“Feeling Overwhelmed? Just chunk it” – Logan’s mom

Logan and I were working on my “10 minutes per day in the annex fruit” plan on Saturday (I have to go up there to do the pigs twice per day anyway, so pulling bindweed off of a couple of blueberry bushes each visit adds up quickly), and she commented that her mom’s advice above had saved her many times in her life. And for the overworked farmer at Solstice, this advice can be so useful. I gave my friend Anna some similar advice this week that included making a list with less things on it rather than more so that one can get that all important dopamine hit each day, rather than feeling a failure and downcast. All farmers understand that at the Solstice we are racing the sun, and we always know who is going to win that race, so chunking off little pieces of the huge list and accomplishing them – mixing some quick wins with some more difficult larger projects can be just what the doctor ordered. Good luck to all you farmers out there. Remember that we are all in the same boat!

Expressing Gratitude this Week

It is to our teenagers this week. Mat is back. A student at Stetson, Mat works with us during school slowdowns at Stetson. We have had one week of his essential help so far and are looking for to one more this upcoming week. It turns out that he runs the weed whacker like a master and is relieving all of our perennials from things like bindweed, burdock and bishop’s weed, grass, etc.

Matt surrounded by Chinese cabbage

Em came as a volunteer on Wednesday and Friday. Just out of Quabbin Regional High School for the summer, she is willing to volunteer 3 full days per week. But we have decided to hire her because she is so good.

Em counts rubber bands with Becca

Having a 17 and a 16 year old is such a pleasure on our multi-generational farm.

What is in your CSA Share this week?

  • Lettuce
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Onions
  • Cilantro – our only new item this week
  • Beet greens
  • Collards

Last week’s CSA large share

We are still taking shareholders. The price goes down every week and the prices and terms are on this page – https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/
We have a lot of food – productivity is by far the best it has ever been. And if we can dodge the deer, we will be in good shape.

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Julie interview

I enjoyed the interview with Olivia from Breaking New Roots back in May. Here is the video should you like to watch it.

The deer are back

We had seen some minor beet trimming and a small number of lettuces chomped out in the middle, and some strawberry plants without leaves, but damage had not been too severe. Friday morning we came upon about 100 lettuces with no centers. We got out the big guns Friday night, and bought a new chain set up on Saturday to post all three dogs at strategic points on the farm. The game is on!

Romaine with missing center

Harriet and Skippy accepting a cookie each for a hard night’s work

Order your meat birds now!

We have some of the most nutritious and tasty meat birds available. This is a once a year opportunity for you to put them in your freezer. Read more here and place your pre-order.  https://mhof.net/organic-meat/chicken-and-eggs/

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Seaweed update

Still looking for someone to unload our 13 tons of seaweed who can do it with a forklift. Meanwhile Jack has been doing a lot of research on the value of seaweed in the garden and in human health. My mouth is watering with all of the possibilities. Once we have a date and price for the delivery, we will be offering 30 lb. boxes of the seaweed for the price of shipping. Stay tuned.

Education this week

Ask Me Anything with John Kempf – https://advancingecoag.com/webinar/ask-me-anything-with-john-kempf/
I learned some interesting stuff –

  • Our blood is composed with iron and a slug’s body fluids are more copper based.  That is a short layperson’s reason why having adequate iron in your nutritional system can deter slugs. We use Rebound Iron to pretty good effect
  • The presence of bindweed can mean too much potassium or not enough manganese in your system
  • Spotted Wing Drosophilia in raspberries can be corrected with mineral sufficiency

He is always a font of information – and so down home. The interview was this past Thursday when it was in the upper 90’s, there was no internet in his office and he was sitting out on the gravel driveway with his cell phone with 2 bars running the interview!

Volunteering at MHOF

It was a wonderful week for volunteers. Maria Leo was back after begging her employer, TJ Max, to give her Fridays off. This is Maria’s 5th season with us, and boy is she an expert weeder, and such a good old friend by now.
And Em came after her mom asked me to take her once she got out of school.

We are looking for volunteers who specialize in fast weeding and mulching right now. Each day the weeds can pick up a few inches in height, and we are focusing on getting things weeded and mulched as quick as we can. We are now taking volunteers M-F 7-3. Enquire

Emmy joined grandma Marcia this week

Specific Opportunities this week

We are looking for a specific volunteer/working shareholder. We have an increased need for help with Saturday chores. Now we have old layers, young layers, meat birds and pigs to do chores for. When those chores are done, we will either prep drench and foliar materials for the next week, or do some weeding and most particularly perennial management. Come for breakfast at 7:00 and we will be out of the house by 7:20, do the chores and go onto another manageable task. Stick around until 9:30 am and in exchange, I will provide you with a large produce share. One needn’t sign up for every Saturday, but 2 Saturdays per month would be appreciated. Be in touch – julie@mhof.net, or 978-257-1192.

