Developing our Gratitude

Donna Eden, who I mention here from time to time, is a long term mentor of mine. First introduced to her work through her bestselling book, “Energy Medicine” I have watched and followed her videos and free online exercises for several years, despite occasional rolled eyes from Jack.   A couple of weeks ago she offered 10 days of Radiant Circuit exercises followed by an hour long talk which I attempt to digest here.
The body is designed to heal itself. Experiencing happiness independent of what is going on around you is one of the premises that Donna teaches about through what she calls the Radiant Circuits (Strange flows – ancient Chinese). Contentment, peace and major happiness, alignment with the power of the universe, resilience, and elasticity is the benefit received from changing our “energy habits”. Rather than trying to cope, it is about retraining the energy in your body.
There is a trio of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin that support happiness.
Dopamine motivates us to take action toward goals. Serotonin flows when we feel significant and present. Oxytocin creates strong bonds and improved social development. When we engage with our energy to work for us, our energy can shift the gears.
Radiant circuits are highly responsive to thoughts and emotions.
Practicing gratitude creates greater happiness, improved health, strong relationships, and the ability to deal with adversity.
Cortisol lowers and serotonin rises. I have been working to practice gratitude at our meals this week. I list here some quick Donna Eden exercises that support the strengthening of the radiant circuits and this practice of gratitude and happiness. The zip up –, triple warmer smoothie –, belt flow – Finally, here is daily routine that you can do to focus on your radiant circuits – I like to share “free” ways for us to support our health and well-being. Donna Eden is all over the internet for one to enjoy.

Natural Dog Wormer
I did grind up pumpkin seeds for our dogs and cats and added it to the egg that I top their meals with. They seem to enjoy it. I will keep an eye out for “scooting butts” (an indicator of worms) that usually show themselves when we are on our daily walks on the tarred road.

Job Opening at MHOF
We are enjoying interviewing folks for this job. The position is still open as we get closer to a match.

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 or call 978-355-2853. Check us out at Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge

New Prices for 2022
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

Pork – This is a hard one with organic stock very expensive and slaughter costs annually rising. Not sure on feed prices
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  – we moved up to 2nd place nationally for poultry production according to Cornucopia Institute! But just so you know, we are not soy free, despite me asking them to correct that.

Ham, Bacon and Frozen Pork Available.
These smoked meats are wonderful cuts that we had processed with a natural uncured system using celery juice from VT Packing House – 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. Last week Jennifer commented that she just feels so much better now that she has switched to our meat.

Working Shareholders
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. Presently we are putting up hoop houses and will soon move to fruit tree pruning. Once we get into CSA season, working shareholders will receive a large share in exchange for their labors.

New opportunity this year – In an attempt to be more fiscally sustainable, we have cut back on our paid staffing. One of the areas where this will impact us is in our daily early morning foliar feeding with a 3 ½ gallon gasoline powered back pack mister. We could use up to two working shareholders who would love to arrive here around 6:15 to spray a field or orchard with our nutritional mix (all certified organic and non-toxic). The job will conclude between 7 and 7:15 with breakfast at the end. Barter pay to be determined. You need a strong back, and it would be helpful if you have some skill in operating and sometimes fixing small gasoline engines if it clogs up or fails to start on your day.

This week’s favorite working shareholder comment – from Laurie Lentz-Marino – “The farm was so much flippin fun yesterday. Restores my soul!”

Health Tip
Chicory as a part of our morning tea
I don’t put a lot of chicory in the mix, because it has a strong flavor, but it packs a punch. More here –

I learned this week that melatonin is best produced by the body when we spend some time in the Infrared light from the sun, but also incandescent light bulbs and campfires. An interesting listen – – source Ellen Kittredge

Cracker Video
The video didn’t make it in last week. Here it is:

Agricultural Education of Note this Week
Tom Dykstra is an entomologist from Florida who learned under Phil Callahan – a very interesting man who taught us about how insects find our crops and whose premise is that insects only eat our plants if they are garbage.  Except perhaps grasshoppers, according to Dykstra, who says they prefer only the more healthy plants to dine on. The first webinar is about insects and which level of brix in plants attracts which categories of pests. The second webinar is a very fascinating look at the Florida orange industry since 1910 and how increasing stocking rates and the addition of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides has impacted the industry negatively. Source – Advancing Eco Agriculture
Leaf Brix and Insect Herbivory
A Century of Florida Citrus Production: Understanding Insect Pressure in Oranges

Goals of Many Hands Organic Farm
As I was preparing for my NOFA workshop this past weekend, I came upon the MHOF Goals statement. I kind of like it!

