Achievement is not the goal – alignment is. How would I like to live? Experience growth, well-being and fulfillment as we grow. Forget certainty as it stifles growth. Replace it with curiosity. And don’t go it alone. Form deliberate and conscious habits that support daily growth. Be direct and inclusive. How can I serve? Provide inspiration and influence so that others can rise. Ease is not the goal. Growth is the goal.
Above are notes that I gleaned from the introduction to this fascinating book on the second read through. I consume a lot of books in a year and this one is a stand out. Each chapter is chock full of great advice, lists, prompts and examples for the person who wants to perform at his or her top potential. I will be working with this information for weeks to come.
Lately I ponder what is to be of the future of MHOF with me now at 70 and Jack’s contributions confined to non-physical ones, though still very essential. After reading this book over the past two weeks or so I realized that I am called to use my special talents of engaging others to really build out the “Many Hands” of this operation to allow it to be noteworthy into the future. Watch later this fall (when the physical challenge of the season has abated some) for an exciting game plan for 2024.
I recommend this book for those who are or aspire to be high performers and want to get to the next level of coherence with your purpose here on this earth.
Expressing Gratitude this Week
It has to go to John Wilson this week. In any one week here at the farm, a number of extraordinary folks come and leave their mark. Special gratitude goes to John because he made a new door for our outdoor layer house that was coming off its hinges. Doors on our chicken and turkey houses are a point of much concern as they get a lot of wear and tear, need to be easy to open but also need to stay closed to keep the birds in. Broken and misaligned doors cause us a lot of lost time each year with chicken break outs and unnecessary roundups on our very busy days. John always does the finest work. Thank you, John.
John’s new door
Videos this week
Preserving summer squash
Getting the meat birds lined up
Planting summer squash
15 for lunch on Wednesday
CSA News Week 10
Here is the line up for this week.
Best guess on what will be in your share bags this week
- Basil or Tulsi
- Chard or cabbage
We finally came to the end of the green onions. They were an amazing crop. Next stop for onions will be in late August or early September, in the dried down phase, on an irregular basis. The chard is suffering from deer pressure and from the unrelenting rain, so we will take a break this week. The beets have been producing non-stop for several weeks now – it must be the extra love and potassium sulfate and North Country Pro Gro that we gave them long ago when they were showing signs of stress. Basil and tulsi both look good, and we are heartened by the fact that the basil is not developing downy mildew, despite the incredible wet. These are receiving a special basil foliar this year for the first time. The arugula has suffered from a lot of flea beetle damage, though it tastes good. Flea beetles have been strong this season. Cukes and squash are hanging in there, though I can feel the wetness when I walk on the mulch. Some of the zucchini plants have imploded, but the yellow squashes are holding strong. There will be some cabbage some for some shares. And the kale holds strong, thankfully. We have tended carefully to that also with special sprays this year and extra Pro Gro after the torrential rains of a couple of weeks ago. The lettuce is starting to show a bit of the late July blues with some bolting, but I have never had a late July without that! And the parsley holds strong in its leaf mulch. We will see how the turnips fare – I haven’t really looked closely at this succession of them. Green beans have been a real joy for us this year. The first batch of bush beans are waning a bit, but the pole beans are starting to come into their own. And we have a second planting of bush beans ready to start, probably this week sometime. Green beans have been difficult for us for a few years, so we are happy that they are doing well – also with a special targeted spray for their success.
Emails from readers
Please remember that if you write to me, your comments may end up in the newsletter with your name on them, unless you expressly ask me not to share your thoughts or your name. Thanks, Julie
My voting decisions are based on candidates who support my version of democracy, which means that all people are treated equally and with respect.
