The Thanksgiving Tradition

In my observation, Thanksgiving is the most practiced tradition in the country. For instance, the heaviest travel day of the year is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, the day right after Thanksgiving. It is a big day, and the lead up to it, at Many Hands, because we have raised turkeys for almost 4 decades. Thus, we are a large part of many people’s Thanksgiving tradition. On a personal level, we have been hosting the Kittredge family for Thanksgiving for almost 45 years. That has included crowds as large as forty.

Along came Covid, and one could go on for hours about all the ways that Covid has changed us, our work, our social lives, our health, our socio-economic status, for example. It certainly had a striking impact on the Thanksgiving holiday. Although our sales of turkeys remained strong in 2020 and 2021, so many of our customers were anguished over diminished numbers of guests or no guests at all these years. Our whole farm family went down with Covid right in time for Thanksgiving last year, so we had no guests and instead slept most of the day.

This year it seems that much of the world is coming out of Covid consciousness as Thanksgiving comes in 3 short days. Yet there are many who are taking the more conservative, “better safe than sorry” approach and keeping to much smaller groups of people. I have struggled for a couple of months over the fact that most of the Kittredges won’t be here this year, some because of other opportunities, and some because of Covid. My idea of a good time includes putting on yet one more spread for lots of people, and it was clear by September that our long-held and almost sacred tradition was still not returning in 2022. And now it will be three years that this tradition has been broken. It may never return in its old format. And such is life, with reality as we know it ever changing. We of course have the option of cursing our fate, or moving on in creative ways. There will be some Kittredges coming, however, and we also reached out to three foreign students from WPI to join us this year. We are enthusiastic about having representation from Brazil and Rwanda at our table.

I want to talk about the downside, which is sometimes ugly, of traditions, where most people have family or somewhere to go – notably Thanksgiving and Christmas – but there are many who have no one. We are all aware of the stories of suicides, and of the forgotten who suffer on these holidays. My Christian guilt pains me at these times, as I know that I am not doing as much as I could to reach out to the isolated or lonely in my sphere. I have high regard for those of us who intentionally care for the lonely elders, the folks who are institutionalized, the folks on the streets, to let them know that they are valued human beings. This outreach and support are particularly needed around holidays and we as a society are fortunate to have such conscientious and loving individuals in our midst.

Maybe next year I will find a way to be more inclusive of those without a place to go for Thanksgiving. It is a good goal to set.

In whatever manner you spend this Thanksgiving holiday, I hope it is a blessed one.

Educational Resources

Energy and Equity by Ivan Illich

“Participatory democracy demands low-energy technology, and free people must travel the road to productive social relations at the speed of a bicycle.”
-Ivan Illich

Thank you, Laurie, for this thought-provoking article.

Health Resources

Root Causes, Rapid Results

This free series might be gone by the time that you see it. It is 7 days of expert interviews on brain health, diabetes, asthma, cancer, fibromyalgia, EMF, and other interesting topics. I have found it valuable to sign up for these free courses to garner interesting tidbits about improved health management. Though you might miss this one, you can get on email lists to receive the next series that will invariably come your way. I learned this week that building strong legs goes a long way toward strengthening your brain function.

Here are some folks you might want to check into from this seminar – Rodger Murphee, Heather Sandison, Beverly Rates, Robin Ray Green, Nathan Crane, Ryan Sternagel, Evan H. Hirsch, Sinclair  Kennally.

Farm Videos From Last Week

We keep the girls in until 11 am because the alternative is finding eggs all over the farm. Being let out each morning is the highlight of our chickens’ days. Then they can focus completely on harassing us and “helping” us with whatever task we are about.

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Time is getting short for the turkeys

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CSA Updates This Week

CSA Crops This Week

This is the fourth and final week of the fall CSA

All pick ups are happening on Monday, November 21 at all sites

  • Leek – just 1!
  • Parsley
  • Chard
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Lacinato kale or collards
  • Celeriac

These are great in stews or soups. They have the most amazing root system

  • Carrots

  • Lettuce
  • 2 Asians – Tatsoi and mizuna
  • Turnips

  • Cauliflower
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Please bring your bags back to your sites, and take your last share home in your own bag so that you can drop off your final share bag. If you forget to do this, you can bring your bags back over the next week to your site. Thanks for taking care of this. We will be sending a final evaluation out in the next couple of weeks.

