November 20, 2023

Folks often have a favorite holiday. The top of the charts for me is Thanksgiving. This is the holiday after which the farm takes a radical turn. The crops are all harvested except a few hoophouse items that we will share with the voles over the early winter, the pigs are gone, the turkeys debuted on many family’s tables, the laying hens have moved into the winter house, the last of the pear sauce has been processed, and the winter rye has been scattered over the last carrot, rutabaga, and beet beds, whose occupants are now sleeping peacefully in sand in the root cellar.

For more than 4 decades the Kittredge clan has descended on our house en masse to celebrate our extended family. There will be 32 of us this year, the first big Thanksgiving dinner since the pandemic. I like lots of people in my life, and despite the longest work week coming up of the year, I utterly enjoy this family connection, which will be one more long day, but a fortunate one to be part of.

On this Thanksgiving I am grateful for the long list of blessings in my life, while trying to hold and be cognizant of all the pain, suffering, terror and death that continues to swirl around us on the international stage. May this day of thanks and gratitude somehow spill out to the world around us.

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Expressing Gratitude this Week

Jennifer has taken me on as a new yoga student. In my rather focused work to stay supple for the long haul (my present goal is to be an active farmer at age 90), I have encountered another of Jennifer’s gifts – that as a truly brilliant yoga instructor. This week saw our first class – 9 minutes per week of yoga in exchange for a dozen eggs. And more supple I am getting, with increased Qi flow to my sometimes intransigent hips and legs and feet. She has classes at her studio in case you want to sign up – Thank you, Jennifer, for this, your many other gifts (yes, she is the one who is now featuring a recipe each week) and for coming over the day before Thanksgiving to help get this farm house cleaned up for the Kittredge masses!

Videos from this Week

Elderberry move

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Yojairo birthday

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Post pounding in bean trellises

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Sorry for cutting off your head, Jonathan

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Rutabagas into root cellar

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Chickens into house

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Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years

Carl Sandburg

I got this on audilbe and it took me 6 months at least to finish it, but finish it this week I did. This is a profoundly intimate biography of one of the world’s most renowned leaders. Carl Sandburg seemingly didn’t miss a detail of Lincoln’s life from before birth up until he was laid to rest in Springfield, IL in May of 1865. I come from Illinois as does Sandburg, by the way, and we native Illinoisans are really proud to come from the same state as both of these men. Sandburg won a Pulitzer Prize for this book, which was written in 6 volumes.

As I travel through my relatively mundane life, I regularly like to check in with distinguished leaders from history to gain their insights on how to truly lead people. Sandburg gives us the whole man, seen through countless writings and observances of others, and through Lincoln’s speeches. So incredibly weighted down by the task he had of keeping the Union together, he did always make time for humor from Petroleum V Nasby and other contemporary satirists, which took him away from his grueling responsibilities for short periods of time. And perhaps it kept alive in him, his incredible talent for story-telling.
I wept through the entire assassination section of the book, in part because of Sandburg’s incredible ability to take the reader right there and see the whole thing as an eye witness.
In case you think that we live in turbulent times, experience this masterwork and learn firsthand the times when our country was truly tearing itself apart.

Meat for Sale at MHOF

Looks like we are essentially sold out We might have more pork after we get it back from the slaughterhouse. Stay tuned.

We will have 2024 offerings on the website by January 1 at the latest.

Many Hands Make a Farm

We now have copies available for sale of, Many Hands Make a Farm. The price is $25 each and if you buy one from us, the $12.50 that we clear will go directly to the Many Hands Sustainability Center. And if you would like us to sign your copy, we can do that too! We’ll ship one to you also. Enquire. Finally, we will be having a local book signing party in January. Watch for details.

Email Julie at to buy directly from us or see the link at the bottom of the newsletter to buy online.

      “The advantages of a shed are many. First off, you don’t need to procure a building permit or pour a foundation. Simply throw up some posts, put a roof over them (walls and doors are optional) and you’re done. You can do it yourself (although a spouse or a kid eight years or older can be a real help), tools are minimal (shovel, measuring tape, saw, hammer, nails, and ladder), and materials (posts, planks, and roofing shingles) are cheap. Best of all you can put off the big barn decisions until later, when you have more time and money and a clearer idea of what you need and where it should be situated. Barns are permanent, sheds are not.” Pages 138 and 139

From Bryan O’Hara, fellow farmer (and one of the best that we know) who wrote No Till Intensive Vegetable Culture