I have followed Kennedy extensively and I know a great deal about his positions. I have many concerns that will prevent me from supporting his candidacy but the largest concern is anti-semitism. As you know, he made a remark recently that asserted the Covid-19 virus was targeted to Caucasians and Blacks, while Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese were more immune. Although he later claimed that he was misunderstood, his comments were recorded on video. He said what he said. Perhaps he feels that he did not mean to sound anti-semitic or racist but that doesn’t fly with me. He said these comments, they are recorded on video, so it either shows anit-semitic feelings that he Doesn’t want to admit or it shows that he doesn’t understand how what he says can illustrate these feelings. Either way, I am not interested in a President who is that unaware at a time when anti-semitic behavior is increasing in America and throughout the world. I am Jewish. If you are not Jewish, you might not have noticed the increasing anti-semitism in the United States. Check out this credible source from NPR quotingstats from the ADL, a national organization that tracks anti-semitism
(https://www.npr.org/2023/03/23/1165737405/antisemitism-statistics-report-2022-anti-defamation-league). In a recent Twitter vote, the question was asked: Do you believe Jews disproportionately control the world institutions, banks, & are waging war on white, western society? A total of 94,000 people voted and 49% agreed with this statement. To me, that is a shocking statistic. From my viewpoint, this is an increasingly dangerous time to be Jewish in America and I am not interested in voting for any candidates who do not understand the concept of anti-semitism.
In addition, while I admire his previous work in environmental causes, his beliefs in general are not supported by evidence or facts. He told Musk that antidepressants are to blame for school shootings. Where is the data to support this claim? He claimed that chemicals in the water supply can turn children transgender. Where is the data to support this claim? He stated that AIDS may not be caused by HIV and yet scientists have already proven this as fact and they found medicine to help. He offers no fact-based, credible evidence for any of these assertions. I approached him with an open mind, I listened to him, I have read his comments, and I do not see someone who will lead the country in the kind of democracy that I believe in. I agree that the election system in America needs a major overhaul and one approach can be citizen-based, where people demand the following: omit the electoral college; restrict campaign donations to just $100 per person to prevent money and corporations from controlling candidates; limit the election season to 6 months. Why not? I can make a decision for President within six months and this limits the amount of fake advertising that we will be exposed to and it helps American citizens become less exhausted with the constant barrage of information.
Finally, we all need to think very carefully about who we will support in the next election. It’s going to be a critical one. America is walking a fine line between democracy and facism today. Look at Florida as a prime example and think back to the history of Nazi Germany, where they banned books, re-wrote history in textbooks for children so that the “Aryan” race was presented in a positive light, encouraged hateful feelings and actions against a small minority of citizens (Jews), which resulted in violence. We are seeing these actions being taken in Florida right now, with banning books, re-writing history books to make slavery sound as something that was positive for Black Americans and less negative on White enslavers, and targeting and encouraging hateful actions against transgender and gay residents. Florida is not alone. There is a growing list of states who are pursuing similar actions.
This is not my kind of democracy.
Thanks for your concern about our interest in RFK Jr. I would like to respond to you and run this exchange in our newsletter. Let me respond first to the anti-semitism charge. As I understand it, RFK Jr. was quoting a peer-reviewed paper on bio-weapons. It is here https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32664879/ along with many other papers on the genetic susceptibility of COVID. If you do not know that some diseases have a component of genetic susceptibility you should check that link and scan the papers there affirming that fact. I would cite sickle cell anemia as a well-known example. It is also, unfortunately, clear from history that such susceptibilities can be used for targeting bio-weapons against certain “enemy” peoples. You likely have learned about smallpox and its use against indigenous Americans by the invading Europeans.
I watched the video of RFK Jr.’s conversation at the New York dinner several times and listened for some hint of anti-semitism. Of course his voice is a little hard to understand but here is what I heard him say: “We (America) have put hundreds of millions of dollars into ethnically targeted microbes. The Chinese have done the same thing. In fact there is an argument that COVID-19 is ethnically targeted, that COVID-19 attacks certain races disproportionately.,, that COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people and the people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”
It sounded to me that he was accusing American and Chinese of this targeting, not
Jews. If he had said that those more immune are Chinese and Abyssinians would you have felt he was ‘anti-Abyssinian”? Exactly what DNA details would make some groups more easily targeted than others I don’t know, but I do presume that anyone wanting to target microbes as bio-weapons would be collecting DNA from as wide a selection of groups as possible. I think such targeting is wrong, just as is developing bio-weapons at all. That is what deserves the most ire, it seems to me.
