If you are still breathing, your purpose on earth has not yet been fulfilled – Andy Andrews

I have really been enjoying my books on tape since I signed up to Audible a couple of years ago. Thanks to brother Tom for that wonderful tip. Andy Andrews wrote “The Seven Decisions”, and if you like the Norman Vincent Peale approach to life as laid out in “the Power of Positive Thinking,” you will enjoy his book. Something about the quote above really resonated for me. I have never been a proponent of “retirement” and I think this statement encapsulates a lot about why. Here is another tip that I picked up. I have always been one to smile at every person I meet when I am out, but adding more smile time to one’s day, actually makes you happier. Try it. Andy’s approach to self-improvement started and seems to continue with an insatiable interest in the biographies of folks who have risen to the top in one way or another – not always to the “traditional top.”
Recently I also enjoyed “Unlock Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Dispenza. After reading this book, I finally understood the relationship between the conscious (5-10 %), subconscious (40%) and unconscious ((50% or so) mind. This is more of a review than an in depth book, but gets one started who has an interest in delving more deeply.
I am also in the middle of “Make it Stick” by Peter C Brown, which is a very scientific exploration of how we best retain what we learn.
These books on tape have created an opportunity for me to learn while housecleaning, an endeavor which in the accomplishment of same, I have  received a solid C minus thus far!

Never too early to join the CSA
We continue to do a fast business in CSA shares. A welcome outpouring of support for our high quality food.
You can sign up here – https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/
And if you are already a member and can help us with outreach, contact me at Julie@mhof.net. We can discuss ways to reach out to your friends and relatives. We now have pick up sites in Barre, the Barre Health Center, Holden twice, Worcester, Princeton, Gardner, Shrewsbury, and Sutton.
In other produce news we are happy that the Insight Meditation Society is back in business. They are one of our oldest accounts. We started selling to them in 1985.

CSA share August 9, 2021

Food Corner:  Green onions, chives, and onions
Starting early in the CSA season and throughout, you will receive one or more of our green onions, chives and onions.  Chives generally are milder than green onions, and onions.  All have the pungent taste that aids in the digestion of food due to its heating quality.  They can be eaten raw in salads or on top of other cooked dishes or cooked right into just about any dish.  When cooked they take on a sweeter taste.

Agriculture Education
I want to talk about seedlings and fire blight.
Seedlings – A long time ago when we first started growing food here I made up my own potting soil, started seeds too early, spent way too much time transplanting, and ended up with leggy seedlings which I diligently (with the help of the rest of the family) moved in and out of the house before planting. Over the years, we started using commercial potting soil. I really prefer the product that Mike Lombard of Ideal Compost in Peterborough, NH makes that is high quality and laced with minerals and microbes that give things a good start. We have had our wonderful attached greenhouse since 1982. In 2007 we upgraded our system for seedlings by adding the yellow and blue houses (which you have heard about incessantly this winter! And then I studied under John Kempf who educates us that seedlings need to be small when planted, grow constantly, with no arresting while in the seedling stage, not be fed with N or K, but instead supported with adequate Ca and P for short stocky growth. For most of our seedlings, we try to have a policy of cradle to planting of between 3-5 weeks. That is easier with summer started seedlings to reach the 3 week goal, but most spring started seedlings can be ready in 5 weeks. Another suggestion of John’s that we follow is to not harden off seedlings, but start them late enough that you can plant them “in their time” (i.e. first week in June for tomatoes here, for example). So we start everyone up in the attached greenhouse, and as soon as they germinate they go out to the yellow house, on the ground. We cover them with row cover if the temperature is going down below freezing, and open the doors of the house when it is sunny on a week like this past one. Besides the great potting soil, we use the following recipe for transplant drench at planting, and then spray the seedlings weekly with the same mix. They go from the hoophouse into the ground, unless it gets too hot in there, in which case they live out in front of it until they are ready. No transplanting, no potting up, no dragging plants here and there, and no cell paks either. With our 10” x 20” open trays we can pack in thousands more seedlings in our very small 10’ x 14’ greenhouse. They never dry out, and their roots are never too tight. Son Dan has a great metaphorical question. “Would you leave your three year old in a crib?” We save hours and hours of time over our old system of 40 years ago.
Transplant Drench and foliar –  2 Quart Rejuvenate, 2 Quart SeaShield, 2 Quart PhotoMag, 2 Quart SeaStim,  1 Quart HoloCal,  1 Quart SeaCrop,  Mix into a 2 ½ gallon jug and use ½ – 1 cup per 2 gallon watering can. Add a pinch of mycogenesis to each watering can.

March 14, seedlings ready to move outside to hoop house.

And here they are, where they will live until they are planted – the ground holds the heat well at night and they get full sun.

