“Live for the things that are in front of you right now.”
— Jason Prall, Human Longevity Project
As Jason noted after his extensive travel around the world visiting and studying centurions, those people who live and work in close community in touch with nature each day, using their bodies in the sunshine (and when the weather isn’t so nice), can live almost effortlessly in the present.
It is more of a stretch in our modern world where we are bombarded by technology sometimes 24/7 to live in this peaceful way, but it is possible. This quote above is my guide this week as I enjoy the vicissitudes of January weather and the community of our farm. It is a reminder to turn off the noise and tap into the essence of the gift of life that we are given each day.It is a reminder to turn off the noise and tap into the essence of the gift of life that we are given each day.
And don’t forget to watch the January sunsets. They are astoundingly beautiful.
Farm Videos From Last Week
Videographer seems to have been on vacation this week…
Inspiring people in my life this week
Cara and Michael – It is always inspiring for me to spend time with young farmers who have a vision and mission to raise high quality food and do it in concert with nature. Jack and I were lucky enough to be invited over for lunch on Sunday with Cara and Michael. They are working rented land and aren’t sure if owning their own farm will be in their future or not. Despite that, they are putting everything they have into this land. In my opinion, they are true stewards of our earth.
Aunt Ella – We share a very important and very troubled ancestor, her mother (my mom’s mom) and my grandma. When daughter Ellen had a disturbing ancestral session and Grandma came up, she called me and I checked in with Ella to get her viewpoint of life with Grandma. What I received was a factual and compassionate account with no frills, no holds barred, and no self-pity. Ella Rae Murphy started publishing books when she was 79 and there will finally be eleven books when she publishes “Odyssey Completed.” She’s currently working on “Odyssey Ongoing” which will be out next October. “Odyssey Completed” will detail in fictional format the lives of our Wyoming and Idaho ancestors. Would that I will be so productive, coherent, cogent and calm when I am 92.
CSA Updates This Week
I am elated that folks continue to join the 2023 CSA in swift order. January is such a heavy expense month, that if we can keep the borrowing from home finances to nil, we can be off on a good footing. Never too early to sign up!
The prices are in place for 2023 now. In order to keep up with rapidly rising costs of supplies, fertility, machine parts, etc. we did raise our share prices. And we made a couple of changes –
Sliding scale – For those of you who want to support a more affordable share for others, you can pay the top of the range. And for those who are of more limited finances, feel free to choose a lower number.
Delivery/handling fee – Trying to make our PayPal options as manageable as possible, we have decided to fold delivery/handling into the share price.
Here are the rates for 2023
Summer large – $750-$850
Summer medium – $550-$650
Summer small – $425-$525
Fall – $170
Summer large – $700
Summer medium – $500
Summer small – $400
Fall – $160
SNAP customers reach out to Julie to set up a payment plan.
Meat for Sale
We have some cuts for sale. All we have left is roasts and regular style ribs. Come on by soon to avoid disappointment. Lard is sold out for the year.
2022 Meat Chickens
We also have 3 or so chickens from our August batch.
Working Shareholders Always Welcome
Though we have always counted on our working shareholders to meet the labor needs around here, they have become more essential to accomplishing our work each week. Joining this team assures you a warm place in the MHOF community while also giving you a weekly excuse to stretch your muscles.
Friday it was just the working shareholders and me because neither Jonathan nor Clare were present. What a blast we had. Working shareholders in January and February are welcome Monday and Friday mornings from 8-12. Come at 7 for breakfast and stay afterward for lunch.
