“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi

Thats a tall order, especially the part about thinking only productive thoughts. I have found that working on this list from the 3rd to the first helps me make the most progress. We have to engage a lot of body parts to “do” something so there is more room for intention to take charge. And then working on the project of not letting things fly out of my mouth comes next, as it engages two actions – thinking and speaking. Once I start speaking “peacefully” as Marshall Rosenburg discusses so well in his book “Non-Violent Communication”, then I find that my negative thoughts start to diminish. And then that happiness really starts to settle in . . . If you are a fan of Gandhi, you can find 125 of his most memorable sayings here – https://parade.com/1247073/marynliles/gandhi-quotes/

Expressing Gratitude this Week

Jack and I have been going on walks down our road everyday for decades. Before that, I used to walk the kids the .4 mile to the bus stop. I have been walking past our beautiful oak trees (we live on a “scenic” road) for a long time. And for a long time, I have noticed how bittersweet and grapes have grown up into the trees and for the younger ones, they have almost sucked the life out of them. But when could we afford the time to do some brush clearing and give those wonderful trees a break? Well, we finished pruning our fruit trees on Tuesday – February 6 – a new record, and we are now able for at least the next 7 weeks, to spend 3 hours per day on cleaning up stone walls and cleaning up field edges. I am grateful to the entire farm staff which has made it possible to move from reactive to proactive this winter and we gear up to the planting season.


On Friday we made a batch of lavender soap. Here it is all chronicled for your enjoyment.

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 February 10, we have raised $4,590.10. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 5.72%.

We jumped 1% over the past week! Please contact me for posters or electronic or hard copy farm brochures to share with your friends and family and work, church, etc. We much appreciate it.

More reasons to join the CSA – proactive mulching

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Order your Summer CSA share here

Holly’s Tooth Powder

Here’s a tooth powder recipe that is quite similar to one that I buy from the Dirty Mouth folks – https://www.primallifeorganics.com/products/dirty-mouth-primal-toothpowder When my supply runs out, I am going to give it a try.

  • 1/4 c bentonite clay
  • 2T baking soda
  • 1T good salt
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 2t cloves (optional)
  • 3T calcium (optional) you can make your own calcium by boiling eggshells for 10 min, drying, and grinding in coffee grinder or blender.

Podcasts this week

This week’s Regenerative Agriculture podcast with John Kempf dealt with the regenerative cotton industry. This is a fascinating and inspiring conversation with Amy Williams – https://regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com/episodes/episode-103-regenerative-cotton-and-industry-disruption-with-amy-williams/

Volunteering at MHOF

Be in touch, we love volunteers – M, T, F – 8-noon with lunch. Breakfast at 7:00 if you come early.  Paula talks about reasons to become a working shareholder.

Full disclosure – Paula is now a paid staff member twice per week and integral to the operation!

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We have a new guy! Jim Gusha retired at the end of December and joined us as a working shareholder this week. He is part of the proud 1953 club of which Stu and I are members.

2024 Workshop Series

We scurried to get all of the workshops finalized in this past week and here they are all laid out.

Register for Workshops

Natural and Low-cost Homestead Design
Saturday, March 23, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50-$100 sliding scale
Presenters: Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson

This class is for people who are planning to develop a homestead using natural materials and systems and want to consider the wide range of issues involved. Jack and Julie are owners and builders of the farm. Topics covered

  • Initial Land Selection
  • Site Determination
  • Residential Design – climate and weather protection, energy, water, septic, vehicle access, root cellar, attached greenhouse, storage, connectivity choices, backup systems
  • Outbuilding Siting and Design
  • Developing Natural Features – fields, gardens, ponds, woods, walking trails
  • Long-Term Planning.

A major focus of each topic will be the extent to which low cost, natural materials, incorporating energy-saving design, and appropriate technologies are employed. A tour of the house and grounds of the farm, where many such principles have been applied, will be included.

Ayurveda, Yoga, and Seasonal Cooking
Saturday, March 30, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50 – $100 sliding scale
Presenter: Jennifer Peck

Embark on a 3-hour holistic journey of self-discovery and well-being. Immerse yourself in a rejuvenating meditation and yoga practice introducing the basic concepts of Ayurveda. Delve into enlightening discussions exploring the fundamental lifestyle and diet principles of Ayurveda, the ancient science of life and longevity. Learn how to align your lifestyle with the seasons through Ayurvedic wisdom, understanding how to nourish yourself according to the unique needs of each season. Additionally, ignite your culinary creativity with a hands-on cooking session focused on preparing delicious and nutritious meals aligned with the current season.

Ayurveda, deeply rooted in the rhythms of nature, seamlessly aligns with the principles of farming and community-supported agriculture (CSA). This ancient system of health and wellness recognizes the interconnectedness between humans and their environment, emphasizing the importance of living in harmony with nature for optimal well-being. By embracing Ayurvedic practices, individuals not only nurture their own health but also contribute to the sustainability of the earth and support local farming communities. Through the mindful consumption of fresh, local, organic, seasonal produce, we honor the natural cycles of growth and nourish both body and soul in alignment with the wisdom of Ayurveda. Join us in this transformative experience as we cultivate balance, vitality, and inner harmony together.

Navigating the new normal- power equipment and implements on the farm and homestead.
Saturday, May 11, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50 – $100 sliding scale
Presenter: Dave Petrovick with support from Jonathan Anderson

Are you confused on how to enter into the realm of tractors, implements and power equipment? There are many time and labor saving pieces of equipment available lately and with rampant sticker shock everywhere, how do you choose what to buy?

