates from husband Josh who had severally borrowed ours. And then Alicia asked if husband Brendan, a novice homesteader, could come along to help us – 4:45 start time on Sunday.
In that same line this week, Allison showed up as a new working shareholder, an old friend and colleague from NOFA, and also Jennifer signed up, one of our existing shareholders. Stu stepped in to do our Friday delivery this week, and Pat and Leslie signed on to manage Mondays between them, now that Maya is back in school. This note arrived in my email this week. “Being at the Farm one day per week has saved my mental (and physical) health and sanity, thank you. – Laurie”; I remember back when I was doing a lot of Bible study in my late teens and early 20’s I wished that I could have had a shot at being alive in Jesus’ time so that I could be around all those cool miracles that were seemingly always happening. They certainly are around us all of the time, in smaller and larger packages, there for us to appreciate and learn from. Jack is doing well – surrounded by OTs, PTs, and all sorts of herbal drinks and elixirs. Thanks for all of your notes, thoughts and prayers.
There was an article in the New York Times this week about how pigweed has outwitted all the herbicides. I am here telling you that it has outwitted us one more year too! We have arguably worked harder and more efficiently than ever this year, yet, perhaps assisted by the excess rain, we have just not been able to keep up. Pigweed and grass vie for first place in nature’s game of keeping the soil covered at all times, with galinsoga making a nice showing now nearer season’s end. Sigh! One day perhaps I will get the memo and learn how to more effectively work with nature rather than somewhat at cross purposes. I am certain, regardless, that hope will start springing eternal again sometime around December 15!
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/
Anthony chats about the chickens in this video on Instagram
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 15 best guess at what you will get
- corn – Who Gets Kissed (bi-color) or Silver Queen (white)
- Summer squash and zucchini – starting to wane
- Cukes are getting thin for now – we will see about those
- Tomatoes are in very strong right now. Thanks to Cathleen and her team who have produced a very strong crop this year
- Soybeans – these are the edible edamame type. Strip them from the plant, bring some water to a boil and then pop them in. When you can pop them out of the shell with your thumb and forefinger they are done – usually under 5 minutes
Don’t forget to buy some flowers on your way out of the barn on CSA day
Summer CSA closed
We are at capacity now.
Fall CSA Closed
We have closed the fall CSA for this year.
Turkeys on sale
We have 4 turkeys left over from last year that someone ordered and never picked up. I am selling them at half price – $3/lb. They are in the 24 lb range. First come first served.
Meat Chickens ready for purchase on August 29 fresh
Now the chickens will be frozen, but there are still some available. Inquire https://mhof.net/organic-meat/
Are closed as well, but still going strong! Below is our drop off from last week.
Email from an old friend and colleague
Bonita forwarded your letter regarding Jacks surgery. I am pleased to hear it went well. My brother had this last year and his bladder did return to normal (as normal for our age group). Please wish Jack a speedy recovery. I have so much respect for him and have always learned from our conversations.
Your heart felt words on love and relationships touched me deeply. I have felt these same emotions for Bonita, and we have been blessed to have many friends helping us through our lives. You reminded me to be thankful.
Stay well, keep your family close and be thankful for those good things still in our lives.
Dan and Bonita
Thank you, Dan and Bonita, spread the love. Julie
This week’s highlights included a couple of really nice days, and then three of those “dog days of August” days that one can usually get through because of the knowledge that it won’t go on that much longer. But the tomatoes loved it, as Cathleen pointed out. And there were a lot of folks out there who did not love the dumping that we got on Monday night from the hurricane (yes, I know it could have been worse). The green beans that we so carefully weeded, mulched and sprayed last week all bit the dust big time – what did I say about hope springing eternal, next year? We got a lot of crops into the ground this week – chicory, Chinese cabbage, tatsoi and bok choi, kohlrabi, and the stuff we planted over the previous two weeks is coming up strong. The challenge now is to keep it all weeded for a strong fall finish. We did a little bit of mulching but not enough. Peach and apple processing along with some cabbage leavings were major events every afternoon and we now have applesauce for sale – frozen, cooked down apples in water, then processed through a food mill. No sugar added, frozen – $7/quart.
Riding home on the tractor at day’s end Friday – Anthony, Clare, Julie (top), Maya with tulsi for tincture (second from top),
kidney bean harvest (middle left), Dan, Clare, Julie and Doodle – prepping applesauce, peaches and cabbage for winter (middle right), bed prep (bottom left), Cathleen in her tomatoes with their crimson clover undersow (bottom right)
Trying to get in touch with me by cell or text this week? My phone has been dead. Reach out by email – Julie@mhof.net, or home phone – 978-355-2853. I will be back on cell soon.
The pigs were enjoying the water we let run for them yesterday – we are so excited it is cooler this weekend! Check out the latest photos from the farm on our Instagram!