We have been hoping and wishing for rain for a long time now, and it was quite exciting when Friday’s thunderstorm came tearing through. We were all happily processing tomatoes, cabbage, garlic and peaches in the kitchen when Christy called to say that we were locked in on both ends of Sheldon Road with downed trees. We went to investigate with chainsaws in hand, and found not only trees, but numerous power lines and power poles, and then returned to the farm and decided to leave the clean up to the professionals!

An hour after the usual end of work, Kamarin, Jonathan and Peter were able to get out, due to incredible clean up by the fire department and the electric company. Meanwhile, however, they cut the power so that they could make the repairs necessary. There were Jack and I at the table with a huge pile of cut up cabbage and tomatoes to jar up and process. But with us, no power means no water. And then I looked out the window and saw that half of our corn crop was lying flat on the ground. I am not sure if it was the hail or the heavy winds, but regardless, there it was. We tried to clean up as best as possible, ate our supper and went to bed in the dark, wondering about all the water that would be needed in the morning for all of the birds – about 450 – 500 all told, and also wondering how melted all of the food in our freezers would be. Thankfully, the amazing crews had the power back on by 12:17 am, about 9 hours later, and the anxiety receded into a deep sleep with the fan back on!

The storm was a wake-up call, which comes with some regularity (our last power outage was in July of 2020 and that year we baled water out of our slimy pond to water the animals and wash the produce for the CSA in that mid-week storm. Of course, the big December storm of 2008 where we lost power for 10 days, will also be burned into our memories for the rest of our lives.

Bottom line, humans live in a very fragile balance with nature. Most of us have moved significantly away from direct connection with it, however. Self-sufficiency is a laudable approach to somewhat address this issue, but we are also clearly part of the larger society and these, in this case, mini-crises should give us pause as we consider how connected we are with the larger community in the joint project of our continued existence. I for one am very grateful today for the folks who bring us electricity and provide our emergency services! And I hope our corn can stand itself up and continue to maturity, but am not sure that will happen.

Photo taken Friday at 4:30 pm

Videos and articles from the outside world

Over the past two weeks a lot of interesting videos came across my desk. Here is a sampling for you to enjoy.

Polyvagal theory – Dr. Stephen Porges

Everybody is talking about the vagus nerve these days. This is a very intriguing podcast sent to me by son Dan. Check out reference to bands and choruses at 1 hour:15 minutes!

From Ari Whitten podcast

Primary Cause of Bone Loss

The Top 5 Keys to Successful Fat Loss, Optimizing Performance, Sleep and More

The quickest way to get rid of cravings

A nice piece from daughter Ellen, I thought –

Videos from MHOF this week

I shot a bunch over the past two weeks and did a few food preservation ones. Enjoy

Preparing cabbage for freezing
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Getting all set up for the pigs
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Freezing peaches
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Drying cherry tomatoes
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Harvesting elderberries
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Mowing down perennials
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CSA Updates This Week

CSA crops this week

  • Parsley
  • Chard
  • Cabbage or broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts tops – we top them so that they will make bigger sprouts and you can eat the greens similar to collards
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Tulsi
  • Chives
  • Lettuce
  • Green beans may be on the docket by Friday

Picking Brussels sprouts tops

Yeah, we like yellow tomatoes!

With the excessive heat we have to prophylactically harvest all the lettuce in the west field before it bolts, so most of you got stored lettuce last week. We are back to fresh picking this week and are still trying to stay ahead of bolting.

Fall Share – sign up now

We will be picking for the fall share, starting October 31 and running for 4 weeks, on Mondays and Wednesdays. But on the last week we are picking all of the shares on Monday. Keep the good food flowing for one more month.

Reserve a Fall Share

Meat birds available for sale


Letters from subscribers

My new Chair lift will be installed soon. I have been using an Acorn Chair Lift which I purchased about 7 yrs ago. It works fine, never has broken down. I initially had it installed to a landing not thinking of my future condition.  I would give it to anyone in need of a good ride. If you know of any one please let me know. They would have to pick it up when my new one arrives. Thank you for all the beautiful gifts of the earth.

