As I start a new year of life on this planet I am aware that I won’t be around forever. All the more reason to live each day as it might be the last, and to do it without my occasional short-temperedness or excess of expectation. Jack and I enjoyed calling our MHSC donors this past week and dropping into the lives of people that we in some cases have known for decades and with whom we share many memories. Relationships are the glue that holds the human community together. Yet this week we also met a bunch of new folks for the first time and I have to say that crawling around on my hands and knees with 2-year-old Cassidy on my back was pretty fun too! I think my top of the list New Year’s resolution will be to be more fully present in all of the relationships that come my way each day, be they the really long term ones or the new acquaintances, to find what emerges and let it be.
Cassidy passed out after a hard day of playing.
Have you ever studied how kids warm up to each other?
Young musicians at work.
Dynamic accumulators are plants that usually leave much more than they take from the soil. I have to say that we are proud hosts of all of these plants on our farm. I came upon this post and article on the NESAWG forum that is worth checking into.
Six dynamic accumulator species then underwent 2 years of on-farm trials at Unadilla Community Farm: comfrey, dandelion, lambs quarters, red clover, redroot amaranth, and stinging nettle. On-farm trials were designed to assess several potential applications for these plants: subsoil nutrient extraction, nutrient scavenging in buffer strips or fallow fields, on-farm plant-based liquid fertilizer production, and nutrient-rich mulch production (aka “chop and drop” mulch). The online tool and the full 35-page report of our findings are available on our website at: https://unadillacommunityfarm.org/dynamicaccumulators/
I aspire to be a dynamic accumulator!
Julie on NOFA Podcast
Compaction Mitigation Strategies with Julie Rawson
Jason just sent over this interview he did with me in late November.
https://anchor.fm/nutrition-farming – Ten Tips to Reduce Input Costs – Chasing the Biggest Bang
A highlight for me in this edition regards protozoa. “Pack your soil with protozoa” says Sait. He includes a recipe for how, with a homemade brew, to increase protozoa populations on your farm or garden. He explained how their consumption of bacteria returns mineralized nitrogen back to the soil. We will hopefully refocus on homemade “brews” on our farm this year after spending a lot of energy in that direction 5-10 years ago.
Last Call for Ellen’s Cleanse
21 Day Food Based Gentle Winter Cleanse – Jan 10th through 30th
If you’re looking for a fresh start and the enjoyments of a healthy body in the New Year, please do join Ellen and a growing group of 100+ other Cleansers to bring in 2022 on a good (and healthy) foot!
The Cleanse begins January 10th. All details are HERE: https://ellenkittredge.com/cleanse.php.
Ellen will be focusing on healing the Gut Microbiome for this Cleanse and working with new recipes that highlight very specific foods that can create powerful results very quickly when we consume them! For a more extensive article about this, please READ HERE: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/A-Tasty-Pathway-to-Good-Health–Repairing-the-Gut-Microbiome.html?soid=1102135376889&aid=UYwHL8XVKXA
And if you have been feeling down in the dumps about your ability to create a healthy life for yourself, READ HERE for more inspiration from Ellen (https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Come–Come–Whoever-You-Are—.html?soid=1102135376889&aid=VO9u1c5Uopg)
She shares a reminder to come as you are, and that healing is always possible in this crazy, miraculous, potent journey called life!
