October 2, 2023
Ecstasy is a Full, Deep Involvement in Life – John Lovell
It could have seemed impossible to keep these words foremost this past Monday and Friday, where we experienced long and steady rain from start to finish. But then how many people are so lucky as to be able to work in the rain with other highly dedicated folks, bringing good food to tables all across Central Mass, and everyone staying in high spirits through the unrelenting downpours. As long as I have on enough layers, and am able to change clothes along the way, I am buoyed by this common purpose that we all have when we get together to raise food. This has been by far the rainiest farming season in my 42-year history at this place and if it continues into October and November the conditions will get dicier and colder.
Expressing Gratitude this Week
Special thanks to all who worked assiduously through the rain this week – Jonathan, Stu, Yohairo, Matt, Jacob, Jennifer, Carlos, Marcia, Matt, Danny, Leslie, and Clare. And then Jonathan, Clare and Leslie and I had to go back and move all 12 chicken and turkey tractors again around 2 pm Friday as the rain intensified (a neighbor told me on Saturday that we got 4” of rain on Friday), in order for the birds to not drown in the field. I can always count on these folks, and others on the staff who didn’t happen to be working on Monday and Friday this week, to show up rain or shine (and soon possibly snow or shine) to keep this farm providing food for others.
Videos from the past 2 weeks
The Pigs getting out onto their new pasture on September 18
And then heading back up the hill!
September 20, putting up the chicken house bents
Scott turned 65!
CSA News Week 19
Here is the line up for this week.
Best guess on what will be in your share bags this week
- Mizuna or other Asian
- Peppers or eggplant
- Hakurei turnips
Hakurei on left and arugula in middle of picture
- Tulsi – last week for this – if you haven’t acquired a taste for this, study up on it for next year – it is one of the most nutritious plants on our farm – https://www.verywellhealth.com/holy-basil-4766587
- Beets – we hope to close out our summer beets this week
- Summer Squash – still coming modestly – they will enjoy the heat this week
- Cabbage or broccoli
- Husk cherries – slowing down
- Arugula – from our super healthy new bed
- Chinese cabbage or chard – we had to plant some chard on this side of the street because the deer decimated our crop in the west field
- Kale – the deer started on this, but Skippy and Dingo have been on watch nights now, to stop that
- Beans for Friday shareholders – from our new trellis
RFK, Jr.. Podcast –
The WHO and pandemics with Dr. Meryl Naas
Of course we can always use your help – be in touch
Sluggish Gall Bladder
D-limonene is an orange peel extract for the purpose of helping clean up your gall bladder. It also helps with acid reflux, I understand. As a person who has always struggled with a sluggish gall bladder, I went out and bought some! Not too expensive.
Time to sign up for the Fall Share
Only 5 spots left for the fall share that starts on the week of October 30 and runs for 4 weeks. We are planning and planting and tending and storing lots of good vegetables to end out the season.
Workshops at MHOF
One more workshops coming up this fall
Hedgerows for Food and Diversity; Agroforestry on Farms and Homesteads
Saturday, October 7, 2023
10am – 3pm
Many Hands Sustainability Center
411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA
With Jono Neiger as our workshop leader we’ll first look at Many Hands Organic Farm through the lens of whole systems design. We will explore, and literally dig into, areas of the farm to see how the complexity of soils, water, vegetation, microclimates, and more are interwoven and incorporated into farm management. Finally, we will look at specific field edges to see how they might become multi-functional hedgerows. We’ll walk through hedgerow design- looking at specific edges, identifying trees species, installation, and management strategies.
Hedgerows are an agroforestry strategy the goes far back into human landscape management- where trees, shrubs with other plants are employed and orchestrated to function in many ways. They can function for windbreaks, fuel, fodder, pollination habitat, carbon sinks, and much more. These field and farm edges provide an opportunity to separate and interconnect parts of the landscape. Design and planning of hedgerows is both simple and complex and a chance to diversify the farm.
Jono Neiger is a founder and agroforestry planner at of Regenerative Design Group Cooperative, in western Massachusetts with 30+ years of professional experience in agroforestry, permaculture, ecological land and site planning, conservation, and restoration. He holds a B.S. degree in Forest Biology and a Masters in Landscape Planning and Design and authored The Permaculture Promise. He operates Big River Chestnuts, a chestnut agroforestry farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts.
Price for the workshop: $50-$100.
Yes, rain was central in our consciousness this week, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were good working days. Besides picking lots of vegetables 3 times per week and moving birds out of soggy grass, we had some significant accomplishments.
Jonathan and crew got the frame up for the chicken house, the stud walls, framing for the door and one of the windows. Chuk came over and flashed the sills. The chicken house is moving along very nicely!
We are picking away at our 4 half beds of carrots and 1 long bed, with just that long bed left to weed – hopefully completely before week’s end this week. And lots of time was spent preparing the hoop houses for their fall crops of lettuce and Asian greens – in time for the fall CSA.
Jonathan and Clare stopping for a melon break as we cleaned out the blue house
In 25 minutes that day we cleared out the entire house
In the foreground are the plants that will go into the hoophouses
On Friday we escaped into the yellow hoop house to do some planting with the rain beating on the roof.
We are working on drying a year’s supply of tulsi and will also dry lots of comfrey this week for salve before it is too late.
Clare and I planted one more bed of radishes in the garden and cover cropped whatever we could to get the soil in a good place for winter.
Jennifer is now working 3 days per week and not only brings almost three-year-old Jackson on Tuesdays to keep us entertained, but takes lots of great pictures. This takes a lot of pressure off me and she takes such better shots!
Jackson and Carlos enjoying the end of potato harvesting
We enjoyed daughter Ellen’s visit here two weeks ago. She and Paula are discussing the gut biome.
September 18 share