Farm Dog

Not too long ago every farm had a farm dog, if not two or three. They, like a barnful of cats, were assumed to be a critical part of the farm workforce. Call us old fashioned, but we still hold by this tenet that we need to have these farmworkers/pets in order to be successful raising not only birds on pasture, but fruit trees, and vegetables.

Skippy is the spotlight of this story today. Alex, our incredible working shareholder from Brazil, happens to be a most amazing photographer, and he is happiest when he is taking pictures. He is also very good with a knife when we are preserving lots of greens!

Skippy came to us from farm dog parents. I remember the day in the pond field in February of 2021 when Clare offhandedly noted that her friend Abby was going to have some puppies available. “What?! Will you put me in touch with her immediately so we can get one?” I reminded her three times that day that I wanted that introduction, which she made. And Skippy came to us on April 5 last year, having been raised by her dog mother and her human mother just like I would have dreamed for our soon to replace Franny dream dog.

Franny did train her up to always be with us, to help move birds and pigs, and to dig for mice and voles at all times in the field. Franny was good about not barking at folks, which Skippy has not yet worked out, but Franny did like to take off, and thankfully Skippy stays right here on the farm all the time. When she is in the house, she steals a little couch time after wolfing down her organic dog food, egg, cod liver oil, pork stock and chicken head breakfast, but soon she is back outside. And at night, she and Dingo bark more or less, depending on how many carnivorous predators are lurking around the birds.

We are so lucky to have Skippy (as is Dingo, our timid rescue guy). Here she is fresh from her photo shoot this past Thursday.

Keeping the turkeys moving as we do our part
Photo credit: Alexandre Chiacchio

Attentive as we move some birds into another house to spread them out
Photo credit: Alexandre Chiacchio

At rest after the work is done
Photo credit: Alexandre Chiacchio

And thanks again, Alex!

Farm Videos

Planting in the greenhouse

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Marathon food preservation

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Freezing some peppers

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Here we are putting on remay – the crops made it through fine, by the way

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Book Review

All Creatures Great and Small

James Herriot

I grew up on a hog farm in Illinois and my dad was a country vet. He was 5 years younger than Herriot and was living a somewhat parallel life with this famous Scottish vet who spent his entire adult life in the Dales in England. So, this book and the many that followed have very special meaning to me, because I know what a retained placenta is, and remember having to answer all phone calls and get important messages to my dad. And I went along on a few calf pullings, and looked in awe when my dad would put his entire arm in the cow’s rectum.

You may not have such a visceral response to this incredible writing, but you will be drawn in by Herriot’s ability to tell a story, take you to a place, help you get to know people, and warm your heart while making you laugh out loud. There is a reason why these books are worldwide best sellers. If you haven’t partaken, I suggest that you do. And if you read them 30 years ago like I did, it is worth picking them up again.

CSA Updates This Week

CSA Crops This Week

This is the final week of the summer CSA!

Tomatoes and other farm gleanings may appear in your share this week. Plus:

  • Parsley
  • Chard
  • Carrots
  • Beet(s)
  • Kale
  • Cilantro
  • Arugula
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Bok choi or Chinese cabbage
  • Bartlett pears

Eight of those crates later, this ‘giving tree’ only produced around 1000 pears this year due to the drought, but she still did an amazing job

End of Season Survey

Watch for this and fill it out please. We value your feedback.

Bring Back Your Share Bags

Please save us lots of money and bring back your share bags. You can drop them at your pick-up site over the next two weeks or so. We will collect them, launder them, fix them, and reuse them next year. You can plan ahead and bring your bags to your site this week for your last pick up. And when you get there to pick up your share, bring another bag to transfer the produce into. Leave your share bag behind and it will then be off your mind and into our hands. Thanks for attending to this.

Join the 2023 Summer Share Early

You can join the summer CSA for 2023 from now until December 31 and pay 2022 prices. We get a needed cash flush as we are paying dearly for turkey, pig and chicken feed right now. Soon we will be purchasing fertility liquids from AEA, a 22 -ton load of rock dust and hopefully some tractor trailer loads of wood chips from the town.  You can join here.

Reserve a 2023 Summer CSA Share

Letters From Subscribers

Hi Julie

I have to introduce myself – my name is Cari. I am a friend of Jonathon’s and I live in Adelaide South Australia. I met Jonathon through Farmers Footprint and we stayed chatting over the last year or more. I have loved hearing his journey with you and when I subscribed to your newsletter I just had to respond today – theres not many I read through but I ADORE your humour and pics and knowledge and it’s just such a great read.

Your subscribers and CSA members just get so nourished by your food and words and love.

