Ode to Cathleen

It is always sad when someone who is beloved leaves the farm. Friday was Cathleen’s last day as she is going back to her work in tech in the theatre world. Though I suspect we might see her around still and again, I wanted to share some thoughts about her special contributions here over the past two seasons.

Cathleen told me once that her mom called her a bull in a china shop, and I think I would agree, but Cathleen also loves fine china, and it is always a treat to go to her and Chuk’s house for dinner and drink tea out of beautiful family heirlooms. She drives a bimmer (that is a beemer convertible), but also is by far the winner of the contest for worst dressed farm staff member. For the CSA, there was no better washer (get those crops packed just right at the sink or hear about it!) and Cathleen just seamlessly slipped into the head distribution manager role for the shares. I breathed a sigh of relief and stepped back and did what I was told. Clare and I were remarking the other day as we were washing apples (this is easily an entry level job) that it sure was nice that Cathleen had the distribution of the 46 shares that day well in hand.

She brought good farm practices to us from other larger farms that she had worked on previously. Though I might not notice any difference if the writing on the agribon + is up when we spread that remay over the crops to protect them, I will take to my grave, a huge sense of appreciation for her suggestion that we buy black bags, buy some sand, and use said bags to hold down our tarps and our remay. That innovation saved us hours this year and will do the same going forward. It was just one example of many things she did to help us up our game. She is passionate about mushrooms and upgraded our rather slap dash shiitake operation several fold this year. Cathleen had a lot of farming chops when she arrived, yet rather than jockey for power, she found ways to utilize her skills and experience to enhance the whole. As a manager of lots of people, I really appreciate that solidity and support.

Many times over the summer I would smile as I walked by the front yard where Cathleen and Anthony were fixing chicken tractors and see and hear her chatting up CSA customers come to pick up their food. Such a welcoming presence every time for folks. And similarly with volunteers and farm staff, Cathleen always goes out of her way to get to know folks and build relationships, making people feel at ease.

This ode would be incomplete if I didn’t highlight the incredible support that Cathleen was to me when I had lyme and was down for the count. Between many massages, coming in the middle of the night to bring pain relief, and coming early on two separate occasions, once on her day off, to make breakfast and get the staff and volunteers out the door, she cared for me in a very complete and loving way.

Yes, we will miss you, Cathleen, in all of your strength of character and personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CSA Update – Week 2 of 5
Last Week – Monday pick up only on November 22
Week 2 best guess of what we will get
The fall share takes place only on Monday and Wednesday, so if you were in the summer share, be sure to read the emails I have been sending so you pick up on the correct day and location. For those of you who had small (red bag) or medium (blue bag) shares, please note that all the fall shares are one size and they might turn up in any color bag. Look for your tag with your name on it.

We are still looking at a bounteous share in our second week, supported in large part by our generous use of polyester row covers to keep the frost at bay. It is predicted for about 4 nights this week upcoming, and we had our second frost on Thursday night last.

  • 3 leeks
  • Bunch of beets with greens
  • Bunch of carrots – these are beautiful right now and so tasty
  • 1 Asian of one sort or another- bok choi, tatsoi, Chinese cabbage
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • 2 squashes – these will clean out our barn – right before it gets too cold
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Lettuce
  • Dill
  • Jerusalem artichokes – these can be sliced thinly for salad or cooked in a root mash – careful, some call them fartichokes
  • 2 pears
  • 2 apples
  • Swiss chard

Luke and Cam bunching carrots.

Week 1 fall share.

These are the pears from the giving tree –500 and counting (these are just the early drops).

 

Shingles and some thoughts from daughter Ellen
HEALING SHINGLES NATURALLY
“Let Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Hippocrates said it best! And IMHO (in my humble opinion) given my recent success with healing a shingles outbreak with diet, herbs, homeopathy and acupuncture, his wisdom is worth following!

I am one week in to an extensive protocol to heal my recent shingles outbreak, and the rash is gone, I have just very small twitches of pain occasionally, and I’m feeling pretty much back to normal! Woohoo!!

I took this one pretty seriously because of the horror stories one hears not only about the shingles rash itself, but also about the possibility of long term nerve pain that can happen post-rash.