  • Balance practicality in the moment with long term soil and ecological improvement while planning for maximum productivity and economic sustainability.
  • Make our farm a place for people to learn how to work in a context of nature, grow as sensitive human beings, stretch their personal boundaries, earn food, earn an economic living, engage in an alternative lifestyle
  • Engage in a very diverse system that includes annual and perennial vegetables, herbs, tree fruit, small fruit, chickens, pigs, turkeys and mushrooms with a goal of building and improving the carbon balance in the soil.
  • Raise food of the highest nutrient quality possible.
  • Take a stand and live a life of fearlessness in the face of pandemics that celebrates enhancing the gut biome to do its job supported by crops that are supported by a diverse and healthy soil biome. As a farmer promote and practice the principles that put forth that food can be medicine.
Covid Corner
Why do I spend so much newsletter space on this topic? First I would like to let you know how I come down on Covid. From the start of the uproar back in March 2020 both Jack and I have held that the best response to illness is a strong immune system. That is why I spend so much space on this rag talking about how I am working to get healthier. Because the vaccine was rushed, I didn’t (and particularly don’t now with lots of stats coming out about it) feel that I wanted to be part of a large human experiment. Thus I didn’t get vaccinated. When I finally got Covid in late November, I rushed to let everyone know who I might have impacted, and went about upping my nutritional profile while laying low and away from others.. Luckily I was able to recuperate from the virus relatively quickly, with only half days of work missed. Though I will take a drug now and then (I took a course of doxycycline this summer when I was diagnosed with Lyme), my go to is a diverse and highly nutritious diet with supplementation with herbs, mushrooms, and vitamins. I still figure that my best chance at getting through life with as vibrant health as possible is in my own hands, food choices and lifestyle. Additionally, I believe in democracy, debate, evolving science, and respectful conversation. I also believe in freedom of the press, and freedom of each of us to follow our own path, particularly when it comes to our health freedom. I do believe that freedom is at risk right now and in my small way feel it is important to support the voices of those who are working overtime to protect that freedom. Joe Rogan is under serious attack, as we speak, with pressure being put on Spotify, who is airing his podcasts. Thus today, I share this very important podcast (in my opinion) that goes deep into mRNA science with one of its top developers.
Joe Rogan interviews Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of mRNA Platform –
Farm store hours
M-F – 12-1 pm
Tuesday 5-7
Friday 5-7
Always call ahead to be sure of supply.

Available this week

  1. Free range organic eggs at $8/dozen – we newly added free choice kelp to their now full farm free range lifestyle.
  2. holy basil, burdock, yellow dock tincture in 2 ounce bottles – $12
  3. frozen certified organic applesauce – just the apples cooked down in water – $7/quart
  4. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $10 each
  5. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each
  6. 2 ounce jars of calendula salve – $10
  7. garlic powder – $10/2 ounce – we have about 12 bottles of this, and then no more until next late fall – order now
  8. frozen pork stock – $7.50/quart
  9. frozen chicken stock – $7.50/quart – I was happy to send 4 quarts to UT this past week for a Covid patient!
  10. frozen pork cuts –regular ribs, ground pork and roasts – $12/lb.
  11. ham and bacon – $18/lb.

Farm Doins
It was all about hoop houses this week. Randy came back on Monday and Wednesday and between him and us (Clare, Leslie, Laurie and me) we were able to get the hoops up on the blue house and the end plates in place.
Thursday Clare ordered seeds and started on our organic certification while I worked on my NOFA Workshop – a nice day in the office.
And Friday both Stu and Kerri were back for the first time in 2022. Eliza stopped by for a working interview and Laurie was back again to help me and Clare get the plastic back on the yellow house – without incident (like the wind blowing the plastic away). It was a very productive week!

Laurie and Randy putting up the first hoop on the blue house.

Leslie and Randy hold a rafter pipe while I jump on it to take the bend out of it.

Leslie holds the ladder while Randy affixes the rafter pipe to the hoops.

Clare guides the plastic over the middle section of the yellow house.

Eliza and Kerri affix the wiggle wire into the metal track to tighten in the greenhouse plastic.

Stu wiggle wiring.

Clare finishing up the wiggle wire on the south peak.

Oh my goodness, January is already half over!