Miracles do happen

This is a story about Jason. A volunteer from Stetson who hadn’t been here since early in 2023, Jason lost about 50 lbs. in the interim, had a huge smile on his face, and worked assiduously last Monday. Clare and I didn’t even recognize him until we were at lunch and he was eating heartily of the nourishing fare (not all of the Stetson kids like to eat our food). He related to us that after being a candy binger who was on psych meds, he decided one day to quit the meds, quit the candy and start taking charge of what he put in his mouth. He was bubbling over with enthusiasm for the work on the farm and for his life in general. Those who know me know that the number one passion in my life is for people to eat and drink healthily, and hold on the drugs. I am so proud of Jason for taking control of the miracle of his life. My wish for humanity is that we all treat our bodies as temples.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

I am deep into Lyndon Baines Johnson, through the eyes of Robert Caro, an historical writer who I put up there with Carl Sandburg. I am “reading The Path to Power, the first in a four-volume series on Johnson. Caro, who is now 88 years old, is hoping to finish a fifth and final volume.

I am not sure if I had a lot of past lives where I carried water, or if I just have a deep understanding of the toils of my maternal farmer forebears who had to carry a lot of water every day of their lives in order to do their part for the family farm. Somehow, each time I turn on a hose on the farm, or start the tap running in the kitchen, or draw a bath, I have this overwhelming sense of gratitude for running water.

Caro is a genius at bringing the reader right to the scene of the action. The West Texas hills country was one of the most sparsely settled areas (and poorest) in the country in the 30’s, and even though most of the rest of the country, for sure the urban areas, had running water and electricity by then, there was none there for the farmers in the region where Johnson was born and raised. The chapter on electrification and the very detailed explanation of the lives of these farm wives, stooped decades before their time from hauling heavy buckets of water, is a must read. I left those pages with a renewed understanding of how easy my existence is.

Videos from this Week

Planting in the hoophouses

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Marcia’s 68th

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For Clare’s 47th

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Julie trying to talk about mulching while chewing Jawliner gum

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Meat for Sale at MHOF

Watch the website. We will have it all up there by January 1, 2024.

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 julie@mhof.net to buy directly from us or see the link at the bottom of the newsletter to buy online.

This past week Jack and I spoke at the Liberty Food Fest in Bellows Falls, VT on the topic, “Be strong, be fearless, don’t settle.” It was fun to be “on the road” on such a topic.

Joel Salatin spoke before us

We need a new (old) truck

We have been using beaters for many, many years and are looking to upgrade a tad. For under $10,000 we are looking for the following characteristics –

  • An 8-foot bed
  • 4-wheel drive
  • With a cap or a truck that we can fit our existing one on
  • Mechanically reliable
  • Common enough so that parts are available
  • We don’t care about cosmetics

Does anyone have any leads?

Join Next Year’s CSA now and insure our solvency!

The farmer’s memory can be quite short. Just get us out of the field for a short month, and we find ourselves gazing lovingly on the fields that are now at rest, with visions of beautifully mulched fields of an array of beautiful crops in pristine condition. Help us actualize our dream by putting up your investment in our 2024 summer and fall shares. 2024 promises to be the most productive yet!

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Ellen’s January Cleanse

21 Day Gentle Winter Healing Cleanse
Please join daughter Ellen in her 14th year of offering food based healing Cleanses. This is a tried and true program that offers consistently amazing results!
The Gentle Winter Healing Cleanse begins January 8th, 2024.
Early Bird and Bring-A-Friend Discounts Available. See website for all details.
Past Cleansers Have Experienced the following:

  • 8-12 lbs weight loss for many of the participants (Some have reported 20 lbs weight loss – and they’ve kept it off!)
  • A reduction in or complete elimination of cravings
  • Significant reduction in stress
  • Overall heightened sense of well-being and peacefulness in the body
  • Reduction in or elimination of long-standing sinus issues/congestion
  • Positive changes in eating habits and awareness around healthy food choices
  • Enhanced clarity of thinking
  • Increased desire to truly care for the body
  • Continuation of improved symptoms and improved eating habits post-cleanse
  • Cessation of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and foggy thinking
  • Improvements in PMS (fewer cramps, normalized cycles, less emotional instability)
  • Reduced Cholesterol numbers and other indicators of reduced inflammation (verified via lab tests/blood work)

“This is the best nutritional program I’ve seen in the 22 years I’ve been exploring nutrition for my health.” – Matthew Cox
The changes are profound and lasting.” – Anne Walters
It happens that I had a blood test taken just after the cleanse and my cholesterol had gone down 30 points in 8 months. My only real change had been the cleanse. Amazing!” – Jane M.
Learn more and register HEREhttps://ellenkittredge.com/cleanse.php

Volunteering at MHOF

Be in touch, we love volunteers – M, T, F – 8-noon with lunch. Things are a little erratic until the end of the year. We are hosting volunteers today, Tuesday, December 19 and Friday, December 29. We will start up normally again on January 2.

Jennifer’s recipe for the week

Turmeric Ginger Carrot Soup

This is a warming and grounding soup that is light, sweet with a little bit of spicy. It makes a perfect soup for Winter and Spring.

Get Recipe Here

Farm Doin’s

The carpenters took down all of the rotted boards in the barn woodshed and started the replace them with pressure treated members that will be in contact with the soil. The guys also did a bunch more mowing around the fruit trees in the orchard and Matt took measurements of gravel, that we hope to buy and put down in all of our holey areas as soon as we raise a bit more end of year cash.

The veg farmers picked for farm staff out of the hoophouses, planted new seedlings, and then started more seeds in the greenhouse.

The leaf crew took a short break from collecting leaves on Monday and spread 7 totes on our strawberries, along with some wood chips. Then we were back on the road again filling more totes. If the weather holds, we will still collect but today’s forecast for 1-2 inches of rain may put a damper on things.

Luke MacLean, back in the area from California is contemplating pursuing life as a farmer.

We also had a good time, with close management by the chickens of our project, hoeing around black raspberries and blueberries and then spreading copious piles of wood chips as mulch. We about half-completed that job.

“oh boy, this is so much fun”

The lard is finished and now onto the pig heads and bones for pork stock.


Can’t beat December for nice skies!

Quick Links

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