It’s been a fascinating deep dive into the nature of the Herpes family of viruses (Shingles is the common name for the Chickenpox Virus or Varicella Zoster Virus, which is in the alpha-herpes family of viruses), which it turns out are quite tricky in their ability to hide out in the nervous system and hijack the immune system in very specific ways. Something like 90% of people have this virus latent in their nervous system, waiting for a chance to reproduce and express itself, whenever immunity is low.

A common trigger can be a combo of stress with a diet higher in high-arginine foods.

As I went around my community this past week meeting with homeopaths, acupuncturists and herbalists, bringing their support and wisdom into my nutritional protocol for healing, I learned that many practitioners are seeing a higher incidence of outbreaks of the Herpes family of viruses in recent months.

And so, I wanted to share a little bit about what I did in case this may be of use or helpful to anyone else unfortunate enough to have a shingles and/or herpes outbreak.

The main thing to focus on with one’s diet is to temporarily reduce foods high in arginine and temporarily increase foods high in lysine. Arginine and lysine are both amino acids that are necessary and essential in our diet as they play certain specific roles, but when under stress or when immunity is low, it’s a good idea to cut down on the arginine for a bit as it can contribute to viral replication of this virus when immunity is low.

Arginine is found in highest amounts in coffee, nuts, grains, seeds and legumes. Also some veggies and fruits are higher in arginine than lysine.

Lysine plays the opposite role of suppressing the replication of VZV and all herpes family viruses. Once I realized what was going on I immediately started taking supplemental lysine, and then switched my diet to one high in lysine foods. Many fruits and veggies, meat, seafood and cultured dairy products are high in lysine. A fairly extensive list of foods with their arginine to lysine ratio is here: https://www.traditionaloven.com/tutorials/l-lysine_rich_foods.html

I also doubled-down on my immune supplements including Vitamin D/K2, Vitamin C, Zinc, B vitamins, minerals and extra magnesium. A fun addition was shilajit, which is a mineral pitch very high in certain speciifc nutrients that have quite remarkable healing properties.

Herbal allies that I’ve imbibed through tincture and/or tea form include lemon balm, chamomile, dandelion, wild cherry bark, St. John’s Wort, milk thistle, and a few others.

Of course cutting out sugar completely as that is such a deterrent to healthy imune function (though the protocol I followed called for plenty of raw honey), as well as any processed foods, and anything that is nutrient-poor is an essential part of healing.

And a very strong focus on gut healing is also essential, as we need lots of good bacteria and good viruses (yes, did you know there is such a thing?!?) working for us to help digest and assimilate all the nutrients in good healthy food.

My nutritional protocol involved lots of the following:
Quince (cooked, pureed and mixed with ginger, honey and turmeric) figs, papaya, mango, pears, apples, plums and a few other fruits high in lysine, lots of veggies including green beans, courgette/zucchini, leeks, sweet potatoes, peppers, and other veggies high in lysine, a good amount of garlic and garlic infused olive oil (even though garlic is higher in arginine than lysine, the healing support for the immune system outweighs the arginine/lysine ratio for this one), small amounts of local biodynamic and orgain meat, and small amounts of fermented organic dairy products.

One of the reasons for the focus on quince is that it’s high in quercetin. If you don’t have quince where you are (as it’s not the most common fruit), some other foods high in quercetin are here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/quercetin

Curcumin, resveratrol, EGCG (found in green tea) and capsaicin are other phytochemicals, like quercetin, that play an important role keeping this virus in check and stopping it’s ability to replicate. It’s best to find these in foods, in their whole format, as our bodies work best when eating real food, but studies do seem to indicate supplementation can be appropriate when actively treating under the direction of one’s healthcare provider.

The trickiest part was getting enough protein, as when you cut out all nuts/seeds/legumes and grains, that’s quite a big chunk of the diet. But, I made do, and enjoyed the fare!

Topically I applied a homemade salve that was made up of a combo of about 12 different healing herbs/foods/oils, but mainly featuring raw honey, bentonite clay, cayenne pepper and licorice root. It was remarkable how effective this was!

While the worst of it is clearly over, the trick with shingles as I have learned, is to make sure to stick with the healing principles for a bit longer after the rash dies down, as post-rash is when the PHN (Post Herpetic Neuralgia), which is apparently quite excruciating, can set in. So I am very cautiously beginning to expand my diet, while sticking to many of the same principles for a while yet.

