Opening Up our boxes

When I stop to think about how to live fully in the world, I think of a cardboard box and how I can climb into it and close the lid from time to time. And how tight that can feel, and cut off from others and life itself. Spring is a really great time to burst forth and flatten those boxes as we jump out of bed to meet the new day. All around us the birds are singing, the grass (and yes, some perennial weeds too) is growing, kittens are bursting forth in our upstairs rooms, puppies are chewing on pant legs, the sun is staying up longer and longer each day, and the breezes (when they aren’t ripping tarps off fields!) are tugging playfully at us, just calling to us to participate in life to our fullest. Now is the best time of year to grow a little bit past where we were yesterday, embrace the template that nature is giving us, and go for broke. Now is a good time to drop being “offended” and instead become engaged in all the beautiful opportunities that life brings us.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

Not growing up in New England, I was not introduced to spring peepers until we moved to our place in 1982 and heard them for the first time the next spring. As an avid reader now of Thornton Burgess’ children’s stories, and particularly “The Adventures of Old Mr. Frog” I now understand a little bit more about them. As I drink in the spring (still just in bits and pieces as it slowly comes into fruition), I celebrate the joie de vivre of the spring peepers, whose chorus is sometimes deafening this time of year. Hurray for nature.


Danny explains the door to the alcove

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Kudos to Elenore who drove the cutting of all of our monster logs – we are done

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March isn’t over yet – let’s move some tarps again!

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Join Our 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

Why the Sliding Scale? Pay according to your means. It all comes out in the wash, so to speak. Thank you.

On March 30, we have raised $20,355.20. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 25.38%. – up 1.87% from last week

Order your Summer CSA share here

Does anyone belong to a group that would like me to come and talk about the CSA? I am happy to present it to your colleagues, customers or friends.

Many Hands Make a Farm

You can buy our book here.

Educational Resources this week


– Have you been noticing any skin rashes recently?
– How about vision changes? Perhaps you’ve had spots in front of your eyes, or irritation in your eyes?
– Have your old injuries been giving you trouble? Have your joints been creaking?
– Have you had increasing fatigue or have you been irritable?

Spring is when the liver – our main organ of detoxification – naturally kicks into action to rid the body of the excess toxins and fat that have built up in the body during the fall and winter months. Believe it or not, these symptoms mentioned above could have everything to do with your liver naturally moving into its cleansing cycle, and starting to eliminate toxins. Our best strategy during this transition time of the year, when the body is naturally working with us, is to take FULL ADVANTAGE of the natural cleansing process, and do everything we can to support the liver.
Join me for my 7 Day Spring Renewal Cleanse beginning April 8th,
to fully support a healthy detox and get this season started off on a healthy foot!

Volunteering at MHOF

As we begin the ramping up of the season, we are particularly looking for volunteers to join us as working shareholders. Starting in April we will add another day – Wednesday, to the days one can volunteer. And when the CSA starts in June, we will particularly need working shareholders on M, W, and F mornings 8-12 (with lunch). For now, volunteers receive a dozen eggs and something from our freezer for your efforts, and starting in June you will receive a large CSA share for your efforts. Come for the community, the exercise, the sun, the camaraderie, the food, the education – you name it. We have so much fun. Be in touch.

Community Fridges

We are partnering again with the Worcester Woo Fridge which operates 4 refrigerators around the city for anyone who needs food. We are setting a goal of 16 this year.  That is a total of $9760. We now have in hand $$2,483.46. Thanks to Giovanna for her generous donation this past week.

We have an anonymous donor who will match our donations $1 for $1 up to $4,880. With what we have in hand, our present goal for donations comes to $$2,396.54. We are over halfway to our goal

Check out this link to find out more about the Community Fridges in Worcester –

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.

2024 Workshop Series

Here are the next three workshops. You can find the others on the website here –

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.

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Keeping the soil covered: tarps, cover crops, mulch
Saturday, June 1, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price – free to the public; supported by a USDA TOPP grant and co-hosted by NOFA/Mass
Presenters –Julie Rawson, Matthew Kornn
Spanish Translation will be available
Register here –

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 explain 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.
The Transition to Organic Partnership Program helps farmers aspiring to become certified to work with a mentor in this process. Information about TOPP will be presented by Laura Davis, Certification Assistance Coordinator for NOFA/Mass

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Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

3 Seed Crackers
The credit for this recipe goes to Julie.  I just made some modifications for my liking.  I served them with my beet hummus to a group and both were a huge hit.

View Recipe here

Farm Doins

March has been a wonderful month for us to do some not so essential stuff. Mainly, we cleaned up two major walls of the pond field, rescuing our beautiful oaks from grapes and bittersweet, addressed the dead ash tree from the roadside (with 4-5 cords of wood to show for it), fixed up and closeted a nice alcove in the back corner of the barn making it available for small machinery, fixed up the side of the barn and moved all of our lumber onto it shelves. We also put down a lot of gravel in pot holes and low spots on roadways, all while completing our mulching of perennials (and using up all of our available wood chips) and pruning all trees and bushes. Hopefully the accomplishments of this March will be a template for us to do more progress work next March. Now as we head into April, it is business as usual.

It’s okay, Clare, just one more house to move

At last, all three chicken tractors moved to the top of the farm in readiness for 8 months of living on pasture

Life is so much more fun when there are three of you!

The Elenore and Jim dream team on the big ash

Friday we organized our AEA delivery into the barn for lots of spraying this year!


Quick Links

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Products available right now at the farm
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Links Workshops

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