A moment of rest with Skippy

Remarkable people come along from time to time. I would like to give a shout out to this one. Kamarin has been volunteering with the Stetson folks over the past year or so. We nabbed him for February vacation and were able to engage his help this April vacation also. All I can say is that I wish I had it together like he does when I was 18.

He quickly became one of the crew this week and by Wednesday he had his own batch of 6 Clark students to manage when they came to visit this week. They came to me afterward unsolicited to give glowing reports of his leadership. Kamarin is fast, congenial, strong, the first to step forward for the heavy or hard jobs and amazingly patient with little kids (four here on Thursday), younger teens (two of them here on Friday) and not afraid to speak up on management issues.

I had to laugh when on Friday afternoon Kamarin kindly but firmly suggested to Clare that her strawberry holes might be too close. As Friday closed out with Clare, Kamarin and I speeding through the planting of hundreds of tomato and broccoli seeds, I reflected on the great fortune that we have here at MHOF to come across people like Kamarin who share a bit of their extraordinary life journeys with us.


Touche, Jeffie, Bumper joined the realm of the recently hatched this week, and we found them in the soon to be onion patch. Though there is still some dispute regarding whether they are painteds or snappers, they are now happily living at Stetson School and cared for by Kamarin and many friends and staff members.

At the beginning of life

Personal Health Tips

“Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Peter Brown and Henry Roediger is not a sexy book, but is filled with some interesting well documented studies about successful learning/teaching strategies and personal stories of folks who have taken learning retention to the highest levels.

Discussion of “knock knock virtuosity”, the famous marshmallow study, building a structure within which to enhance learning, and discussion of human intelligences caught my interest. I was particularly interested to learn that interleaving learning rather than cramming is always more successful for long term retention. The personal stories were engaging and illustrative – of a brain surgeon, a parachute jumper, and the kid who started his sales career at age 10 by hitch hiking from a non-fireworks state to one where they were legal with an empty suitcase, buying up the fireworks, bringing them home and selling them for a profit.

The authors reference the work of Carol Dweck and her famous book “Mindset” which separates those who have a growth mindset from those who believe they have already arrived (thanks Christy Bassett, for giving me that book as a gift). All good food for thought for the teacher, people manager or lifelong learner.

Agricultural Education from MHOF

Here are a handful of our videos from the week.

Fertilizer management

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Apple understory

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Freeing the garlic from the overwintering mulch

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Chickens commenting on their upcoming move

View video on Facebook

Grape pruning wrap up

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Plugging the mushroom logs

View video on Facebook

Strawberry transplanting – sorry about the fingers!

View video on Facebook

More Education

Political Comment – Ukraine

I have been troubled, as I am sure most of you are, about the recent war in Ukraine. It seems that there is war somewhere in the world all the time these days. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just respect each other’s boundaries? I don’t feel that we can easily get unbiased reporting anymore (if we ever could) about world events. Luckily there are intelligent and long-haul political analysts who can provide perspective. I encourage you to take a listen to this thoughtful interview with Noam Chomsky, now 93 years old, on “What can we do?”

Invasive Jumping Worms

Everyone is talking about these guys these days and I was happy to learn a little more about them so I can answer questions about how I feel about them. This is quite informative regarding ID. Basically, if you pull back the mulch and they are thrashing about, you got ‘em! What to do about them? My advice is to give them more mulch to eat, not to lose sleep, try to kill them or otherwise agonize over yet one more invasive and how we can control it. I think that it is time for us to realize that nature brings us these “invasives” including Japanese knotweed, Bishop’s weed, and even corona viruses to help right the balance in our world. I will always choose diversity and healthy management of our bodies, those of our pets and livestock and our soil microorganisms as the horse I am betting on. Listen here-https://nofamasspodcast.libsyn.com/

Opportunities from MHOF

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

5 weeks and counting until the CSA starts.

If the subscriptions keep up like they came in this week, we will sell out. Don’t be caught without your food!

October 25, 2021

Join the CSA here.

Meat Available for Pre-Order

I know it is very early, and we won’t even get the baby turkey poults until early July, but you can place your order for a Thanksgiving turkey anytime now.

November 16, 2021

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Purchase MHOF meat here.

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

New this week are Jill and Jack, Sunday volunteers, Alex came with her mom, Alannah came with her mom, and Peter has joined us on Mondays for the season. Enquire about becoming a working shareholder.

Jill and Jack helping move birds

Peter prepping beds for radish and turnips

Alannah here with her mom

Alex here with her mom

Tonya planting onions

More information on volunteering at MHOF here.

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.

Purchase MHOF products here.

Free Stuff this Week

We are going to rip out a couple of red raspberry rows. Come by this week 8-3 Monday – Friday to take home some of Mom’s Latham summer berries. Last call for these – they will be gone by week’s end.

Raspberry canes

Other Opportunities

Terry Cline is a neighbor and good friend of ours who is a very talented and out of the box architect. You can reach him below for help with your next project.

Farm Doin’s

Overall for the week we were happy on the farm side to finish pruning the grapes and getting them all fertilized, mulched or cover cropped with crimson clover.

Paula really got into her fertilizer spreading

Managing the big straw bales for mulch

We also finished weeding strawberries and moving errant berries out of the pathways and into the two beds. We still need to better hoe the pathways and get them heavily mulched. Tuesday in the rain we mixed and spread fertilizer for our fruit trees, and did some mulching around the house. We weeded many dandelions out of the garlic and preserved them and then added an extra layer of straw mulch to those three beds.

Big onion planting crew on a very cold Wednesday morning

Clark students at work prepping for lettuce planting

And planting it

We planted our remaining 8 beds of onion sets, and also a bed of radishes, one of salad turnips and 2 of cilantro. Finally, we planted three beds of lettuce, our first transplanting of the season. We also started 30 more flats of vegetables in the greenhouse and weeded our in-ground lettuce in the yellow hoop house.

I couldn’t pass up this beautiful sunrise on Friday morning

Skippy, Franny and Dingo making plans for the day

We finally received the proper bit in the mail to plug our shiitake logs which we accomplished on Friday. Jonathan, Stu and Kamarin made huge progress on the garage brooder house which jumped substantially when Chuk showed up on Friday and Saturday. We are getting closer to have a state of the art brooder house all ready for the young layers who will arrive in just over a week. We also got 5 cords of wood stacked away in our barn woodshed such that it is now full.

We had four saws operating on Friday

Dave Petrovick did some substantial work on our sprayers such that we now have two functioning sprayers. Peter has added to our sprayer crew for weekly veg and fruit foliars (administered daily in rotation through the week). These sprayers also come into hard use when we are planting and transplanting in the field. Thanks Dave, for excellent mechanical support of the highest quality!

Laying out our soaked seeds for drying and planting in the greenhouse

Finishing touches on the grape trellises

We accomplished all of this with all of our working shareholders and school vacation family members and a planned visit by Morgan Ruelle’s beginning environmental science class of 24 volunteers from Clark University. Many thanks to Morgan and students!

Clare is a topnotch machine operator

Clare and Kamarin reconnoitering over late in the day Friday seedling planting

Lots of planting next week, perennial management, and brooder completion planned.

We had a blast this week!