November 27, 2023
The Power of Gratitude in Improving Health and Well-being – Dr. Isaac Eliaz
In this weekly article by Dr. Eliaz (I encourage you to subscribe to his uplifting newsletters) talks about the science of how being grateful improves health and seeing the downside can actually have a deleterious effect. I had a check-in for my gratitude practice this week when the 31 family members rolled in for Thanksgiving.
First of all, it seemed that each person who arrived immediately jumped in to help with the many tasks that need to be accomplished to put on a several course meal for that number of people, not to mention finding a seat for everyone. And after it was over, some of the same and also a new set of volunteers manifested the cleanup. The zoom for those who couldn’t make it, the traditional walk, the card games, the evening meal, the chatting and laughing and catching up left us all enriched by the evening’s end. The last guest had departed on Friday at noon, and all the tables, chairs, wood box, etc. had been put back in their usual places, leaving Jack and me alone.
Now usually, I go into a bit of a down time, where all the adrenaline drains away and I feel somewhat empty after such an event. This year I just needed a short nap in order to bounce back and become excited for the abridged farm experience that lies ahead over the next 4 months.
I am thankful that I have my now ingrained daily gratitude practice to move me through these big transitions. Having this perspective that everything that happens in our lives is a blessing creates a flow of happiness and forward moving energy that makes living each day downright easy!
Expressing Gratitude this Week
Leslie has been with us for almost 3 years now. And although she arrived an avowed non-gardener/farmer, she has done the work of a farmer, not complaining too much, and getting down and dirty with the rest of us. Lately she has taken on more and more responsibility, competently running crews in the vegetable operation and the CSA distribution when Clare or I are otherwise engaged. My especial gratitude for Leslie this week centered on her cool and calm handling of turkey customers, their deposits and credits, and their extra purchases, all with very cold fingers (it was cold in the barn on Tuesday). I really can’t do this as well as it needs to be done, and I am appreciative that at this task Leslie excels. I know how seriously she takes it, because the next day she let me know that she had woken up with a start worrying that she had not properly handled a particularly intricate sale (I checked and she had). Thank you, Leslie, for being our turkey check out girl for the third year in a row.
Videos from this Week
The sale barn
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to buy directly from us or see the link at the bottom of the newsletter to buy online.
“Incredibly different in almost every way, Lew and I hit it off immediately. Lew is a Jew from Long Island with a Harvard degree. When he gave me, the gentile college dropout, a hard time for wearing my Snoopy socks, saying they weren’t professional, I told him to fuck off and pointed out that on rainy days he wore plastic bags over his shoes when he had to go out. He used to rag me about not reading the entire New York Times and Boston Globe each day. I harassed him for being so namby-pamby- he was always trying to get along with public officials, but I came from the “beat ‘em up” school of organizing in Chicago
Don Elmer, my first organizing mentor in Chicago says –
“Many Hands Make a Farm is a great read. Jack and Julie were committed to listening and to allowing others to speak and work out their truth for themselves, which could be uncomfortable for all concerned, but which bore fruit over time. They have lived what they taught, centered on their love of farming, and the people who make it all possible.”
Join Next Year’s CSA now and insure our solvency!
Well, it is not that bad, but we are more likely to break even by the end of the year if you, over the next 34 days until December 31st, join up for next year. Prices will remain the same, for your convenience, until the year turns.
Psychological and Physical Health tip
Changing The World Through Self-Transformation
This is a great interview by Ari Whitten with Brian Johnson, author of the newly published Arete. According to Brian, it is all about “zest.” There is a powerful link between our mind and our mitochondria, says Whitten. Great stuff here. As soon as I get done with Robert Caro’s massive Lyndon Baines Johnson biography, it will be my next read.
A New Hire and a farewell
Elenore reached out a couple of weeks ago to apply for a job with us. Having worked for three summers with my friend Laura Davis of Long Life Farm, she seemed like a good bet. She came for her working interview on Monday, the busiest day of the farm year, and wowed us within the first hour when she dived under the quince bush to catch a couple of errant chickens. The next big thing I noticed was when she stacked up two crates of onions before picking them up. Finally, at the end of the day she gleefully emptied several sprayer tanks of our fall primer on the farm and reported that she really enjoyed that! She is starting with us today and has signed on for a year with us, part-time in the winter and full-time in the spring, summer and fall.
