Foghorn Leghorn – what our rooster is teaching me about courage

We have had roosters off and on throughout the years, and sometimes we have turned them into soup, because over the winter and early spring when they are completely free range, they have become too aggressive for folks. Specifically, we have had leghorn roosters in the past who were pretty chill, so I decided to get one again last year. Well, this particular Foghorn seems pretty good with everyone but me. All I can figure is that he sees me as the one person who is in charge and thus must be taken down. Since November I have been working on the fear that wells up in me when he comes around and starts to plan his attack. I remember from my upbringing that animals can feel your fear, and will manage you appropriately when that is the case. Horses like to buck you off, for example. So, I start with deep breathing, then face him and discuss the poor decision on his part to attack me (when he does jump on me, I usually get a good kick in, or a thwack with the egg pail. Sometimes I can talk him down, but being cowardly as roosters often are, he will wait to attack until my back is turned. Somedays I sweet talk him and show great bravery, and some days I get mad and go after him when he comes at me. Bottom line, the whole rooster experience is a marvelous way for me to check in with my courage, composure, and self-presence. In about 5 weeks or so he will be locked up in a mobile home and likely cease to be a nuisance. Meanwhile, I am working on that fear thing and wondering how mature I can grow so as to Win the old boy over, or perhaps train him not to mess with the boss. Meanwhile, Candido is taming him!

Candido and Foghorn bonding

Expressing Gratitude this Week

It goes to Danny LeBlanc this week, and not on the farm, but at chorus. So, I always program music that is just slightly out of our reach, and though we all complain, folks seem to keep coming back (for the most part), because there isn’t a whole lot more satisfying than reaching a summit with friends!
Danny often takes over on the piano if Cailan is busy or wants to spend a little time in the tenor section. I gave Danny two rather challenging pieces to accompany us on, and on Thursday night he was struggling with Tumbalalaika. Now as I observe every week on the farm (you may remember that Danny is now our head carpenter), Danny gives at least 100% to all of his projects, and such is the case with the music on chorus nights. My gratitude this week flows specifically from the email that he sent to me and Cailan after the fact, listing things he has to work on to be a better accompanist and asking us to allow him to keep his assignment so that he can build those sometimes-challenging skills of being an accompanist. I like to surround myself with people who, when being themselves, are such an inspiration for me to work on those skills where I am lacking, whatever they might be. I feel blessed that Danny is there as a role model for me.


Elenore taking down a tree on our stone wall
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Myai pruning grapes

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 24, we have raised $6,476.98  Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 8.08%. – up .62% from last week.

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Order your Summer CSA share here

Many Hands Make a Farm

No new book talks on the docket, but if you would like to arrange for us to come to your local library or garden group, we can talk about organic farming, homesteading, building design, political activism or whatever. We will bring books to sell and to sign. Reach out to us.
You can buy our book here.

Educational Resources this week

Ari Whitten interviews Patrick Mckeown – The Best Breathing Technique for Energy; I bought Patrick Mckeown’s book a couple of years ago. Although I am generally a nose breather, I picked up a lot of good tips, and a new appreciation for CO2 and nitric oxide. I find it good to be very cognizant of my breathing patterns

Ari Whitten interview with Mel Hopper Koppelman-The Flaw of Seeing Health Only through Lab Markers and Biochemistry; this one was a little more esoteric for me, but I do agree that lab tests, for humans or for soil tests are by no means the be all and end all.

The Real RFK, Jr., an almost 2-hour documentary on him that gives you a good understanding of his life and passions, belief system. Thank you, Katja for sending this link –

Regenerative Agriculture Podcast #106 02, 2024
Episode 106: The Cumulative Benefits of Regeneration with Will Harris
Will quit being a conventional beef grower to become a regenerative beef farmer with a vibrant succession plan, who has a support system of family and community around him, while bringing up the standard of living in his very poor Georgia county through substantial employment of local people. Very inspiriting for me.

