We didn’t have chickens growing up, although we did have pigs, beef cows, sheep, turtles, skunks, little alligators, guinea pigs, parakeets and raccoons. I think mom thought they would be too much hassle.
But when we got out here to Barre, by 1984, after Jack and my dad built the chicken house, we were in business. And for some reason, the daily collection, washing, organizing selling, and managing the always variable number of eggs and customers has never felt like a chore to me. There is something about the industry with which a chicken leads her (and sometimes his life) is such an inspiration to me. They will take a little time in the afternoon to establish a dust bath if they can find a suitable location, but most of their waking hours are spent searching for food, eating grit to power their gizzards, and preparing and actualizing that egg about 85% of their days.
In the past two weeks the chickens have been in their swanky new quarters, and our various carpenters have had to finish up work on the house, they have accomplished it with chickens under foot, sometimes alighting on a bent back or generally keeping close attention to the human activity.
I do believe that the highlight of my day is always when I open the door after they have laid the requisite number of eggs for the day, and everyone comes rushing out – some on foot, and some flying from the roosts near the door. It can actually be dangerous to be in the way when the chickens almost roar through the door to begin “recess” on the greater farm.
Such an amazing zest for life. We can learn a lot from chickens.
When our chickens rush out of the house, their first stop is the juneberries and gooseberries
Jonathan and Matt finishing the front steps
Expressing Gratitude this Week
Heading over to the UK this week via zoom, I spent 1 ½ hours with Nicki Edgell, Light Therapy Practitioner, Energy clearing Practitioner, Clinical Psycho-neuro-immunologist, Nutritional Therapist. A session with her was a Christmas present from daughter Ellen. Wow, I have been reeling ever since Thursday morning. It was her energy clearing work that blew me away. Watch out world as I come more into my potential. You can contact her at email@example.com.
Donate to the MHSC
We don’t have the official end of year letter out yet (hopefully next week in place of this as a special edition), but my sister-in-law wanted to donate right away, so in case you can’t wait to donate to us for our 2024 work, here is the link – https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=LSWR5U4EET7SW. Just Paypal or checks, no credit cards.
Videos from this Week
None this week
Meat for Sale at MHOF
I have one 19 or so pound turkey for sale from the freezer. That will be right around $140. Give me a holler if you would like it.
We will have 2024 offerings on the website by January 1 at the latest for our pork, meat chickens and turkey.
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 on January 14.
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.
‘Thank You, Barre’ Book-signing to be Held Jan. 14, 2024
Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson will hold a public “Thank You, Barre” book signing at Barre Players Theater, 64 Common St. on Sunday, January 14 at 2:00 p.m.
Forty-four years ago the couple decided to settle in Central Massachusetts, buying land on Sheldon Road in Barre. There they designed and self-constructed a house, started Many Hands Organic Farm, built a state-wide organic farming group (NOFA/Mass), and raised their four children: Dan, Paul, Ellen and Charlie.
A book about their decisions and experiences, “Many Hands Make a Farm”, was published in November, 2023, by Chelsea Green Press and is dedicated to locals Peg and Burt Frost, Frank and Beba Roberts, Peter and Impi Wartiainen, Doug Ingalls, Sandy Pickens, Arthur Sheldon and Don Boothman. It recounts many anecdotes about them and community life.
Jack and Julie own Many Hands Organic Farm which serves 150 shareholding families during the 26-week growing season. They raise vegetables and fruit, as well as eggs, chickens, pigs, and turkeys. Several paid staff and volunteers work at the farm, including some from challenged backgrounds, and the pair also run an educational center there that holds workshops on issues relating to farming, homestead design, and organic health care.
The signing will take place in the theater from 2:00 until 5:00 pm. The authors will read short segments from the book, an open mike will be available for participants’ remembrances, a few musical numbers will be performed, and optional light potluck refreshments will be served. Copies of the book will be available for $25.00 at the signing. For more information contact: email@example.com or 978-257-1192.
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 27 days until December 31st, join up for next year. Prices will remain the same, for your convenience, until the year turns.
Circle of Song Concert – December 16, Barre Town Hall, 7 pm
Changing The World Through Self-Transformation
We have been practicing assiduously all fall and are coming into the homestretch for our Christmas concert this December 16, Saturday, at 7 pm. Members Minnie Isgro, Janet Lawson, Pat Lameroux, Ben Wells-Tolley, Jack Kittredge, Dan Kittredge, Danny LeBlanc, Joan Bevers, Marcia Gusha, Nancy Afonso, Anne Kneeland, Lois Wells, Kelly Fragale, Paula Bowie, Cailan McClure and Julie Rawson will sing the following tunes –
- Alleluia – Randall Thompson
- America the Beautiful -Ward/Meader
- Christian’s Goodnight – Sanky/Doudney
- Lullabye – Billy Joel
- Imagine – Pentatonix
- Dona Nobis Pacem – Mozart
- Ballade to the Moon – Daniel Elder
- Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord – spiritual/ar. Moore
- Long Time Ago – Copland
- My Lord, what a Mornin’ –spiritual/Burleigh
- Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light – Bach
Minnie always puts on a great spread for us after the concert. And we are always looking for new members. We will start up again in January on Thursday nights at 7 at the Barre Town Hall. Reach out if you are interested – firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberty Food Fest December 15 and 16 – Jack and Julie to speak
Are you ready to make the next growing season the best it can be?