-Coleen Coder

Dear Julie:
I’m thoroughly enjoying being a member of your CSA. The newsletters are informative and entertaining. I enjoy the different topics you include and the videos, recipes, and connections you link to the larger world. I would love to have your applesauce recipe in a future newsletter.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your earth conscious family!

Hi Charlene, 

I am so glad that you are enjoying the CSA. It is wonderful to know that all of our hard work is being enjoyed by real people. 

Here is how we make our applesauce. We use all of the apples, except if they have some clear disease, but rotten spots are fine. We chop them up and cover them with water and boil them down until they are soft. They we run the whole business through a foley food mill and voila, we have applesauce – nothing added except the water. 


Aging… what?… not yet, I wish…”backing into the surroundings” perfect phrasing of how I’m feeling these days,,, though still running my business,,, a realty check as to whether this is my “Third Act” or my 3rd Season, the Fall of my life… Winter yet to come…

Dying wise/well seems though a reasonable vision…

STEPHEN JENKINSON – DIE WISE: How to Understand the Meaning of Death

Thanks, Terry, good food for thought. I particularly liked the part where he said that we non-indigenous Americans have no long-term history of our own. That our ancestors all fled their homeland and their culture. 



I was hoping you could share ways to use the tulsi besides tea? I’ve looked online and most recipes seem to suggest tea. Are there other uses you’ve enjoyed or have had others share?

Thank you and really enjoying this csa season!

Sam Piazza

Hi Sam, 

I actually like it in salad, stir fries, soups, etc. I have never made tea of it. It has a delicious flavor and particularly perks up a salad in my opinion. 


Bulk Sale Items

We have extra tomatoes now and are happy to sell them to you for $2/lb. for seconds for canning. See the canning video I put together this past week.

Canning tomatoes
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Circle of Song starting up September 8

Circle of Song is a community chorus that I co-direct with my friend Nancy Afonso. We are starting up our fall session on September 8 – Barre Congregational church – enter at the left side door – from 7-8:30. We are always looking for singers who are a little on the irrepressible side and who like to sing in four-part harmony. Here is our line up for the fall:

Regina Coelli, Go Lovely Rose, Mary had a Baby, Hallelujah Chorus, Esto les Digo, Mzi Wase Afrika, O Magnum Mysterium, and Homage to Ward. And our house band will play for Christmas carols at the concert for audience participation.

Give me a call – 978-257-1192, or email – to find out more. We charge $40 – $70 sliding scale for annual membership. Can’t read that well? We will help you with that. A good ear is appreciated. We meet every Thursday night and are planning our concert for December 17 at the Barre Town Hall.

We also like to eat together.

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

The weeding is easier now and we are doing more mulching and long-term management of crops as we work our way through the picking list for the CSA each M, W, F. If you are more interested in what we do on the off days of the CSA, you are welcome to come on a Tuesday or Thursday. Breakfast at 7, or join us at 8, for four hours and then lunch. We really need help on Wednesdays, if you can make it.

Volunteer at MHOF

Farm Doin’s

Over the past two weeks we were challenged again by very hot weather, though as we reach the end of August, it usually at least gets cool at night. We continue to try to be diligent about weeding and mulching the crops that will see us through to the fall. And we continue to plant – late brassicas, fennel, lettuce, radishes, turnips, cilantro. We got all set up for the pigs and had to figure out how to get shock back across the street. Jonathan and John diligently worked out that system and we are up and ready. The pigs were supposed to arrive on Friday, but alas, our new beater, was not quite up for the trip, so their pick up is postponed until today. The meat chickens will be all gone by Sunday. The turkeys are heading into the potato patch to prepare it for cover crops. And the layers will head back across the street to the pond field by week’s end.

We preserved lots of food, and were especially happy to sort our garlic for the half rotten ones which we turned into garlic powder. We are keeping up with peaches, tomatoes, and the rest of the cabbage that didn’t make the CSA cut. Those beds are now being fertilized by the layers and will next go to cover crops.

Kamarin will be gone after today, so we are sad to lose him and also wondering how we will manage all of our affairs. Summer is quickly turning to fall.

Our beater is home


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