Will You Help us with our Deer?

January 29, 2024

Will You Help us with our Deer?
Deer Damage Prevention Ideas Sought – Jack

Last Fall we experienced our first real crop damage from deer. This might be surprising, given how practically all of our growing areas are close to woods. We have always assumed our dogs were preventing serious deer damage except for some fruit bud nibbling in the orchards during the winter when deep snows kept our dogs home. But this past entire season, long before any snow fell, we lost a significant amount of chard, kale and other greens to deer predation. This is a problem for our farming friends as well, we have learned in discussions with them. One suggestion as to why is that too few hunters went forth during the pandemic and the deer have over-populated.

Whatever the reason, we need to stop the damage or our farming operation will be seriously affected. There are many ways to try to stop this predation – elaborate fences, scary sound emissions, noxious tasting or smelling sprays, baiting connected with electric shock treatment, specific breeds of dog, etc.

It is unrealistic for us to try all of these measures this year. But we would like to try a few things. We are looking for people who have had experience with a similar problem and come up with a successful solution. We can’t really change our situation with fields close to woods or the length of our field borders. So extensive fencing or spraying or electrically powered devices look impractical. Any experiences out there we can learn from?
If you have any history that might be helpful that you would like to relate, please call Jack (978) 355-2853 or Julie (978) 257-1192, or email farm@mhof. We would be glad to hear from you and perhaps benefit from your experiences and knowledge about deer management.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

A long-term friend, Tom Posey died recently. Always with a smile and a joke, he was a true community builder. As a supporter of the arts, he and his wife Carol were present at most of the high school band concerts and special events, and Quabbin Community Band concerts for decades. He and I shared garlic in common and discussed it and swapped seed. When Paul and Charlie were young, he gave them rides to the Worcester Men of Song rehearsals that they participated in with him. Tom was the kind of person who I aspire to be – open, friendly, kind, funny, collaborative, and a positive force wherever he went.

Many Hands Make a Farm book signing

Lew and Dan (the organizers) and the horn quartet at the beginning of the event

Congressman Jim McGovern giving us an award

Circle of Song performs some tunes

Our friend Barrie Anderson sang “We Shall Not be Moved” at the close

Jack and I have a couple of talks coming – Hardwick Library on February 10 at 1:30pm and the Royalston library on February 25 at 2 pm.


Sand bag sleds

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Stu is now 71

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Young Layers for Pre-order

Young layers on the hoof were quite popular last year. We sell 8-week-old young Novogen brown layers.
https://www.freedomrangerhatchery.com/shop/product/novogen-layer/  at $25 each. They will be ready for pick up on July 1. They spend their first month in the brooder house and the second one on pasture. They eat certified organic grain as their base feed with pasture as a supplement once they move outside. Place your order with Julie. 22 are already pre-ordered. Just 28 left for reserving.

Join Next Year’s CSA

We have set prices for 2024 and are ready to receive your subscriptions for our summer CSA – running 22 weeks from June 3 – November 1. The fall CSA runs from November 4 – November 25.

Summer CSA:

  • Large – $775 – $875; SNAP – $725
  • Medium – $575-$675; SNAP – $525
  • Small – $450 – $550; SNAP – $425

On January 28, we have raised $3,335.66. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 4.19%

Join the Summer CSA share for an amazing eating experience.

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Join our Summer CSA for great health!

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Contact me for posters and farm brochures

We are now offering a 3-month automatic payment plan for all sizes directly on our website via PayPal.  Your first payment will be paid at the time of sign up followed by 2 automatic payments 30 and 60 days after.

Order your Summer CSA share here

Podcasts this week

Bioweapons and Lyme Disease with Kris Newby
Both Ellen, at age 10 and Jack, somewhere in his 50’s, contracted Lyme disease in our family, and both have had significant health challenges ever since. So, this podcast had a real impact on me. I know that many of you have suffered from Lyme disease. Have a listen.

Volunteering at MHOF

Be in touch, we love volunteers – M, T, F – 8-noon with lunch. Breakfast at 7:0 if you come early.  We have a double header from our two firefighters – why you might want to volunteer here.

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MHSC Coming soon:

We are working on putting together a workshop schedule for 2024 and I hope to announce it next week.

Additionally, I hope to talk to the folks at Community Fridges this week to arrange our collaboration for 2024. More on that, too.

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Sesame Ginger Granola

A sweet and savory mix of oats, with the sweetness of cinnamon, coconut sugar and maple, with a zip of ginger. This mix is warming and grounding. It offers a big punch of nutrients giving smooth and steady energy throughout the day.

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Farm Doin’s

Paula making calendula salve

Elenore working on our AEA recipes for 2024

Every day starts with a staff meeting

On January 22 we cleaned out our boxes of lettuce in the greenhouse to make way for the seed starting that will begin soon.

Still pruning – one orchard essentially finished and one more to go.

The base for the sand bags sled Moving them around the farm is one of our most odious tasks and this will make the whole thing easier.

We are burning through the organic certification application and Leslie has been anointed the new certification person (soon to take over from Clare). Clare and I put together our farm maps this past week, shoehorning in things here and there – always a delightful process. Matt finished the back wall on the wood shed and we started filling it with 5 cords of wood that we bought this past week.

Jack and I had a delightful period of educating others over the past two weeks – a SRO crowd at the NOFA/Mass winter conference to learn about food preservation, and then three workshops at the Virginia Association of Biological Farmers presenting on carbon sequestration on the farm, organic advocacy and engaging and keeping farm staff while building community. It was nice to have a 4 day foray into the outer world. And people in Virgnia are so very friendly.


Quick Links

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CSA pick up information
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Products available right now at the farm
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Donate to the MHSC
Links Workshops

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