Dear friends and customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Who doesn’t remember Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree? Jack and I have read a number of great books lately about trees and the forest and I am just starting to wake up to the giants that stand silently around us, many of them having been around for several generations. The oaks for example, line Sheldon Road and have watched us walk by for 40 years, and were also there watching folks who walked by when the road was just a cart path. Ah, the stories they could tell, and perhaps they kibitz with each other regularly! But this story is about a pear tree that we planted close to 40 years ago. For most of those 40 years this tree has pumped out as many as 1000 pears per annum. And over the years, with intense nutritional management (deep mulch over cardboard, lots of dry minerals and about 25 mineral, seaweed, biological sprays per year, a chicken house passing by at least once per year), the quality of the pears has just gotten better. We have done our part for sure, but this tree, along with other impressive high performers -the Grimes Golden and Prima apples, for example – has gone over and above. Soon we will be handing out those pears for the CSA and making delicious pear sauce that is about the best thing you can do for your gall bladder. Exemplary individuals, whether human, animal, plant, insect or microbe, are around us everywhere. Their example of going the extra mile is available for us to learn from and emulate. I have always sought out these kinds of special people from whom I can be inspired, and it is exciting to broaden my vision to find these extraordinary models for behavior in the expansive natural world. Thank you dear pear tree!

Squash counting contest
We had 7 entries in our squash counting contest. Louise Garwood came in first place with an amazingly accurate guess of 837. The actual total was 854. Congrats, Louise. Contact me to get your prize. And thanks to Chelsea, Pat, Stevie, Chris, Susan and Martha and Jim for playing!

Freezing our winter squash (click top image to view on Instagram), fall crops tucked away in the barn (bottom left), Squash and flowers (bottom right)

We have eggs for sale!
In abundance all of a sudden as our new layers are at it with great gusto. At $8.00 per dozen these nature’s perfect food are the best eggs you will encounter. Besides their certified organic grain from Green Mountain Feeds, the chickens get fresh pasture each day which is loaded with grasses and wild herbs.  Contact me to arrange getting eggs.

MHOF listed as 4th best source of organic poultry in the US by the Cornucopia Institute
– I actually didn’t know about this, but a friend sent it along. It isn’t entirely up to date, but still is good promo. Be sure to order your Thanksgiving turkey soon. We still have a number available, but last year we sold out by November 1.

CSA Update – Week 20 of 22
Last Week – Week of October 18

Week 20 best guess at what you will get

  • Peppers
  • Husk cherries – usually just the larges and sometimes the mediums
  • Beets
  • Peppermint
  • Dill – new!
  • Cilantro – new!
  • Chard – we are spacing this out as it gets colder and it doesn’t grow back so quickly
  • Leeks
  • arugula
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • garlic
  • Apples – mostly Baldwins

Our sprayer was down for two weeks so that we couldn’t do our weekly fertility sprays. The good news is that the plants seemed not to suffer. We have a number of good looking Asian greens coming on as we dip deeper into the fall.


Graeme Sait is back with Nutrition Farming Podcast S2 EP9 – Water Management – Nurturing the New Gold
I love mulch and I like what he has to say about natural vs. plastic mulch and how to ameliorate the negative effects of plastic mulch (we don’t use this regardless); keeping the soil covered, fungus to bacteria ratio. Earthworms create humus 4 times faster than any other mechanism. In his health section, Graeme lists 13 practices to build happiness.

Julie’s Health tips
As we get deeper into autumn, I start to have some time again, to be more focused on my own health, and also to share it with you. This week I want to talk to you about chakra balancing. Donna Eden has been my major entrance into the world of energy medicine, but there are many other resources. Here is one of her youtubes on the topic – If this kind of work speaks to you, you might want to acquire a copy of her book Energy Medicine. I don’t clear my chakras every day, but try to actualize it at least twice per week. It is easily done in the bathtub or while out walking with the dogs early in the morning.

Kittens available on October 30, 2-4 pm
$50 each, no prior picking them out. Eloise, Stripes and Sadie have been eating well with organic cat food, raw organic milk, eggs, and liver and also cod liver oil to provide you with some very chilled out and super healthy kittens. Contact me to reserve a kitten –

Circle of Song
Ben joined us this past week, so I am just going to continue to reach out for more new members. We have decided to take on the Brahms requiem, movements 1, 4, 5 and 7 along with Sure on This Shining Night, Joy Shall Come in the Morning, Long Time Ago, Ching a Ring Chaw and What a Wonderful World. Additionally we will be collaborating with friend Peter Lewis and his combo high school and ringer orchestra to perform the Brahms. Rehearsal is every Thursday night from 7 -8:30 at the Barre Town Hall. Our concert this winter will be on Friday, December 3 at 7 pm at the Barre Town Hall. Teetering on the edge of joining us? We have a lot of fun, have strong section leaders in every section to help the nervous singer, and are truly blessed with Cailan McClure, our rock solid pianist.

Recycle with MHOF
Our plastic tote bins are biting the dust, so we have added them as another item we would love to help you recycle! We don’t need them to have a lid, and a bit of wear and tear is fine. Preferably we would like them around the 18 gallon size. As a reminder, you are also welcome to recycle grocery-sized paper and plastic bags (please no smaller produce bags, as we have to throw them away), dozen-sized egg cartons (cardboard only, no plastic or styrofoam!), quart-sized yogurt containers, half pint, pint and quart sized fruit containers (cardboard or plastic is fine), and rubber bands (aka elastics).

Farm Doins
Daughter Ellen was back again for 2 ½ days as she passed through and home to England. We had a great supper with son Chuk and reminisced about old times when these two younger kids were with us for 2 years after Dan and Paul had gone to college. This week I hoped to get all of the sweet potatoes harvested and we were able to do that. The CSA got generous helpings and we will save the rest for one week of sweets for the fall share. We also got some overdue weeding done in our carrots, beets, and hot peppers. Anthony and Cathleen are this close to finishing our last new turkey house. Just in time for the turkeys to move out to the pond field, we will separate them into 8 houses next week to keep stocking numbers low. With that in mind we made one last cut of the pond field hayfield and got it put away to use as mulch for our fall planted garlic going in in about a month. We also got our winter squash safely loaded into the barn and made 23 quarts of cooked pureed squash for the freezer. We missed a frost again on Thursday night and fingers crossed for another frost free week!

Beautiful dill in the early morning (1), Maya harvesting sweet potatoes (2), Anthony with probably the most impressive sweet potato plant (3), Fall greens coming on (4&5), Clare in the Grimes Golden tree shaking off the fruit (6), Hakureis are so beautiful (8), beautiful diversity (9), beautiful sweets (10), do you remember these wet people from last week’s arugula harvest? (11), hay harvest – what nostalgia (12, 13,14 & 15), Sweet potatoes curing (16)