As an aside, I came across an interview of RFK Jr. with Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley
Boteach — author and television host — who says he disagrees with RFK Jr.’s
comments on vaccines. https://www.zenger.news/2023/07/19/rabbi-shmuley-boteach-stands-up-for-robert-f-kennedy-jr-against-accusations/ “But I equally disagree with this disgusting lie that he’s an anti-semite,.. Bobby Kennedy is not in any way an anti-semite… The reason I have stood up for him, and will continue to, is I cannot stand when people are falsely labeled anti-semites because that degrades the whole term.”
On RFK Jr.’s other connections that you mention: anti-depressants and school
shootings, chemicals and gender dysphoria, and AIDs and HIV, you accuse him of
offering no credible evidence. I think you have not looked very far and do him a
disservice. Here are some citations on anti-depressants https://www.cchrint.org/pdfs/violence-report.pdf , also here https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0015337 chemicals and hormones https://popularrationalism.substack.com/p/altered-development-in-humans-and also here https://popularrationalism.substack.com/p/fact-checking-cnn-is-there-really , and HIV/AIDs https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2644642/
also here https://www.verywellhealth.com/hiv-does-not-cause-aids-in-the-way-we-thought-48624 . I found them without much trouble. Of course studies which conflict with mainstream media don’t show up on the front pages, but they are available to those who want to look. I can’t vouch for them all, but you should make up your own mind after looking at them.
We need to think out of the box when facing the number of problems ‘advanced’
countries have. Why am I no longer seeing the kind of country I was born in? The
phenomenal growth of obesity, shootings, autism, divorce, auto-immune disease,
gender dysphoria, cancers, and a dozen other ills may have something to do with our food, water, drugs, cell phones, plastics, and destruction of nature. RFK Jr. is the only one even raising these issues.
So, S, I took longer than I hoped. I’m not sure that amending the Constitution, limiting campaign donations and shortening campaigns are good ideas, but we should talk about such things and see if they can help us do a better job on elections. Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts – Jack
John Wilson (our Monday working shareholder master carpenter) and I have a chewing gum investigation going on. He wrote up a treatise on it the other day and sent it along. Presently I am chewing the Jawliner brand and am surely getting strong jaws!
From John –
Discussion of chewing gum alternatives
My starting point in this was James Nestor’s Breath, which was published in 2020. In his examination of why most of us do not breathe well, he explores our poor jaw development. Our jaws don’t get enough exercise with our processed food. Most of us have smaller jaws than we would with a pre-industrial diet. One way to rectify this is by vigorous chewing. There are stem cells produced as a result, even in adulthood, and Nestor claims, even by people in their seventies. How much chewing and how much growth are not known, and likely vary due to biochemical individuality. However, in the course of a year, Nestor, presumably in his forties, reports gaining about two pennies worth of bone mass in his face.
He recommends chewing a hard gum, and found the Turkish gum Falim to be a good chew. Falim doesn’t contain any sugar, but does have BHT as a preservative. While BHT is approved by both the FDA and the EU, there is some evidence that it is a carcinogen in high doses. Estimating the risk of developing cancer from chewing Falim gum an hour or two daily is not feasible. Does it dissolve out in a few minutes? How toxic is it? Am I susceptible? Questions we ask about any number of substances that are ‘generally regarded as safe’ by the FDA, but may not be safe to everyone, or may be use dependent. Best to avoid using it, or minimizing its use.
The other concern with gum is the gum base itself. Manufacturers are not required to divulge what substances constitute their gum base, and the FDA allows any mixture of some 46 chemicals to be used. Gum labeling always just lists ‘gum base’. Gum base, up through the 19th century was generally a natural substance, usually sap from a tree.
Many cultures had a chewing gum derived from a plant. Today, all gums use synthesized bases. Butadiene-styrene, vinyl acetate, polyethylene, and paraffin are common. They are all petroleum derived polymers. In rough terms, chewing gum today is chewing plastic.
Mastic gum is a natural organic alternative. It’s sometimes labeled Chios Mastiha. It is produced from the sap of the mastic plant, almost entirely on the Greek island of Chios. It is available from a number of suppliers. It comes as irregularly shaped whitish pieces. When chewed, it forms a chewable gum. It is chewy and firm, and maintains firmness for an extended time. Once removed from the mouth, it becomes brittle and is difficult to bring back to a chewable state. It is not inexpensive, costing around $1 per chew, depending on how many ‘droplets’ are used. One brand I’ve used is Krinos Mastic Gum, costing about $10 for 0.6 ounces. That’s more than a week’s supply for me. Note that mastic has also had medicinal uses when taken internally going back to the Greeks. There are capsules on the market today that are regarding as helpful for digestive issues. Some research concludes that it kills the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers.