Looking for camaraderie, as the nights get longer, and the winds blow colder?
The local food movement is about bringing people together, expressing gratitude for each other, and getting stronger as a region.
Join us December 15th and 16th for the Liberty Food Fest in Bellows Falls, VT.
This celebration of the local food system is going to lift your spirits.
Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge are of Many Hands Organic Farm are pioneers of the local organic food movement in the Northeast and are obsessed with creating fertility in the soil, a process which is dependent on building networks of both happy mycorrhizal fungi and people!
Joel Salatin is one of the most uplifting, motivational farmers out there, full of new ideas. You’ll leave his talk with an extra pep in your step as you plan out your next growing season.
Winona LaDuke will give you perspective on how to live in harmony with the earth, and you’ll have a renewed spirit and sense of purpose.
This is a celebration you don’t want to miss.
Volunteering at MHOF
Be in touch, we love volunteers – M, T, F – 8-noon with lunch.
Jennifer’s recipe for the week
Chicken Bone Broth
Bone broth is extremely hydrating and provides great nourishment for the body. It is filled with vitamins and minerals as well as protein and healthy fat. It warms the body on a cold dry day, is easy to digest and boosts immunity. It’s particularly helpful when recovering from illness and a great preventative to cold related conditions. It is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties and may help to heal the gut.
The difference between chicken stock and bone broth is mainly the vinegar and time cooked. The vinegar leeches the minerals from the bones dispensing it into the broth. The longer it is cooked the more minerals seep into the liquid. It usually takes me 2 days to make a batch as I don’t leave the stove running over night or when I am not home. I simply turn off the stove before bed and then start it again in the morning.
The basic ingredients are chicken carcass, water, apple cider vinegar, salt and spices. I am always making bone broth through the winter using different spices each time. I highly encourage to go wild with spices. They are healing food!
For the cold and flu season, in this pictured recipe, my spice combinations was nettle leaf, astragulus root, tulsi, and sage.
Here is a link to the recipe already on my website: https://www.jenzenliving.com/recipes-2/recipe/5a43a8af-fb9a-4af0-83bf-e04900f44e86
It makes a great autumn/winter breakfast or snack. I also use bone broth in place of water when making rice dishes and of course all soups.
Please note the source of your chicken is important. If you are using a bird that is toxic, cooking the meat and bones down actually make the broth more concentrated in toxicity levels. I only use the best chickens from MHOF including the meat birds, old layers and feet (turkeys too). Unfortunately, Julie is sold out of all meat for 2023, so I highly recommend putting in a meat order for 2024 as soon as it becomes available in January to reserve your meat.
Emails from subscribers
I hope this email finds you well. I’m Jessica, the author behind Little Green Yard, and I recently crafted a blog titled “No-Till Gardening: Cultivating a Thriving Garden with Minimal Disturbance.” Given your expertise and passion for sustainable farming, I thought you might find it interesting and valuable for your audience.
Here’s the link: https://littlegreenyard.com/no-till-gardening/
If you enjoy the read, would you consider sharing it with your readers? I believe it could be a fantastic addition to your already fantastic content about “To Till or Not to Till“. Your insights have always inspired me, and I believe our gardening communities could benefit from this information.
Thank you for your time, and I appreciate your consideration.
I just took a look at your blog. Very interesting and nicely done. I enjoyed the YouTube video on terminating cover crops. I will put a link in the newsletter for folks to check you out. Good luck with your work. Julie
With only 3 days to cram in all the work, we seem to be more efficient all the time. The chicken house received roofs for the egg boxes and construction in underway for a split-level new rack of them. The girls have decided for the most part to lay in the boxes now, and I run out and turn on their new light that Scott put in every morning around 4:30 so they can get up and start laying for an earlier recess time. Sunday, they hit the 40 mark by 9 am leaving them a full day of outdoor play. The front steps are completed, the hoses hung on the outside, more trim boards are in place and we are almost done.
The Stetson folks have been helping us produce and store copious amounts of kindling from our chicken house project waste. I am a very happy camper each morning when I start the stove and am now set for over a year with beautiful kindling.
We harvested 7 more bags of leaves this week, leaving maybe 20 large totes to fill. We will hopefully get most of those this week. Meanwhile instructor Clare taught Marissa and Elenore how to drive the tractor.
The pork came in and went out and I breathed another sigh of relief with an enterprise almost done. Smoked meat and lard are still products for the immediate future.
We started on Monday and finished on Friday our work in the annex, weeding and mulching and mowing around all of our blueberries and grapes. What an accomplishment that was – never quite completed in the winter of 22-23.
Do you ever wonder what a dog is thinking about?
Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-