We are also looking for a very specific volunteer or paid position to help with foliar feeding. This job needs to be accomplished between 5:00 and 7:00 am. You must be good with 2 cycle machines, be strong of back – about 40-45 lbs. of weight on your back. This can probably be accomplished in 2 mornings once you get the hang of it, but might take three mornings at first. We can pay $17/hour plus a large produce share. All of our sprays are certified organic and non-toxic, and it is a brilliant opportunity to learn about our intricate fertility program. Enquire.

Farm, Family and Friends Party on June 29

Beginning of Summer Gala Party and Pot luck at Many. Please RSVP
Many Hands Organic Farm
Saturday, June 29 from 2:00 pm until the end
We will hang out, eat lots of good food, go on farm tours, jump on the trampoline and catch up. Please come and enjoy the coming summer with us, Jack’s 80th, and Clare’s departure.

Clare so happy that we got the kohlrabi weeded this week.

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

With the high temperatures and UV index last week, we talked a lot about protecting the skin and the harmful rays of the sun. I’ve been making a combination of coconut and carrot seed oils as a natural alternative to sunscreen.  Here is some info on the oils:

Protection from the Sun

  • Coconut Oil: While coconut oil alone offers minimal sun protection, it can be combined with other oils or used alongside sunscreen for added hydration and protection. Its SPF of around 4-5 makes it a supplementary aid rather than a primary sunblock.
  • Carrot Seed Oil: Carrot seed oil provides significant natural sun protection with an SPF of about 35-40. It is effective when used in formulations with other sun-protective ingredients or as a natural booster to conventional sunscreens. Its high antioxidant content also helps protect the skin from UV-induced damage.

Using both oils together can enhance the overall protective benefits for the skin, combining hydration, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties with sun protection.

It is a simple recipe to make yourself,  mix 1 part carrot seed oil, 3 parts coconut oil.  Carrot seed oil is very concentrated and should not be ingested.  It is also a bit expensive.

I do make and sell this to my clients and use it in Ahbyanga, warm oil treatments.  If interested in ordering directly from me, an 8 oz. bottle is $18 or 16 oz. for $32.  You can Venmo with the memo “oil” at @jenzenliving.  I will happily bring to the farm and put in your CSA share bag.

I didn’t spend a lot of time cooking this week as it was so hot!  We ate lots of salads and homemade strawberry ice creams.

If you happed to have any strawberries and mint left, a simple recipe for homemade ice cream:

Whip 1/2 cup whipping cream until firm and forms peaks.  Using frozen strawberries and mint, pulse in a blend to cut into small pieces.  Fold strawberries into whipped cream and serve.

I also did some preserving this week with some extra Chinese cabbage from the farm.  I made 3 jars of sauerkraut and froze 2 bags for later use in soups and stir fries.

Recipe for sauerkraut:  Use 1 tablespoon of pink Himalayan salt per pound of cabbage.  Massage in with cabbage to release its juices, about 5 minutes.  Pack into mason jars with lid on but not screwed tight.  Put jars in a deep tray or pan to catch the overflowing juices.  Let sit at room temperature for 1-3 weeks depending on your taste. Refrigerate is best when ready.

Freezing cabbage:  Clean and cut into bite site pieces.  Put in a pot of boiling water for 1 1/2 minutes to blanch.  Throw into an ice bath, drain and freeze.

I also made garlic scape salt by simply chopping garlic scapes into small pieces, mixing with equal amounts of scapes and salt.  Put it in the dehydrator until scapes are dried.

Farm Doins

We made forward motion repairing our pig house this week.

In the planting department we started lettuce, chard, broccoli, cauliflower in the greenhouse and filled in holes in chard and kale beds and replanted pole beans where we are seeing someone eating the tops off of young beans (maybe slugs). We put in a second bed of Brussels sprouts too.

The meat birds went out on pasture. The pigs stayed in their yard!

We weeded and almost completely mulched the corn, weeded and mulched some broccoli, almost finished the potato weeding and mulching and same for the field tomatoes. We weeded two beds of kohlrabi and ¾ of a leek bed. Limited progress on our summer onions, but the older beets are now all weeded and mulched. 4 of our 9 sweet potato beds are weeded.

We thinned some peaches but still have 5 trees to finish up.

Both sprayers are still down. We bought a new Solo, put it together and found it didn’t work and had a broken piece that it arrived with. Back in the box and one more week with no foliar spraying. Sigh.
It was super hot all week and everyone worked right through it. What an amazing bunch of farmers.

So happy with our potatoes this year


Catching a ride back to the wash table

Quick Links

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Products available right now at the farm
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Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-