Volunteering at MHOF

We are hosting a wonderful succession of new volunteers on the farm right now. Justin was here on Friday (the other half of Elizabeth who came last week). Another keeper! Be in touch if you would like to join our volunteer team. We are very grateful for you.


Opportunity to help fellow farmers with a barn fire

If you have some spare cash and can help some fellow organic farmers in Granby, MA, Ryan and Sarah Voiland, it is a worthy cause. They had a barn and store fire at Red Fire Farm and need a lot of help to rebuild. Ryan and Sarah have been farming for probably more than 25 years, though Ryan is only in his mid 40’s, having started at a very early age. Here is the link

Seeds of Solidarity Workshop Schedule for 2024
Rick and Deb over in Orange always have a great workshop line up.

Community Fridges

Thanks to Jennifer and Chris who donated this week.

For the fourth year we are hoping to do some co-fundraising with the Worcester Woo Fridge which operates 4 refrigerators around the city for anyone who needs food. Historically we have delivered 14 shares for 26 weeks and we are setting a goal of 16 this year.  That is a total of $9760.

We now have in hand an anonymous donor who will match our donations $1 for $1 up to $4,880. With this week’s donations our new goal for donations comes to $2,791.54

You can write a check to MHSC and send it to us at 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005 or donate on line here. We are quite enthused about this match this year.

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2024 Workshop Series

Here are the first two workshops – happening in March. You can find the others on the website here –

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

Jack laying out plans for the workshop

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

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Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Gluten-Free Breaded Cod Loin with ginger maple mashed sweet potatoes and vegetable medley

In honor of Lent, for those who observe, I thought a nice fish recipe would be a great idea.  Fish is a lighter meat option as we move towards Spring.

Breading for the fish:

  • 1/2 cup Almond flour
  • 1/2 cup Corn meal
  • Seasonings of your liking
    • mix the above ingredients and lay out on a plate
  • 1/2 cup Gluten-Free flour (or any flour of your choosing)
    • lay out on a separate plate
  • 2 Eggs
    • Beaten in a bowl

To bread fish:

  • lay fish in flour turning to coat all sides
  • dip floured fish in eggs
  • lay fish in almond flour and cornmeal mixture, turning to coat all sides

To cook:
In a cast iron dutch oven, or deep pot – melt on medium heat 10 or more tablespoons of coconut oil (so that you have about 1/2 inch of oil.  Place breaded cod in pot and cover for approximately 5 minutes. Flip the fish and cook for another 5 minutes or until fish is done.

Sweet mashed potatoes ingredients:

  • 2-3 Sweet potatoes, chopped and cooked until soft
  • After cooked, add and mash
    • 3 T Ghee
    • 1/2 teaspoon of dried Ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon of Cardamom
    • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup

Vegetable Medley
Sautee in Ghee and cook until tender

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cup Cauliflower
  • 1 cup Broccoli

Farm Doin’s

With our new walk-in, we have less space in our CSA area as the cooler is 1’ bigger all the way around. Stu, Matt, Danny and I reconnoitered for a bit and came up with a plan that allows us to build some necessary shelving in the area for all f our supplies.

We did a lot of wood hauling this week. Last year we split a bunch of wood from here and there and didn’t have an empty wood shed to put it into, so it had to stay out. But it is now all moved into our newly upgraded wood shed.

Candido and Doug enjoying using foot power to get the wood out of the truck and accessible to those of us stacking.

We are making progress on our stone wall work, piling our brush pile higher for the day when we have that great big bonfire and roast some organic hot dogs on it!

Grape pruning progressed almost to the completion – Clare being lead grape pruner and our star, Myai, coming back for her yearly cameo appearance to share her massive skillset.  I opted out one more year, somehow overwhelmed by this process. But Marcia and I did a nice job on the gooseberries and juneberries (serviceberries).

Myai and Elenore with a finished grape vine

Doug and Jim and Candido did a bunch of kindling this week. We are nearing the end of this project, but not there yet.

We are closer on certification, Marissa is lining up more school groups, and we are making more outreach plans for CSA marketing.

Jennifer at an event in Athol

March is around the corner!

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