I love mulch – Julie Rawson

Yes, folks, there ain’t nothing like it. And this week we were in receipt of 40 bales of beautiful golden straw from Gary Shepherd, a friend of former working shareholder Maria Leo (thank you Maria for the hook up!)

We really need to go back to Ruth Stout, the queen of mulch – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Stout (1894-1980) – read up on her. Well, my mom followed her and was a bit of a mulch queen herself. I always tried to mulch when I was finally on my own, but didn’t give it the priority that I should have until son Dan came along and showed me how to do it big time with lots of round bales of whatever you can get. He often could get old bales for free. I was rejuvenated and am now an acolyte.

This high quality straw (we have never used straw before) added to our own hay and leaves will have our farm looking like a show garden for sure this year! Mulch is magical, in large part because it keeps the earthworms happy, and feeds that underground workforce consistently, while keeping it dark for them, hydrated, and just like they like it. If you haven’t yet, try it. You will notice marked improvement in your crop production. Slugs? Yes, sometimes they will come when a system is in transition. Save your egg shells, be judicious with the use of wood ash, or utilize diatomaceous earth until your farming system has regularized and the slugs go away.

Personal Health Tips

Gluten-Free Pancakes

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I love pancakes, but I don’t do well with wheat anymore so I started to get creative. Saturday morning I made the following pancake batter.

  • 2 cups of oat groats ground in a coffee grinder
  • 1 cup of almonds, also ground
  • 1 T of astragalus powder
  • 1 T of cinnamon
  • 2 T chia
  • 2 T flax
  • ½ cup coconut
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • About 2 cups of coconut milk (you could use water)

Mix it all up and fry it in some kind of oil – I use lard or bacon fat. Serve with some of Travis’ maple syrup after putting butter between the stack of pancakes.

Here are some good quotes that I liked this week

“The world is a place for soul making.” -John Keats

“Sanctity is no more than becoming ourselves.” -Peter Kreeft

More Education

A great book that I am just finishing is another Stephen Bruhner book, this one, “Transformational Fasting.” His books seem to fit almost better in a category of religion or spirituality. This one takes you through the whole process of food and its meaning to us, what happens when we fast, how we connect better to our hearts and then the how to of the fast. Fascinating, as is all of his stuff.

Opportunities from MHOF

Large Share on September 8, 2021

Consider joining the MHOF CSA to change the way you eat!

For real, after 22-26 weeks of all of this good food you may well be on a new schedule of producing your own healthcare with abundant and highly nutritious vegetables, herbs and fruits. We will support you with recipes and tips for how to use your food.

Did you know that the CSA starts in a short 7 weeks? Truth be told, this is when Clare and I start biting our fingernails wondering if we will have enough food for the first couple of weeks. But we are scurrying, with chard and kale and beets planted in the houses this week, and this week upcoming we will be planting 96 lbs. of onion sets and 3 100’ beds of peas.

Join now while the joining is good!

Join the CSA

Meat Available for Pre-Order

Now is a good time to get your meat orders in to be sure of availability. Thanks to the three folks who sent in orders last week!

I would like to talk about chicken this week. If you have watched Food Inc. or any of the many documentaries and docudramas that are now available for the watching, you will realize that by buying commercially raised meat you are not only supporting the destruction of the planet, but also of your own body. Yes, our meat is significantly more expensive than the alternative, but there is a reason.

July 16, 2021

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We use only certified organic grains (twice as expensive as conventional), and also move our chickens every day of their lives (after their 3-4 weeks in the brooder house that Jonathan is presently renovating). They live on pasture and get fresh air and sunshine every day along with the greens at their feet. There is no way to beat the flavor of these birds.

This weekend we enjoyed a fried chicken (Chuk’s favorite) after watching Clare and Cathleen compete in the River Rat Race. We have one slaughter date this year – August 28. If you pick up your birds that day or the next, you can take them home and cut them up into smaller pieces should you so wish. You get a cleaned bird in a bag with the neck and the giblets.

Purchase MHOF Meat

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

We are definitely getting into the hard work portion of the year (winter is the cold portion, spring is where we work really hard, summer is where we work really fast, and fall is the time when we carry heavy loads).

Breakfast at 7 if you want to come that early, otherwise 8-12 with peanut butter balls at 10 and lunch at the end. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings are all open to more volunteers who will receive a large share in exchange for your work, or a dozen eggs off-season.

Volunteer at MHOF

Farm Store Hours

Monday-Friday: 12-1 pm
Tuesday: 5-7pm
Friday: 5-7pm

Always call ahead to be sure of supply
(978) 355-2853; (978) 257-1192

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. Tinctures (Holy basil, burdock, yellow dock)- 2 ounce bottles – $12 each

  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

Free Stuff This Week

Kale Seedlings & Chard Seedlings
Ready to transplant.