Carlos came to us in August as a volunteer, and has been driving here from Framingham each day he works ever since. Moving from a thoughtful intellectual, with one of the most positive spirits we have experienced here, to an aspiring farmer, Carlos has made great strides in practicality. He will be taking the next four months off and we will talk in March to consider what 2024 might bring. I received this beautiful text from Carlos Wednesday morning.
“Good morning, Julie. I want to thank you and express my gratitude for the amazing experience I had at my time at the farm. The knowledge and skills I acquired not only enhanced my abilities as a farmer but have also contributed to becoming a better human being. I’m aware that I need to hone upon my concentration and practicality but rest assured you built me to always wanna exceed beyond my own expectations/potential. Once again thank you for the metamorphic experience!”
Volunteering at MHOF
Reinalda, from Albania helped out the Saturday before turkey slaughter
Kenny Stambler participated in “husband’s day at work” last Tuesday and helped Carlos and Doug rake and pick up leaves in the morning and was our main “walk-in guy” during turkey sales. Thank you, Kenny!
Winter hours for the farm – M, T, F – 8-noon and lunch.
Jennifer’s recipe for the week
Butternut Squash, Cranberry and Walnut Bread
- 1 cup of Gluten Free flour
- 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Cloves
- 1/4 tsp Cardamom
- 1/4 tsp Ginger
- 2 T Cinnamon
- 1/2 cup melted Ghee or Coconut Oil
- 1/4 cup Organic Cane Sugar
- 1/4 cup Organic Coconut Sugar
- 3 large Eggs
- 1 1/2 cups cooked & mashed Butternut Squash
- 1/4 cup Orange Juice
- 1 cup Walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups whole fresh Cranberries
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Oil 2 9X5 pans.
- Combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients together.
- Add the wet to the dry ingredients until all flour is moist.
- Fold in walnuts and cranberries.
- Divide into two prepared tins and cook for 55-60 minutes.
Emails from subscribers
“Julie I cried today over this newsletter. It was for the pigs. I know you raise them for slaughter. I know people eat them. I was one of them. For health reasons I no longer eat meat. The lack of respect for the life of those sentient beings is heartbreaking. A “ good by pigs” is all that could be mustered in this newsletter? Not even a prayer or comment of thanks for their sacrifice to bring forth food?? They were just obedient to the end?? Even the plants that we eat should be given thanks. I need to be better with grace as well for the life the plants provide me.
We are all connected and what happens to one happens to the many. I wish your pigs god speed back home to the creator and may their sacrifice bring forth health to those who eat them.”
Thank you for your thoughtful email. I grew up on a pig farm and perhaps aside from the turkeys, they are by far my most favorite farm animal. Their intelligence is remarkable, and their close connection to their emotions is clear to be seen. It is hard to be a farmer and to raise animals and plants to be killed and eaten (luckily with perennial plants, we are doing exactly what the plant wants us to do – spreading the plants’ seed throughout the world). As I get older, I can tap in more thoroughly to the sentience of the animals (and yes, plants) that we raise here, while still realizing that slaughter or death is the bottom line. The best I can do is to honor each of these individuals as I raise them and finally “kill” them and appreciate that at some point I will die and be eaten, if only by microbes which we can’t see. It is the cycle of nature.
It was a short farm week. It started last Saturday with Ahnyia and Reinalda helping me do the last move of the turkeys in preparation for their trip to the slaughterhouse. On Sunday Marissa and Clare and I loaded the turkeys in the truck and the van for the two trips to Winchendon. At one point we got the van stuck and Clare showed her prowess as a tractor jock by pushing the van out of the mud with the tractor bucket without leaving a scratch on the plastic bumper of the car.
Monday dawned early with some of us mostly focused on finishing up the chicken house.
Another crew picked up sand bags and remay, moved bird houses into winter resting places,
flattened pig mountains in the back of the farm and parked their houses for winter.
The third group picked and packed the last CSA share for the season – 83 shares in total.
While others went to get the turkeys. We then weighed and sorted turkeys,
had a 16- person lunch
and continued on the chicken house or did a massive and effective cleaning of the people house in preparation for Thanksgiving.
Tuesday saw us finishing up cleaning, packaging greens for sale, setting up the barn for sales,
raking 4 big totes of leaves for next spring, and Scott working madly to get the electricity reinstalled in the chicken house (not yet completed).
Then we spent the rest of the day selling turkeys, greens and salves and tinctures.
Wednesday Jennifer and I finished cleaning and selling the rest of the turkeys.
Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-