From the Wikipedia page “Chewing Gum”:
Chewing gum is a soft, cohesive substance designed to be chewed without being
swallowed. Modern chewing gum is composed of gum base, sweeteners, softeners/
plasticizers, flavors, colors, and, typically, a hard or powdered polyol coating. Its texture is reminiscent of rubber because of the physical-chemical properties of its polymer, plasticizer, and resin components, which contribute to its elastic-plastic, sticky, chewy characteristics.
From Wikipedia page “Gum Base”:
Gum base is the non-nutritive, non-digestible, water-insoluble masticatory delivery
system used to carry sweeteners, flavors, and any other substances in chewing gum
and bubble gum. It provides all the basic textural and masticatory properties of gum. The actual composition of a gum base is usually a trade secret. The FDA allows 46 different chemicals under the umbrella of “gum base”. The chemicals are posted on their website. These chemicals are grouped into the following categories.
Polymers such as butadiene-styrene, vinyl acetate, polyethylene, paraffin, and
petroleum waxes are the most commonly used gum bases on the market today. They are petroleum-derived polymers which are designed to maximize elasticity and incorporate other components of the gum base as well as flavors and sweeteners in their chemical matrix.
From the Wikipedia page “Chewing Gum”:
Concern has arisen about the possible carcinogenicity of the vinyl acetate (acetic acid ethenyl ester) used by some manufacturers in their gum bases. Currently, the ingredient can be hidden in the catch-all term “gum base”. The Canadian government at one point classified the ingredient as a “potentially high hazard substance.” However, on 31 January 2010, the Government of Canada’s final assessment concluded that exposure to vinyl acetate is not considered to be harmful to human health. This decision under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) was based on new information received during the public comment period, as well as more recent information from the risk assessment conducted by the European Union.
Mastic gum is the sticky resin from an evergreen shrub found on the Greek island of Chios. It is a traditional remedy for wound healing, pain and gut disorders. Modern research has found possible benefits for dyspepsia and peptic ulcers, while other benefits to heart disease, diabetes, oral health, and wound healing have only limited clinical evidence to support them. Mastic gum is generally considered safe, but it may have drug interactions.
And from Scott Jiusto, our stellar Tuesday working shareholder who is a master with the hoe –
And here’s a beautiful song for the two of you, a testament to your love and strength, and a hope for farmers and all of us to keep on when things are really tough. And maybe the first in a new newsletter “Song of the Week” feature!
The video is grainy but the music is great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhXFzM6y-Xc
Working Shareholders Always Welcome
It is not too late to join us. We are also happy to host you in a one-off relationship. Donna Tizzano has come twice now.
Thank you for the update. I am looking forward to them. Roasting a chicken and then making a rich broth and soup is one of my favorite meals and my adult children still love it!! I assumed you cooked one of your hens for lunch yesterday which was fabulous. The entire morning was wonderful. I really appreciate the community/family you have built and how warm and welcoming you are.
I will see you on the 27th and will email you if I have a mon or fri off to come help, before then!
There is no question that our chickens are amongst the best tasting out there. We were talking about them today after chores and a volunteer noted that we go to such ends of physical exertion to make sure they move each day and have fresh pasture. There are 9 weeks where there is a fair amount of effort each day, and then we are blessed with fine meals all winter. It is a worthwhile investment. And it tickles us to know that we are improving our pasture and building healthy soil at the same time.
I am glad that you have so enjoyed your two mornings volunteering with us. We couldn’t make the farm work without volunteers like you because there is a tremendous amount of work to tend the crops, manage the animal chores, plant, weed, pick, pack, etc. We do try to make it fun for everyone, and I am daily grateful for the outpouring of volunteer effort that keeps us in business.
Hoping to see you again soon.