A Free Old Dell Computer
It actually works, but was getting old and I was afraid it might crash. Nice starter computer for a kid perhaps. Tower, monitor and keyboard.

Other Opportunities

Spring Rejuvenation Cleanse

Final call for Ellen’s 21 Day Spring Rejuvenation Cleanse! Details from Ellen:

“Not sure what to expect on this Cleanse?

Here are the BRAND NEW features for this Cleanse:

1. 30 new recipes that I’ve never shared before on a Cleanse or in my email newsletter. These are generally-speaking more simple/easy recipes with fewer ingredients, and are all themed perfectly for these spring months. They are a combo of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and more.

2. The focus on the weekly Zoom calls for this Cleanse will be Advanced Detox Strategies given that the springtime is when the body is more naturally detoxing, and it’s more appropriate to support a deeper detox.

3. I’ve decided to do an extra focus on the liver, with sharing in my daily emails 1 tip for supporting the liver each of the 21 days of the Cleanse. I’ve never done this before, and I’m excited for how these simple recommendations will build up over time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed, but by the end of the Cleanse will have a wealth of new simple things you are doing that will support your health (the liver is the main detox organ and is central to the body being able to function optimally) not just during these spring cleansing months, but for the long-term!

4. All Cleanse participants will have the most recent Winter Cleanse gut health biome support, teleclasses etc. made available to them, so that you can review this info if you already received it on the 2022 Winter Cleanse, and any new friends you bring with you to this Cleanse will also be able to access all that wisdom, at their own pace and timing.

This is of course in addition to all the standard support I offer during the Cleanse!

Please join me in beginning the Spring on a healthy foot, and please bring your friends and family along who may want to join in as well! I won’t be offering another 21 day Cleanse until January 2023…

With blessings of abundant good health to you this Spring!


Good Local Maple Syrup

From Travis Knechtel

“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 – 20 each

1/2 liter jugs – $10 each

We have all grades in stock from fancy to dark.

Folks can call or text me to make arrangements to purchase syrup:

Farm Doin’s

We started the week with Clare and I, Debbie, Kamarin, Candido and Gary busting out 4 hours of hoeing in the south field to take out the grass, dandelions, yellow dock, chickweed, etc. right before we sprayed it and planted it to oats and peas.

Hoeing in the south field.

Meanwhile, Jonathan was playing his tech role and spent the whole morning getting my new computer set up.

Jonathan setting up the new computer.

All week long we picked away at the grape pruning. Clare, Jack and I, and later, Jonathan, got about 6 grapes pruned – about 1/3 of the job done.

Jack and Clare assessing the grapevines.

Jack and Clare pruning the grapes.

On Wednesday we received 40 bales of straw. The truck got stuck, of course, and at one point our seemingly tinker toy-sized Ford 2120 did help a little bit in getting Kenny out of the mud, but mostly it was the straw itself that did the job. We had a really fun time on Thursday rolling bales into place on the stone wall.

The MHOF tractor helped to pull the stuck delivery truck out of the mud.

Straw delivery, unloaded.

Johnathan rolling straw bales down the hill.

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Wednesday we did a lot of house cleaning in the hoop houses – weeding our lettuce and spinach in the yellow, weeding and replanting beets in the blue and taking out the oat and pea cover crop.

Hoop house clean up crew.

Damn, this house seems awfully long.

On Thursday and Friday we planted kale and chard in the cover crop residue in the blue house, did another clean up of the orange house (some grass and yellow dock grow back) and then planted kale, chard and more beets. We started mulching the chard with stored leaves. They are good to use in a hoop house because they don’t blow away in there.

Moving seedlings from the greenhouse to the hoop house to get more sunlight.

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Transplanting kale.

Squeezing some beet seeds in between the chard and kale transplants.

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Clare was particularly impressed by the quality of the chard plants – thick and well branched – and chocks it up to the use of the seed soak this year. We referenced this earlier in the year, but here is the recipe again.

The beautiful chard plants that Clare referenced.

Seed soak recipe to enhance germination and get seeds off to a strong start
From Advancing EcoAgriculture’s Nathan Harmann

  • 10 parts water
  • 1 part seacrop
  • 1 part rejuvenate
  • 3 parts seastim
  • a wee dash of mycogenesis or biocoat gold (at least 1 gram per pound of seed) – add this only at soaking time

And soak seeds in that for, yeah, about 4 hours. If it’s a seed that desires a much longer soaking time, I would start with plain water, or with just the seacrop added, and then finish with the more robust seed soak.

After we soak the seeds we strain them over our aloe plant (so it can catch any extra good juices) and then lay them out on a paper towel to dry before planting.

Jonathan and John are plugging away at the brooder house portion of the garage. The framing is done!

Framing completed in this section.

Next week more grapes, more brooder house, one more field to hoe and cover crop, and pea and onion planting!