Join the 2023 Summer Share Early

Not sure if we will raise the price for the shares next year, but between now and December 31 you can pay 2022 prices. This keeps us in good cash flow as we go into the winter. You can follow this link –

Reserve a 2023 Summer CSA Share


Meat Birds Available for Sale

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


Working Shareholders Always Welcome

Yes, you can still add yourself to the MHOF workforce. Starting the first full week of December we are hosting working shareholders on M and F mornings with a modest pay check of 1 dozen eggs, a quart of frozen apple or pear sauce and greens from the hoop houses while they last.

Volunteer at MHOF

Farm Doin’s

I was elated on Sunday when the Barre DPW’s Jason Pimental dropped off four loads of wood chips for our winter mulching enjoyment!

Focus this week was on getting last week’s fall share picked and then moving on to picking today’s share. The temperature plummeted finally, to where it should be in late November with lows at night in the lower 20’s. We are still able to keep healthy the greens that are in the hoop houses, under two layers of row cover, but field crops have pretty much ground to a halt. Thanks to Wednesday’s crew who picked the rest of the share that we couldn’t get to on Monday and Tuesday. It was raining lightly the entire time, though spirits were high.

Clare washing chard on the back of the truck as our underground water system is now shut down and we do everything from the hydrant

We used up all of our storage containers and moved to garbage bags for packing the kale

Mucking around in the celeriac patch

Some of our proud crew members after completing the picking on Wednesday

The pigs received another move after only 5 days in their new location. They completely plowed up their rather large paddock. Thursday we went through and smoothed out the soil and put down some rye as a cover crop.

We took a few hours on Thursday and Friday to put away a 5-cord load of firewood, and then on the cleaning up the barn for the big turkey sale this week.

Jonathan and John put the last nails in the garage on Monday and Jonathan moved full force into the shed renovation project which he and Jack have been working on. While Clare and I, with the help of Paula and Leslie, are doing fall house cleaning, then Jonathan, Jack, Stu and Luke made great progress on the shed. Luke is here this weekend, and then after a 3-month stint in CA, will be back and on staff in March.

Jonathan and Luke finishing up replacing the rotting back wall of the shed at the top of the driveway.

Our focus this week is getting turkeys slaughtered and sold, and running our big end of season sale on Tuesday from 1-6. Here are items that we will be selling. Even if you didn’t order a turkey, you are welcome to stop by. Come early as we will run out of most everything sometime on Tuesday. Turkey sales continue on Wednesday from 8-noon. Sorry, no reservations. First come, first served.

Items for Sale Tuesday, November 22,
1-6 pm

Eggs – $8/dozen


  • Frozen sliced peaches – $6/lb. sold in variable size packages
  • Dried peaches – $12/8 oz.
  • Grape Juice – $12/quart
  • Apple juice – $10/quart


  • Garlic powder – $10/2 oz.
  • Kale – $3/bunch
  • Arugula – $3/bunch
  • Parsley – $3/bunch
  • Lettuce – $3/head
  • Beets – $3/lb.
  • Asian greens – $3/head
  • Cauliflower – $3/head
  • Carrots – $3/bunch
  • Canned tomatoes – $8/quart

Frozen Meat

  • Roaster chickens at around 7- 8 lbs. – $7.50/lb.
  • Old layers – $15/bird
  • Lard – $20/quart
  • Pork stock – $7.50/quart

Personal Care Products (not certified organic)

  • Comfrey salve – $10/2 oz.
  • Hemp salve – $10/2 oz.
  • Calendula salve – $10/2 oz.
  • Lavender soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Peppermint soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Tincture of yellow dock – $12/2 oz.
  • Tincture of dandelion – $12/2 oz.
  • Tincture of burdock – $12/2 oz.
  • Tincture of holy basil – $12/2 oz.
  • Tincture of Japanese Knotweed – $12/2 oz.- (from the Farm School in Athol)


Quick Links

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