Ellen Kittredge, CHC
Nutrition Counseling, Energy Healing, Nature Connection
US Cell phone/What’s App: +1 202-577-1940
Job Opening at MHOF
Many Hands Organic Farm is looking for a full-time farmer. We are a certified organic highly diverse family farm in Barre, MA raising vegetables (2 acres), large and small fruit (1 acre), pigs (8 seasonal), chickens for eggs (175) and meat (250-300), and turkeys (100-150). We focus heavily on carbon sequestering methods on our 55 acres of land and prioritize maximum nutrition and biodiversity and stacking of enterprises. We are no/low till. In Barre for now 40 years, we offer a lot of wisdom and perspective to aspiring farmers looking to gain agricultural understanding. You must be physically strong and have a positive and convivial attitude. Duties include animal, vegetable, fruit management, machine and hand work, carpentry, some chain sawing, sometimes leading volunteers, food preservation and making value added products – you name it, we do it. We start at $15/hour and will pay more depending on experience (and hustle) for 40 hours of work each week (Monday – Friday), with a rare need on weekends. Omnivorous meals (breakfast, lunch and morning snacks) are provided. We are looking to hire as early as February 1 and have work through the year, with fewer hours over the winter months. Apply to email@example.com or call 978-355-2853. Check us out at www.mhof.net. Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge
Jennifer scurried to get all of our new prices up on the website for the New Year’s launch. Thanks, Jennifer! Jack and I spent some time on the farm budget over the past couple of weeks and worked, as always, to balance salaries (our biggest investment), fertility inputs, new and repair construction (we are already shelling out for hoop house repair), machinery, plants and seeds, rising costs of animal stock, feed, and slaughter, and many other costs, with pricing that is affordable but helps us reach our modest expectation of a break even bottom line. Here are the results for you the consumer
CSA – these increases will help pay for improved salaries for our staff in 2022
- Large share- $750
- Medium share – $500
- Small share – $375
- Fall share – $140
- Delivery – stays the same at $2/week
Fresh frozen cuts – $12/lb.
Smoked and uncured ham and bacon – $18/lb.Meat chicken – $7.50/lb. – our margin of profit was too low in 2021 and this will help improve our bottom line
Turkeys – staying the same at $6/lb.
Eggs – staying the same at $8/dozen
Old layers – staying the same at $15 each
Comparatively speaking our prices are on the high side. What you are paying for is our best attempt at highest nutrition and life quality for our animals, our plants, our soil microbes and our farm family including those of us who live here, those who work here and those who expend significant volunteer time with us each year. Thanks for your support of this farm experiment.
Bacon and Ham are in
These are wonderful cuts that we had processed with a natural uncured system using celery juice from VT Packing House – https://vermontpackinghouse.com/our-services/. We now have bacon in 1 lb. packages and hams ranging from 2+ to 4+ lbs. available for sale. The price on these items is $18/lb. And we still have some ground pork, regular style ribs and a handful of roasts at $12/lb.
Thinking about coming out to the farm to volunteer? If you like cold weather, starting with us in the winter can be fun. We are hosting working shareholders on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 8-12, with breakfast and lunch included. Your pay also includes a dozen eggs. Coming on an irregular basis in winter is quite fine. We are always involved in a variety of adventures, and there is a lot of soup stock, lard, soap and salve making besides our outside work. Once we get into CSA season, working shareholders will receive a large share in exchange for their labors. Enquire.
One of my most stalwart additions to our daily tea is dandelion leaf. I could write volumes on this plant and its contributions to planetary health, but here is a quick read on its salient attributes – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324083#supplements-and-dosage
Re. your Covid Corner, I was interested in your reference to Dr Zach Bush and wanted to learn a little more about him.
In listening to the video, the question posed was whether social distancing and wearing masks is helpful. The answer seemed to be that viruses (in general, not this virus) are spread by means other than aerosol particles and that they can spread around the entire globe. This doesn’t seem to address whether wearing a mask is helpful in reducing the spread of this virus when in close proximity to other humans! Viruses vary in their ability to be viable when not in a certain temperature/humidity condition. This virus loses viability in a matter of minutes to hours in the open air. Whether a person is infected is related to the amount of live virus they are exposed to in a given time; small doses are much more likely to be successfully repulsed by our immune systems. So I don’t think the answer in this video was a relevant answer.
I also did a Google search on Dr Zach Bush and found this: https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/critical-thinking-pseudoscience/droning-preacher-mitochondrial-ecstasy This is a critical view, and I have some quibbles with some of what it says. For example, I do question the safety of glycophosphates, although it might be other ingredients in RoundUp that are the most harmful. I also give more credence to spiritual/emotional approaches than I think the author does. Still, I find the article makes many good points.