For those who have equipment already, how do I maintain it? Can I repair it? Should I repair it, or bite the bullet and upgrade?  Interested in starting a new enterprise on the farm? What will I need?  We will discuss these and other subjects. I am a diesel mechanic, certified welder and farmer with 40 years of experience with agricultural and construction equipment. You’ll have access to insights and experience that will help you confidently delve into the world of power equipment, implements and tractors.

Starting Seeds and Seedlings
Saturday, May 25, 2024
9am – 12noon with pot luck lunch
Price – $50 – $100 – sliding scale.
Presenters – Clare Caldwell and Julie Rawson

We will discuss how to maximize germination and getting seeds on their way to success for the season. Starting seeds later than we are used to in the greenhouse with only natural lighting and solar heating, getting them in the ground with no “checking” of their growth, use of seed inoculants, transplant drenches, and mulch when planting will all be discussed. Our “no cell” “no soil block” open tray system of greenhouse seed starting will be discussed also. We follow the biodynamic calendar when planting and will share our thoughts on that too. May 25 is a root day.

First, we will start some lettuce seeds in the greenhouse, then repair to the field to plant some beet seeds and lettuce seedlings, apply in row drenches, and follow up with application of mulch. This will be a very hands-on workshop.

Keeping the soil covered: tarps, cover crops, mulch
Saturday, June 1, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price – $50-$100 – sliding scale
Presenters –Julie Rawson, Elenore Alves, Matthew Kornn

We aim for the highest possible fertility, a no till scenario, increased soil organic matter, and high nutrient density, disease and insect resistance, and as few weeds as possible. At this workshop we will discuss our 10 years of no till, a bit about our problems with this modality as they have evolved over the years, and the solutions that we have implemented. Always a work in progress, this fascinating journey is always full of new insights and observations.

Specifically, we will show how we use cover crops pre, post and during the season, tarps throughout the farming year, and myriad sources of mulch. We will demonstrate the use of our bale chopper, mulch some broccoli with chopped straw or hay and leaves, take down some cover crops and use a pre-plant soil drench for planting of tomatoes in the next 2-3 days. We will remove tarps from some of our sweet potato beds and prepare the beds for planting similar to the tomato beds. Finally, we will undersow inoculated (with biocoat gold) crimson clover in our mulched collard beds and apply a transplant drench to the beds.

Homestead Carpentry
Saturday, June 15, 2024
9am-12 with pot luck lunch
Price: $50-$100 – sliding scale
Presenter: John Wilson, with some help from Jack Kittredge and Danny LeBlanc

There’s a time in every homesteader’s life when some carpentry is needed to build or repair something made of wood.  This workshop will provide a solid grounding in getting started. Very basic questions will be explored in a setting that requires no knowledge of woodworking.

Topics will include: how to select the right lumber for your task, how to measure it and cut it to size, the options for fastening it together, and making a good assembly.  Each topic will cover the tools needed, with a demonstration of technique, and how to avoid some common pitfalls.  Emphasis will be on hand tools where feasible.

While in his 20s, John Wilson was a carpenter for 10 years.  He worked on framing apartments, finish work in condos, a cabinet shop, and built two houses.  He’s kept active in carpentry remodeling work in the intervening years, and was part of the MHOF garage and chicken coop renovations the past two years.  He has always had an appreciation for tools and techniques.

Food preservation
September 14, 2024
10am – 2 pm with a pot luck lunch at noon
Price: $50 – $100 – sliding sccle
Presenters: Julie Rawson, Jennifer Peck, Marissa Gabriel and, Paula Bowie

We preserve hundreds of pounds of food each year enough to fill 7 freezers, 400 mason jars, a root cellar, and cupboards with dried foods. Join us at the height of the food preservation season to preserve our way through the day. We will freeze vegetables, can tomatoes and grape juice, make applesauce, start some lacto-fermented sauerkraut, dry some herbs and garlic and discuss best methods for canning freezing drying, and root cellaring. At lunch time we will share a pot luck lunch.

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Asparagus Cauliflower Leek Soup

A light soup as we shift closer to Spring.  Get recipe here.

Farm Doin’s

On Monday the guys built a new shelf in the tractor bay of the barn so that we can make our foliar spraying operation that much easier to manage.

Meanwhile the women (with some help from Yohairo, Mat and Candido ) chipped away at the fruit tree pruning.

The Stetson folks worked on the kindling production project (leavings from the chicken house job),

and worked with Elenore to pick up many of the prunings from the orchards. Elenore and Paula called all of our 2023 shareholders to invite them to renew while Clare chipped away at organic certification. Marissa has taken on outreach for volunteer groups to come to the farm. We have had rich returns on that project already – a new school group from Minuteman High School, a new professor from Clark and the return of the Gardening the Community kids from Springfield, all getting lined up.

Tuesday we finished the fruit tree pruning

after cutting and processing enough suet from the Farm School to make 17 quarts of tallow.

Then Jonathan (yes he is back here and there!)

and Eleonore cut firewood while Matt did some gravel moving and the rest of us did more office work.
Friday Matt finished all the gravel moving and spreading

while Leslie and Clare and I made lavender soap, prepped prunings for pick up (making them smaller) and then all four of us worked for an hour on the stone wall by the mailbox.

And of course, it was one beautiful week. So much sunshine!

Congratulations to Jennifer who is a second-time grandmother to Madelyn.


Elenore brushing Dingo and Skippy and then dusting with diatomaceous earth to hopefully discourage their fleas.

Quick Links

Buy meat
CSA pick up information
Contact Julie
Products available right now at the farm
Become a working shareholder
Donate to the MHSC
Links Workshops

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