Contemplations on the Solstice

Back when I was a lot less healthy, I was significantly more sensitive to the rhythms of the sun. On December 22 I would “wake up” from my slow autumn decline toward a modest melancholy, and start recharging my solar battery. By May I was into a frenetic pace, which culminated with a crash right after June 21.

I have been noticing a subtle change over the past handful of years. The move into winter is more of a welcome change of pace and the move into summer, though surely manifested with a practice of making every minute count, is more of an awakening into more concert with nature. When I think back on this week with a calm but very productive Solstice on Tuesday with Clare, Jonathan and Paula, and finishing with a passel of us planting some very old leeks accompanied by a singing party led by Eliza and Maggie to usher the leeks into their new home, I noted that the Solstice, just like any other day of the year, is a passing from what we’ve experienced to the surprises that await us.

As I move into a more balanced and harmonic state through all 365 days, I daily realize that each day has its miracles to be cherished.

Dancing and singing planters

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Big 40th Anniversary Party at MHOF
July 3, 2022

Last call! 

Once each decade we have a big party here at Many Hands Organic Farm to celebrate our time here. The clock will tick 40 years on July 3 and we would like to share this day with you. Whether you grew up with one of us, met us in college, worked with us as an organizer/community activist, collaborated with us in the Northeast Organic Farming Association, ate with us in the Barre Food Coop, sold with us at the Barre Farmers Market, did theater with us at Quabbin Regional High School or Barre Players, or play or sing with us in the Quabbin Community Band, Weir Community Band, or Circle of Song, or know us through the farm, either as a volunteer or paid staff member or a customer, we thank you for enriching our lives and would like to reminisce with you on July 3 – 2 pm – 7:30 pm when the bonfire starts. Campers are welcome, but let us know in advance if you would like to do so. We will make a big breakfast on the 4th to sweeten your departure.

Our parties are always pot luck (that means that you bring a dish to pass), and of course if you bring something organic, homemade and whole, we particularly appreciate those offerings. We will provide lemonade and encourage you to bring alcoholic refreshment should you so choose. We will have plates and glasses and silverware and chairs too, so just bring that special dish that you want to show off.

We would love to see you and catch up.

Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson

Still accepting donations to support Worcester Community Fridges

A generous friend and donor has offered to pay for any remaining unmatched community fridge shares and will write a check on July 3. If you would like to make a donation to this project in 2022, now is your chance.

To donate please make any check payable to MHSC (it can be tax deductible for you this way) and note it is for “Community Fridges”.  Or donate directly here through PayPal.

Videos from MHOF this week

Mulching the kale

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Weeding the celery

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Red raspberry management

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Slogging through the leeks

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Potato management

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CSA Updates This Week

Coming up this week

  • Lettuce still profusing
  • Chard
  • Kale or collards – those collards being the big flat leaved plants. And you can eat them similarly to kale
  • Green onions
  • Beet greens – these continue to be our most outstanding crop of the early season
  • Radishes
  • Probably some salad turnips – the little round white folks
  • Garlic scapes – for the second and last week
  • Peppermint
  • Chives are back
  • Kohlrabi – with the beautiful purple root – you can use the tops like kale and the bulb I most enjoy grated on salad or thinly sliced and used as a dipper with hummus

Christy is going to put together an amazing photo gallery of all of our crops featured in the CSA – but it isn’t happening quite yet. Meanwhile, read your newsletter carefully and watch for pictures (sorry, none this week), and call or email if you are still befuddled.

Holiday Week Next Week

Monday folks will have CSA pick up on Tuesday, July 5 instead of Monday July 4. The rest of the week will run as usual on Wednesday and Friday, July 6 and July 8.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!


More from MHOF

Young Layers for Sale

We have 13 extra laying birds that have been brooded and acclimated to the outside world. They are 8 weeks old and in top physical condition having been fed on organic grain and lots of comfrey from birth. They are $25 each. Please contact me to make your purchase. or 978-257-1192.

“Red Stars” – high production egg laying chickens.

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

You can still join our team of hardworking folks who show up in any kind of weather and still have a good time. It is kind of like the Whos down in Whoville. You will get a large produce share and the time of your life.

It was pouring rain on Wednesday when we took this picture!

Volunteer at MHOF

Farm Doin’s

I was talking with Jack on Friday night about how to be better organized, more targeted in approach, and gather the right tools and people for the tasks at hand. The beautiful thing about running any small business, and participating in any relationship, for that matter, is that there is so much possibility for improved functionality, excellence, and of course having a good time along the way.

At this time of year our mistakes of last year present themselves where we have excessive weed pressure from not managing an area as well as possible. Deciding whether to give up on some really weedy carrot beds or spend the precious minutes trying to extricate them from the weeds is something we came up against this week. I have not yet decided on that one, but will definitely plant a lot of carrots this week at a time of year where new weed pressure will be abated. (Carrots are really a challenge because the weeds will always precede them in germination.)

Balancing between weeding young crops that are not yet in danger (we finished weeding the celery this week) vs. the kale and collards (which are more mature but getting thick, but we are only making slow progress on), is always in the calculation. We are happy to have the green beans, peas and tomatoes all weeded, mulched and tied (peas), and are doing the weeding of the tiny parsnips before they are lost. We are pulling the weed whacker into more service, and sometimes mowing edges of fields more for our peace of mind than any real need.

We did get the yellow house turned over from being tarped to being planted and mulched with melons, and planted out lettuce, broccoli, leeks, more summer squash and cucumbers. Thursday we made good strides in our flowers and squashes with massive amounts of mulch to hopefully keep them tended through the summer. Leek and onion weeding proceed slowly as time permits, and we are in process with potato weed whacking, hilling and mulching. Thank God for the large straw bales that we can just roll out for mulch. Red raspberries are finally done.

Next week we must finish the squash and cuke weeding and mulching (first crop) and the potatoes. Peaches need thinning and innumerable small jobs here and there accomplishing. Wish us luck.

Yellow house sequence from tarp to mulched melons

Chives, raspberries, tomatoes, all tucked in

Potatoes in process

Summer squash seeds following spring green onions

Kamarin and Scott with our massive lettuce

Kamarin with the weed whacker

Debbie, Maggie and Eliza helping with lunch prep

Some progress with the garage as time permits

Mulching in progress with kale and collards

I nabbed Christy for a little farm work at the end of the day on Friday

Sorry, no newsletter next week – too much party prep! Talk to you again on July 11, if we don’t see you at the party.