My general impression of Dr Bush’s website is that he has taken a potpourri of good ideas (from science, often), such as what we have been learning about soil health and our gut biome, and mashed them all together into his personal image of how life works, losing a lot of caveats and nuance along the way. A bit like saying no-till is a perfect solution, but losing the nuance of how it might work in the real world with various crops, weeds, soils, climates.
I think we are easily impressed with the title of Dr. As a former physics and bio-physics student, I think we tend to confuse apples and oranges. A medical doctor is not deeply trained in science research. I don’t expect a plumber to be a capable electrician. Similarly, I don’t expect an internal medicine physician to be a capable research epidemiologist.
Thanks for your thoughtful email and for the research you did on Zach Bush. I have known of him and talked with him over the years. While I feel he has some used car salesman methods and attracts folks who do want a guru, I also believe that he brings a valued opinion to the table. I think the last time I was looking for a guru was about 50 years ago, but I do like to listen to folks who can explain things in a way that I can understand. And I think that he has done a huge service to the world by rampaging against glyphosate. If the thousands of cases against Monsanto/Bayer are not enough to damn glyphosate, I am not sure what is.
The idea that we should wear masks to protect ourselves and others has always been one that I couldn’t understand, especially the paper masks that most of us wear in public.
Here are some studies of interest on the topic of masks –
I am sure the debate will rage on. And I obey and wear a mask when it is required of me. Next weekend I am going to play my horn with a mask on and also with a bell cover. But in this case I decided that I wanted to play with this ensemble and it was worth the incredible hassle that it will be.
Hopefully this pandemic will run its natural course sooner rather than later and become part of the infectious disease background that has always been part of being a human being on this earth. And hopefully masks will be part of a distant memory of life in the early 2020’s.
Happy New Year, Julie
M-F – 12-1 pm
Always call ahead to be sure of supply.Available this week
- Free range organic eggs at $8/dozen – we newly added free choice kelp to their now full farm free range lifestyle.
- holy basil, burdock, yellow dock tincture in 2 ounce bottles – $12
- frozen certified organic applesauce – just the apples cooked down in water – $7/quart
- 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $10 each
- 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each
- 2 ounce jars of calendula salve – $10 each
- garlic powder – $10/2 ounce – one more batch of this to make this week
- frozen lard – $20/quart – presently out of stock, but we may pick up some fat back from another certified farm and be back in business soon
- frozen pork stock – $7.50/quart
- frozen chicken stock – $7.50/quart
- frozen pork cuts –regular ribs, ground pork and roasts – $12/lb.
- ham and bacon – $18/lb.
As if it were an answer to a prayer, Randy and Holly showed up this past week and will be back for another week. Randy grew up with Chuk and spent a fair amount of time over here when he was a kid. Then he returned with Holly and Mira in 2015, they got married here, worked for us that summer and fall and cemented themselves into our lives. They come irregularly yet always drop seamlessly in, providing incredibly hard work, leadership, inspiration, conviviality, and fun. The highpoint of my week was definitely on Thursday when Mira, Quinn, Cassidy, Doodle and Raffi were involved in a 5 person train with some dragging others across the kitchen floor with Raffi’s sweatshirt! And Randy took over management of rebuilding our small “blue hoop house”. Most of our work centered around deconstruction, digging out the rotten foundation boards, resetting cinder blocks, finally taking out the old worm bins that we had just covered over a couple of years ago, and preparing for the rebuild. Hopefully we will accomplish a large part of that next week.
In the house we finished up our lard production and our pork stock production, made more peppermint soap, some new calendula salve and also replenished our hemp salve stocks. Many thanks to our crew this week which included Clare, Leslie, Randy, Holly, Kyle who was here applying for a job, and John.
Our Silverado was pronounced dead by means of a rotten frame this week. We are looking seriously at a sweet new 1989 Ford F150 as a replacement. Can’t wait to get back to a stick shift!
It was a memorable end to the farming year.
Cutting fat back can be fun.
At work on the hoop house rebuild.
This may be our new ride.