Donnamarie picking green beans
Ed Dane helped us get our mowed down early crop of broccoli tarped for another crop coming soon
And you never know when showing up as a volunteer might snag you a job. Seeing a very good thing, we immediately snapped up Lucas Gamache last week to help us for the rest of the summer with employment scheduled around his travelling baseball schedule. He came with his grandma, Marcia on Monday and started work on Tuesday.
Marcia and Lucas cutting arugula
Ruby was WOOFing with White Rabbit farm and came over to help on Wednesday
And finally, Thomas came over with Sam on Saturday and helped cut up squash for processing before heading out to do the Saturday animal chores. His presence was so appreciated now that we have 12 bird houses to move each day.
Now is a good time to order broilers for our August 27 slaughter date
The birds are now lined up for success in the back of our pond field heading east for a while then turning around and heading back over new ground to end up right by the road for us to load them. Jonathan has successfully cut the hay field between raindrops and the hay is dropped and adding extra support for the excess water absorption that is critical this year. Skippy and Dingo report for night watchdog patrol each night to keep the predators away. Dingo particularly looks forward to the ride out to the field in the back seat of the Subaru, aware that he is essential to the farm operation.
Dingo looking noble in the back seat of the Subaru
Dingo and Skippy settling in for a night of watch dogging
We offer hens at around 5 lbs. and cockerels at around 7 lbs. This is a one-time per year purchase. The birds are whole. We have one per week here at the farm. First, we roast it, then make chicken stock, have another major meal with that, and have a few meals that include chicken salad. It is the best chicken you will ever taste – guaranteed. Order via the link below.
Ways to Donate to MHSC
We are now providing 14 summer shares to these folks and only need $1000 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
Two more workshops coming up this fall
Food preservation– September 16, Julie, Clare and Jack; 10-2 with pot luck; $50-$100
Hedgerows for Food and Diversity; Agroforestry on Farms and Homesteads October 7, Jono Neiger to lead; 10-3 with pot luck; $50-$100
At the beginning of the week, it looked from the forecast that we would have lessened rain; however, we received a couple more downpours with up to 1 ¼ inches predicted for Saturday night (I write this on Saturday afternoon). Hopefully by publication time I will have written up a crop loss report for the Farm Service Agency for potential financial support. Still, our losses are light compared to the many farms that have been shut down by the rain this year. We are blessed.
We picked a lot of green beans and squash this week and also preserved the bounty for winter. Monday and Tuesday we were able to pull out the pea vines and replant the trellises to cucumbers and pole beans. After removing a large tarped area in the back of the north we planted summer squash, keeper beets, purple top turnips and rutabaga. We mowed down the residue from the spring onion beds in the pond field, sprayed them with lacto bacillus, Sea Shield and rejuvenate (both from AEA) and tarped them to prepare them for future crops. We also mowed down the first broccoli crop, treated it as above and tarped. On Thursday we finally got the Brussels sprouts weeded and then undersown with crimson clover, and we now have 4 carrot beds weeded and awaiting their future harvest. Friday we took a weeding foray into our peppers, which were lost in weeds and made some good progress. They reside in an area of the pond field garden that is very wet. Next year we will likely cut the pond field growing area in half and also take out about 1/3 of the west field. These areas are too iffy in these times of excess rain.
Jonathan and Kamarin did lots of mowing and weed whacking and the pond field is now mowed. It is unclear if we will pick up any hay from it, but dropped in place, it will fertilize itself for a hopefully drier year next year.
We spent several afternoons cleaning partially rotten garlic and making the good parts into garlic powder.
Throughout the week we moved the meat birds into line in a drier location in the pond field and also consolidated our three ages of layers so our chores are only in two locations. The pigs are pretty well off in the woods though where their house is goes under water when it rains. Luckily they spend most of their time in the woods. The turkeys are doing well in the brooder house and looking forward to moving out onto the front lawn later this week. Animal chores take up more and more of our time each week now.
Our sprayers – this week Kamarin, Danny, Clare and Jonathan – accomplished nutritional sprays on all areas of the farm, which is probably our best insurance against crop degradation due to the excess water.
Another week of incredibly dedicated hard work this week on the farm!
Kamarin foliar feeding in the early morning
Happy bean pickers – Paula and Marissa
And squash preservers – Kamarin, Marissa and Clare
Lucas and Scott prepping for pole beans
Jonathan spraying crop residue after Kamarin mows