Today’s highlight was your chilling out over picking the hemp and ‘still’ chilling out as it dried.

Gosh I giggled, anyway much love to you all for the amazing work you do and for the joy and hearty goodness you bring my heart walks with yours,


Gosh, Cari, 

This is so kind, and all the way from Australia! I am humbled that our newsletter strikes a chord with you. It seems to just regurgitate all over the page after just hanging out inside somewhere all these years. Best to you in your life journey. 🙂Julie

Dear Julie,

As a woman of similar vintage, I so resonated with your thoughts about cleaning!

Wish we were still closer and able to feast on all your wonderful foods.



Thanks, Sue, I cleaned the main floor of the house that week, and then slipped back into my slovenly ways, although we have been averaging one thorough sweep of the kitchen each day. Small steps! 

Of course, you can always stop down and load up on our meat for the year. We would love to see you and Tom again. 

Here’s to just the right attitude toward house cleaning!

Be well, Julie

Dear Julie and Jack,

I share your enthusiasm about eating with your loved ones and even a few who are borderline. It’s good for them.

I have always tried to do that, although it has not always been possible when family members were away for many varied reasons.

I read about tulsi tea in your latest email and it sounds quite beneficial. I’ll see if it’s available here. I’d like to try it.

Love, Ella

Thanks as always, Ella, for your regular missives. Yes, find that tea. I think you will enjoy it immensely. 

We certainly come from a culture of feeding others – the rich farm tradition of putting on an extra plate. I am so glad to have all our Western Wyoming blood running in my veins. And then add it to the Iowa Rawson traditions and you could say that I am just following my deep-seated instincts. 

Love, Julie


This is a great explanation of stages of plant health. It made me think of what you have modeled. I thought you would like the piece if not already in their orbit.

Thanks for pointing us toward the light!


Hi Renee, 

Thanks for sending this. I enjoyed the article. As we are right now in the frost realm, we are still spraying our remaining crops each week to see how we can dodge the frost as long as possible. We were happy to make it through last night with no damage to the Swiss chard, which we thought was for sure a goner. I think it is important to keep the management protocols going until the very end. We certainly have seen a lot more frost resistance improvement as the years have gone by. 


For Sale

French door refrigerator ( LMX25964**)

In good condition
Bottom freezer drawer is stuck otherwise works great
Up pick up $500 at Warwick/orange line
For more details call Shawnee at 978-355-2731

Fall CSA Share

Fall Share – sign up now

We still have room! We can take up to 100 fall shares and we have 76 in hand as we speak, so there is still room. We will be picking on Mondays for Gardner, Athol, Princeton, Holden and Barre. Wednesday pick up for Barre, Sutton, Worcester and Shrewsbury.  Our start on October 31. For the last week, all pick-ups will be on Monday, November 21. You can join here:

Reserve a Fall Share

Here are some of the beautiful greens you can expect with the fall share:


Meat birds available for sale

Photo credit: Alexandre Chiacchio

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

Old Layers Available November 30

These old gals make a phenomenal chicken stock and the price is right – just $15. We slaughter on November 30 and will have them available for sale that day from 1-4 pm. No giblets. You can order them here:


Now is a good time to order your Thanksgiving turkey

They are going fast! There are now only 24 birds left. The birds are out there growing like weeds on our luscious pasture, certified organic feed and a regular treat of comfrey. Our turkeys are renowned as the tastiest and juiciest birds that will ever grace your Thanksgiving table. Birds are slaughtered the Monday before Thanksgiving (November 21) and are available for pick up on Tuesday, the 22nd from 1-6 pm and Wednesday, the 23rd from 8am – noon.

Photo credit: Alexandre Chiacchio

Limited supply of lard available now

We have some of our 2022 lard available. It won’t be ready again until early 2023. Still $20/quart. Stop by after checking in for a time, or order it online and we will ship.


Working Shareholders Always Welcome

Yes, you can still add yourself to the MHOF workforce. Come any M, W or F from 8-12 and stay for lunch. We always have a great time. Solange from Rwanda was our guest last Thursday. What a treat!

Making rows for garlic planting this upcoming Tuesday

Volunteer at MHOF

Farm Doin’s

It has been a busy, but increasingly chilled out two weeks since we spoke last. The frost came and came and came and came, but no new crops have been lost after the initial killing of tulsi, squash and tomatoes. We have been preserving, working on the garage, prepping for garlic planting, cleaning up our fertility supplies and storing, moving all of our stored produce from the barn to the root cellar and basement living room. October is a beautiful month. The leaves are really falling now and soon we will be putting those aside…

Skippy and Dingo hunting for voles (they have been taking out parsley roots) under the mulch


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