Fire blight – I am not sure why we got fire blight on some of our apple trees last year. It was a new occurrence for us. We quickly asked Nathan from AEA about an appropriate spray (recipe here), and this spring we are doing serious pruning 18” below any visual damage on affected trees. As it turns out his advice was to do that pruning right away, which we didn’t accomplish. But we will prophylactically spray the 2021 affected trees and hope we can bring our trees back from this nasty disease.
Fire Blight Foliar
1 gallon sea crop
1 gallon sea stim
1 quart rebound copper
1 quart rebound boron
Add 1 Tablespoon Micro 5000 to tank

Jonathan cut out a lot of fire blight infested branches from our beloved 1987 Baldwin tree.

Health Education
This Week I have been catching parts of the DrSummits Energy Healing Summit – https://drsummits.com/. These are free for 24 hours, so if you are cagey you can get a plethora of information on a particular topic without paying anything. Their last one was on Lyme disease. Speakers of note this week for me were Tony Robbins, who has a new book coming out titled “Life Force”, Mark Divine who authored “The Unbeatable Mind”, Keesha Evers, who authored “Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle,” and Robby Besner, owner of TheraSage. He focuses on infrared and got his start healing his daughter’s Lyme. In the end he suggests that we walk barefoot (which I did all day on Friday and it was fantastic). Check out Ho-oponopono with Joe Vitale and his book “Zero Limits” and Chunyi Lin on qigong.  There is a lot of cool stuff out there and much food for thought.

Ellen’s Spring Cleanse
Ellen’s Spring Rejuvenation Cleanse begins in April. Join now for the early bird discount. All details here: https://ellenkittredge.com/cleanse.php

Working Shareholders
No one new came this week but next week we look forward to Jhoanne. Keep em coming!
Staff Spotlight:
Jonathan is an experienced farmer who worked in farming for 10 years in his teens and twenties.  He loved the work but wasn’t sure it was sustainable income for his family so he decided to go on to college and enter the corporate world.  He started his own small farm at his home raising chickens and vegetables for his family and friends.  He left the corporate world about a year ago when he made the decision to homeschool his children.  He has decided to take on farming again as his profession at Many Hands Organic Farm with the thoughts of maybe some consulting on the side.  He is a tall, strong and soft spoken man who is highly competent and positive spirited.  He is at present farming part of the day and managing the garage upgrade part of the day.  Additionally, he will be a site coordinator for our CSA in Sutton MA.
Good Local Maple Syrup
Our syrup is a small family operation. We primarily tap in West Orange along the Millers River Valley.  We currently have syrup in tins, quart mason jars, plastic, and 1/2 liter glass jugs.
Tins and quarts are 20 each
1/2 liter jugs are 10 each.
We have all grades in stock from fancy to dark.
Folks can call or text me to make arrangements to purchase syrup.
Thank you
Travis Knechtel
Jobs At MHOF
Well, we don’t have any at the moment. We may be looking around for summer help when things get really intense. So reach out if that might be a situation that fits your schedule
On Farm videos on this and that
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, in 2 ounce bottles – $12
  3. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $10 each
  4. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each
  5. 2 ounce jars of calendula salve – $10 each
  6. garlic powder – $10/2 ounce
  7. frozen pork stock – $7.50/quart
  8. frozen chicken stock – $7.50/quart
  9.  frozen pork cuts –regular ribs, ground pork and roasts – $12/lb.
  10.  ham and bacon – $18/lb.


Farm Doins
This week Jonathan hoped to get the entire roof re-shingled on the garage, and by gosh he did it (with a little help from his friends). Chuk came over on Monday am and they shingled the hard west side with the steeper slope. And then later in the week with help from Ian, Clare and me and then a final push with Stu, Danny and John and a final push until 4 pm on Friday, Jonathan completed the roof before the rain came on Saturday. Next is a redesign of the brooder house on the back of the garage. This project is proceeding nicely with tech support and sometimes on site support by Chuk, and lots of helpers that arrive here and there.
We did the big move outside of our first batch of seedlings into the yellow house, another first for the season, a true sign that things are heating up. We worked some more on the orange house, to eradicate all of the greenery, but did not complete that task. That is in line for completion next week. We did accomplish the laying of all of the rest of the 100’ x 30’ tarps – 13 in all, and lots of heavy sand bags. Thanks to Ian, Laurie, Paula, Leslie, and Deb who helped Clare and me pull that big job off.
We had to remove all the sturdy brassica stalks in advance of the tarps.
6 tarps in place in the pond field – we covered the entire growing area.
On the pruning front we accomplished 1 row in the pond orchard – 2 rows to go.
Friday we started our chard for the season and our first round of lettuce. Celery was planted last Monday. Clare completed our planting schedule this week. If you want a copy, reach out.
I finished Chuk and Cathleen’s wedding quilt – just 6 ½ years late!
Our first lunch outside on March 18.
Spring officially arrives this week – yippee!