“Many Hands Make a Farm is an inspirational and engaging read by two of organic agriculture’s most respected leaders. Jack and Julie are steadfast champions of freedom and love. Their open-minded questioning has lead them to a life full of nature’s insights, as well as the fortitude to say what needs to be said”

Fall CSA News – Week 4

Remember, everyone, that this CSA runs for 4 weeks. The fourth and final week will all be picked and distributed on Monday, November 20 – today, even for the folks who will be picking up on Wednesday and Friday on the three previous weeks.
CSA Week 4 – Our best guess

  • Two things from the hoop house – hopefully a lettuce and an Asian green
  • A turnip or rutabaga gleaned from the field
  • Carrots – the end
  • Kale
  • Parsley – from the walk in
  • Potatoes – the end
  • Squash or an onion– the end
  • Onion – the end
  • Hopefully radishes from the field

The fields, the basement, and the root cellar are pretty empty, as well it should be, I guess. Let’s get together again in another half year.

Health tips

Nice article on bitters from Food Health Revolution Network –

Volunteering at MHOF

Starting November 27, we go down to 3 days per week – Monday, Tuesday and Friday. You are always welcome on those days. “Payment” for your 4-hour stint will include a dozen eggs and some greens from the hoophouse until they run out.

Jennifer’s recipe for the week

Savory Roasted Turnip Hummus


  • 2 small to medium Purple Top Turnips
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, halved
  • 1 teaspoon dried Rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried Sage
  • 2 tablespoons of Ghee
  • 16 oz of cooked Chickpeas
  • Pink Himalayan salt and Pepper, to tast
  • 3 juiced Lemons
  • 1/3 cup Tahini


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a cast iron pan, add turnip, garlic, salt, spices, and ghee.
  3. Cook until turnip is tender. About 25 minutes.
  4. In a blender, add cooked turnip with the remainder of the ingredients.  Blend well.
  5. Enjoy with fresh vegetables or homemade almond crackers.

Farm Doin’s

Walk in – It is functioning well and we are very appreciative – so much usable space!

Chicken house –  All hands on deck this week produced a completed chicken house minus egg boxes and a front set of stairs. But we moved all 72 hens and 1 Leghorn rooster into the house Friday afternoon. Hooray to Jonathan, Stu, John, Danny and Matt. Scott has taken on the auspicious role of farm electrician and will wire the place this Tuesday.

Root cellar – we moved all of the CSA food out, and moved in our farm supply of carrots, beets (the deer left us a few small ones sans tops) and left over rutabagas. With the onions and potatoes, we should be set for our big soups and stews this winter.

Fertility spray – Bella reminded me that we need to get this spray out on the farm. Thanks to Jonathan and Carlos for getting us at least half done this week.

Bed Prep Soil Primer
Mix the below with at least 20 gallons of water per acre and spray onto the soil surface and crop residue after harvest. Light incorporation is ideal. Apply after each succession or cover crop.
Rate per acre Product Special Instructions:

  • 2 Gallon Rejuvenate
  • 2 Gallon SeaShield
  • 1 Quart HumaCarb
  • 1 Pint ReBound Moly
  • 25 Gram Spectrum
  • 25 Gram MycoGenesis

Pig harvest – Paula, Clare, Leslie, Carlos and I sent the pigs to their final journey on Wednesday. What wonderful pigs they were – all the way to the last.

Goodbye pigs

Start seeds – And we started some lettuce, chard and kale for January planting in the hoophouses.
Hoses away – this is a big job, actually, unscrewing them, rolling them and storing them. With the underground water system turned off, we did a lot of hauling of water in 5-gallon pails this week
More salves – we made another batch each of calendula, hemp and comfrey salve this week to get us prepared for the Thanksgiving sale on Tuesday and Wednesday

Organize freezers – our grounds crew – Clare, Leslie, Paula, Carlos and I moved everything around, separated out a bunch of frozen beans for sale this week, realized that we are out of frozen chickens and generally tidied up and reorganized our 8 freezers and made room for the pork – arriving the week of November 27.

Gravel – thanks, Matt, for spending several hours moving gravel piles around and into the rutted path between the north and south fields

Bean trellises – Scott and Doug helped us put more posts into our sagging bean trellises in the west field. They are good to go for another bumper crop in 2024.

We moved last elderberry and ran the chickens through there. Looking forward to good crops in the garden next year.

Thanks to Yojairo, Josh and Brandon who split and stacked all the wood that was lying around in the driveway. The place is neatening up!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-