To Love and to Cherish

Jack and I passed our 44th wedding anniversary this past Friday. Daughter Ellen called us up at 3:30 and asked what we were up to. We were cutting up cherry tomatoes to dry and pulling grapes off of their stems for making into juice. She commented that it seemed like we must be pretty happy with each other and we agreed that food preservation is near the top of the list for activities that we love to do together.

When I woke up Friday morning feeling overwhelmed by the many 5- gallon buckets of grapes that would be in our near future, Jack comforted me by reminding me that we could do them slowly over the next ten days or so. I was instantly relieved and was able to hop out of bed and get on to my day. And such are the little ways in which long term partners can lighten each other’s way through life. As a child, besides somehow changing the world, I wished for a forever mate. And here 4 ½ decades later, it seems I got my wish (at least the second half of it!).

Only 50 gallons to go.

Further on that topic, Cathleen and Chuk were over for dinner on Wednesday night and graciously offered to help us dry the day’s bounty of cherry tomatoes. We all took our trays and got started. When I looked down to see how I was laying mine out and how Jack was laying his out, I realized for the umpteenth time that opposites do often attract. It came clear to me that our brains are organized in highly different ways!

That’s me in the foreground and Jack to my right

Videos and articles from the outside world

The 5 keys to disease prevention w/ Thomas Hemingway, MD

I liked his sentiment that one should consider what to add to the diet, rather than what to take away.

Videos from MHOF this week

From the chard bed
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Making garlic powder
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Goodbye meat chickens
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Catching chickens in the dark
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Pig arrival
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The pigs checking out their new pasture
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Moving Turkeys
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Paula’s Birthday
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Our corn has been very busy this past week

August 26 right after the hail and wind storm

September 3.  Isn’t nature miraculous!

Other News

Friend and colleague Barrie Anderson is selling his house, right on the Barre/Petersham line. Here is the listing –

CSA Updates This Week

NO CSA on Labor Day – Monday shares will move to Tuesday. Wednesday and Friday will run as normal.

CSA crops this week

  • Brand new crop of beets – we are quite proud
  • Jurassic chard grown in ideal carbon sequestering conditions – check out not only the size, but the color and brightness, and of course taste
  • Kale
  • Green beans – these plants are still looking very healthy; healthy beans is a challenge for us, so we are stoked
  • Some broccoli here and there
  • Lettuce
  • Soybeans – take these off the stalk, place them in boiling water and boil for about 3 minutes until you can pop them out of the shells. You can eat them just like that, or shell them all, and warm them up and of course add butter
  • Parsley – we are in the curly patch right now
  • Tulsi – I have been making the most wonderful tea at night with this – boil the bunch (or part of it) in water for 5 minutes or so, strain it and drink it before bed. What an amazing calming feeling it brings
  • Tomatoes – this is by far our best tomato year yet – enjoy, enjoy
  • Squash – the crop is finally waning, weeks after its usual expiration date – quantities will be a bit smaller this week
  • Celery

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

The chickens are now in the freezer, so call or email to come buy some.


Bulk Sale Items

We have extra tomatoes now and are happy to sell them to you for $2/lb. for seconds for canning.

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 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 lineup 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

The early part of the week was focused on getting our meat birds to slaughter and back for sales. Here is a picture of part of the crew before we got started. Dan, Raffi and Doodle showed up as a surprise a little later in the morning.

Jonathan, Clare and Cathleen

Monday was the big pig day and as Jack predicted, we let them out after just one day of being locked up. They have been behaving famously well, regardless, and have not yet staged a break into our west field garden.

Doodle contemplating the pigs

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, around the CSA and food preservation, were spent detarping and preparing 6 garden beds for lettuce, spinach and Asian greens.

We did manage to finish mulching our new beet plantation and a poorly germinated carrot bed, using up the last of our 40 round bales of straw. Clare and I are now dreaming of a bale chopper to make mulching easier and faster.

Friday was back to food preservation again, broccoli, peaches, grape juice, cherry tomatoes. My goal at the end of each day is to have a porch that only houses not quite ripe food. We lost a pear branch in last week’s storm, so there are some nice yet unripe pears awaiting our attention.

The rain last Friday and then Monday really served to perk up the crops that have been sitting waiting for some hydration. We are grateful for the rain that we get these days and are doing everything we can to capture each drop.


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