Videos from the Outside World
I missed the boat in not giving you a heads up in time to listen to the Dr. Talks Regenerative Health Summit. They might rerun it though, so you can check out 40 renowned health professionals talking about cutting edge science –
Ways to Donate to MHOF/MHSC
Many Hands Organic Farm
We were approached by one of our customers regarding ways to invest in the farm. After some thought, we decided that we have one smaller need – a bale chopper, and one larger need – a new winter chicken house. Today I want to talk about the bale chopper. We spend many hours trying to get our mulch around our plants. One of the biggest barriers is the size of the hay or straw or leaves, especially when we are trying to mulch difficult crops like onions and leeks. Jonathan did a bunch of research and found the bale/leaf chopper of our dreams. It will run off of the PTO on the tractor and can take both leaves and hay or straw. Our investor has pledged $1000 and we need about $2700 more to complete the purchase. I promise copious onions and leeks this year once we have this in place! If you would like to help, you can contact either Jack or me at farm@mhof..net.
Many Hands Sustainability Center – our farm non-profit
Many kind folks have been making an annual donation to the MHSC (read about it here – https://mhof.net/many-hands-sustainability-center/) since 2007 through the present. This goes into our general operations of the MHSC and usually helps pay for hiring an outstanding Stetson School student. Recently the MHSC has helped with funding the publication of this newsletter which utilizes significant resources to publish each week. If you are interested in donating to special programs that help make our high quality food available to folks with lesser means, you are welcome to donate to these two programs below.
We have been donating food to this elegantly simple project in Worcester whereby four refrigerators are stocked with fresh produce from volunteers, and those in need shop for free at these locations. Last year MHSC supporters donated $6700 to this cause
SNAP recipients are encouraged to use SNAP and Healthy Incentive Program funds to purchase a MHOF CSA share. We work with around 20 of those customers each year and provide a slightly discounted share to these folks. A total of $1000 in donations will help us defray the costs of providing this assistance to these valued shareholders.
Circle of Song Starts Spring Session on Thursday, January 19, 2023
The Circle of Song has been singing together for 22 years. We are a community chorus of singers from our teens into our 90’s that sing in four-part harmony. Presently we are blessed with the magnificent piano skills of Cailan McClure to accompany us.
Though often performing an eclectic mix of music, Circle of Song has chosen a theme of “show tunes” this season. Our lineup is as follows:
- Highlights from Phantom of the Opera
- Singing in the Rain
- You Will Be Found
- The Impossible Dream
- Old Man River
- Corner of the Sky
- Pilgrim’s Chorus
- Sabbath Prayer
All singers are welcome, both the musically trained, and those who sing by ear. Strong members of each vocal part – soprano, alto, tenor and baritone – are there to support the timid. And challenge abounds for those who would like to take on a solo.
Rehearsals are every Thursday evening from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. Most rehearsals will take place at Many Hands Organic Farm, 411 Sheldon Road, Barre. With some regularity the chorus will meet at the Barre Town Hall, the location of the eventual concert, scheduled for Saturday evening, May 20 at 7 pm.
Interested singers can just show up at 411 Sheldon Road, Barre at 7 pm on Thursday, January 19. Or call or email for more information to Julie Rawson, COS co-director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-257-1192. There is a sliding scale annual membership fee of $40-$70/year. All are welcome.
The week started off with a bang and 15 folks at lunch. Before eating, however, we were able to make up a couple of pig heads into stock, cut up a bunch more wood from dead trees we had taken down, spread wood chips around 15 or so fruit trees and get started on our cat guards (they love to defecate in our flower boxes). These are in progress. These flower box flowers make absolutely no money for the farm, but they keep me very happy!
Clare and I spent most of our “free time” this past week, Monday afternoon and all-day Thursday, poring over our foliar and drench fertility recipes for 2023. We got them all organized and have a weekly spray/drench calendar in the schedule.
Jonathan came on Tuesday and started to repair our bathtub area in the downstairs bathroom.
Friday it was just me, Leslie, Laurie, Matt and Jill. We did up processing two more pig heads, they helped me get all the veggies prepped for the NOFA workshop and got some spinach and cilantro planted in the yellow and blue hoophouses.
Saturday I had the time of my life running two workshops at the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference – one on best farming practices, and a cooking and preserving workshop complete with soup and salad that we prepared.