When I woke up Friday morning, it was to the sound of birds. At this time of year it gets louder earlier and earlier, until around the Solstice when it quiets down. I guess that by then the mating is complete and everyone is busy taking care of the family. And that evening, while lying in bed, Jack and I enjoyed a show of the 3 little kittens racing back and forth across our bedroom floor, stopping at times to engage in arm-to-arm combat. On Saturday, Tim, Molly and Sam and I raced to plant the 500 sweet potato slips that arrived late Friday afternoon. I am struck by the incredible abundance and hopefulness of nature as in her wisdom, she proliferates with the self-assurance of the new and the energetic.

And there is the drawing to a close of life that is constantly with us too. Our niece called in tears Friday afternoon with the news that Jack’s oldest sibling Nancy, 89, is rapidly declining. As the Kittredge family gathers to say goodbye to this matriarch, I am reminded that with birth there will always be death; with the promise of the young and the confident, there follows the time-honored and the wise, each in their own season and providing their particular richness to the fabric of life.

May we, as we honor and support the new and the young, integrate how the old and knowledgeable have enriched our lives, while providing them the care they need to proceed to the next step of their journey.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

It has to go to Clare this week. Many of us worked overtime this past week, mostly in pretty high heat and sunshine to plant our summer and winter squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. All of this in a four-day week and the beginning of the CSA. Thursday, Maria, Clare and I raced to get beds prepared for melons, carrots and sweet potatoes, and Friday afternoon, between managing our fertility recipes and impending thunderstorms we finally got to planting by 2 pm. By then the rain had started, but it was welcome as the crops have been sitting the last few days awaiting some moisture. Stu, Leslie and Clare and I planted the carrots and melons in the pouring rain, and then returned to get Clare loaded up for her CSA delivery to Warwick. She has to leave each day at 3 pm sharp to start the pick up of her girls from school, and asked what time it was. I noted that it was 12 minutes of 3. She said, “Well, let’s get those Aunt Molly’s (husk cherries) planted while it is raining, but I have to leave the field by 2:58.” So, we did, and she drove out by 3 pm. Every day I learn about going above and beyond from Clare.

CSA News Week 2

We have shut down the CSA, as we received a big influx of members at the end, and are confident we will make budget (a first in many years!). However, if you must have a share, contact me, and we can figure out how much you owe. We were all elated by appearance of the much hoped for rain on Friday. The better news is that it will be rainy all week, and we can do a lot of planting and transplanting. One night of strong rains really transformed the landscape, and all the vegetables that were waiting, started to flourish.

Best guess on what will be in your share bags this week

  • Full sized Lettuce – 3 for larges, 2 for mediums and 1 for smalls
  • I think we will have enough cilantro to go around for everyone
  • I am hoping we will have some radishes or turnips for everyone
  • There will be bok choi – yes, it has flea beetle damage, but can stand in as a cooking green, augmented by the remainder of the Chinese Cabbage – you will receive one or the other.
  • Nice looking spinach
  • Tasty Swiss chard
  • Kale is back – the rain brought forth its bounty
  • Oregano
  • Reliable green onions
  • chives are a great garnish for salads and such

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

This week we picked up Marissa Gabriel, who moved to Barre this past April and who has a fair amount of vegetable experience. We were glad to quickly integrate her into our farming fold!

We could use another working shareholder each on Wednesday and Friday 8-12.  It is not too late to join us.

Marissa cutting rhubarb

Jill and Jack are back – previously Sunday chore personnel

Resources from the outer world

Happiness is probably my favorite topic. My dad was always happy of demeanor. He drove fast between his farmer veterinary clients, was constantly telling jokes (some of them lewd, yes), and could chat up almost anyone. I have always aspired to have his Joie de vivre. Enjoy this podcast with many pearls of wisdom from Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar titled The Science of Human Happiness
https://theenergyblueprint.com/keys-to-happiness/?inf_contact_key=225e408c24654f7b2f580cbdeb3c3096ac3ab1b4137982eb0658e0edc22b6525. If you really want to go deep you can sign up for his year long happiness course. If you do, be sure to use the code BLUEPRINT to save $500 off the $3900 price tag.

If you haven’t yet signed up for Ellen’s Healthy Bites – daughter Ellen’s monthly newsletter, I encourage you to do so. Here is some valuable information about butyrate
Tending to the Garden of Your Gut – Ellen Kittredge
“When I first read Candide in high school I was struck by the recommendation made at the end. After his many adventures around the world, what did Voltaire recommend? For Candide to go home to “tend to his own garden.”
Perhaps it’s my farm upbringing, but I always took this to be a literal recommendation as well as a figurative and metaphorical one.
More recently I’ve come to think of the body (and the soul) as a garden.”  . . . .
Read more here and sign up – https://conta.cc/3WSLk84

Mushrooms for Sale

Mushrooms went crazy this week and we have these nice shiitakes for sale at $15/lb. CSA members can order them with their shares and send a check for payment. Local CSA members can drop off the $15 on the kitchen table with your name on the check, or a note wrapped around cash. Others, can contact me to order.

Maria picking mushrooms

Ways to Donate to MHSC

Worcester Community Fridges

We are now providing 14 summer shares to these folks and only need $1300 more to provide 14 fall shares to the Worcester Community Fridges.

If you would like to donate for shares you can make a check out to the Many Hands Sustainability Center and send to 411 Sheldon Road, Bare, MA 01005 or make a donation on line here:

Workshops at MHOF

  • MHOF vegetable production intensive–we are going to cancel this one due to insufficient sign ups – folks must be just too busy!
  • The Permaculture Farm and Agroforestry hedgerows – we will postpone this one until fall as Jono is too stretched right now.
  • Cooking with your CSA share – July 22; Clare and Julie to do this one. -noon with complimentary lunch; $25-$75
  • Food preservation– September 16, Julie, Clare and Jack; 10-2 with pot luck; $50-$100

Register here

Farm Doin’s

As expected, the CSA took up most of our time on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. As a farmer, I breathe a sigh of relief as we finish this first week. There aren’t that many crops yet, and the choices grow slowly in June. And that is part of the seasonality reality that is so fun to work with.

I had great hopes of doing more weeding and mulching, but we effectively were only able to get the summer crops planted this week – tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers, melons, and some carrots, with sweet potatoes going in on Saturday. These crops use a substantial amount of land however, and we spent a lot of time watering in. I had a restful late Wednesday afternoon with my hose and Carl Sandburg’s book on Abraham Lincoln on my headset as I rewatered squash, tomatoes and cucumbers, tulsi and basil. With Friday’s very thorough rain and much in the forecast, we are good for rain right now, and for this I am very grateful. We did get two truck loads of hay picked up on Monday – all cut hay is collected.

An errant crimson clover came up through a hole in a tarp – otherwise the soil was soft, moist and covered with worms when we pulled up the tarps

Planting tomatoes

Clare finds a potato bug

Planting melons right before the rain started on Friday