Grateful to live in a community of healers with ready access to healthy local food. It didn’t take too much to pull together everything I needed for the protocols I followed (which are a little too extensive to share here, but I hope the flavor I’ve given is helpful!), and I learned alot along the way about a condition I really only had surface levels of knowledge about prior to a week and a half ago.

Ellen Kittredge, CHC
Evolutionary Wellness
Nutrition Counseling, Energy Healing, Nature Connection
US Cell phone/What’s App: +1 202-577-1940
UK cell: 07594254863

 

Pre-Order your 2022 CSA Share
It’s been an amazing summer season, and we can’t believe it’s already over! We hope that you enjoyed our produce this season, and might be willing to go on a culinary adventure again with us next year. That’s why we are offering pre-orders for 2022 CSA shares now. Put down a full payment, half payment, or $150 deposit to guarantee your spot in our 2022 CSA. We may raise prices in 2022 for our CSA shares, but we haven’t made a determination of that yet. If you order in this calendar year and put down a down payment you can be assured of this price. Order here: https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/

 

Graeme Sait – The Power of Plant Growth Promotion
https://anchor.fm/nutrition-farming/episodes/The-Power-of-Plant-Growth-Promotion—Stimulating-Yield–Quality-and-Resilience-e19emmn

I took some good notes while listening to this. As always it is packed with information for the farmer/gardener, and the eater. Learn about 10 reasons to use kelp/seaweed on your farm – stimulate microorganisms, rescue remedy to reduce abiotic (environmental) stress, reduce biotic stress, as a seed treatment, enhanced crop quality and shelf life, as a brix builder, because it is a nutritional treasure trove, for its chelation capacity, as a hormonal stimulant, and to build nutrient density.

He also shared extensive research on the topic of increasing libido, in men and women.

I picked up a tip about something that I used to do but forgot about – using kelp meal, and a new tip – using linseed meal, as supplements for laying hens to improve nutritive value and omega 3 content. We will reinstate that practice here on the farm.

And more good stuff – a must listen.

 

Only 55 turkeys left
The turkeys are now enjoying the best grass and comfrey and forbes that our very fertile orchard has to offer.  Fresh for Thanksgiving, $6/lb.
Order here:  https://mhof.net/organic-meat/

Farm store hours
M-F – 12-1 pm
Tuesday 5-7
Friday 5-7
Always call ahead to be sure of supply.Available this week

  1. Free range organic eggs at $8/dozen – the chickens are presently enjoying a range diet of crimson red clover to enhance vitamin A content
  2. frozen certified organic range raised roaster chickens in the 6-8 lb. range – $7/lb.
  3. dandelion, holy basil, burdock, yarrow and yellow dock tincture in 2 ounce bottles – $12
  4. frozen certified organic applesauce – just the apples cooked down in water – $7/quart
  5. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $8 each
  6. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each
  7. certified organic garlic for seed or eating – $15/lb.
  8. garlic powder – $10/2 ounce
  9. Lavender soap – $6/5 ounce bar
  10. Chicken feet for bone broth – $5 per package – good for immune system during the cold winter.

 

Cider in gallons – $15/gallon – we have 12 gallons available on a first come first served basis. Fall CSA shareholders can order cider with your share and we can deliver to your pick up site if you are not picking up in Barre. You can send a check or pay with paypal here.

 

Old layers for stewing available November 7
After our laying hens have finished their 2nd season and before we would need to keep them going during the winter when their laying will go down significantly, we slaughter the older birds. We have about 40 birds available for purchase.  These are very affordable at $15 each. You can order them here. https://mhof.net/organic-meat/.

Take the birds home and boil them for about 4 hours, then separate the meat from the bones. You can freeze the stock of meat and broth, or use it immediately for chicken soup. Yes, grandma got it right. Chicken soup is one of the best things you can do for your immune system and get you well when you are sick. And these birds are very economical for those on a limited budget.

 

Farm Doins
Although it rained almost every day this past week (I think we got Thursday and Friday off), we had a very productive week. We successfully launched our fall CSA with 84 shares and 10 lbs. average per bag. We moved our new layers from the field to the winter house, so if you come by, they will be all over the farm for you to enjoy. Anthony and John fixed the old pig house in two days and Friday we were able to get their pasture moved with them in it, without a hitch. We made 17 gallons of cider and put remay on all of our most tender crops (that are still in the field). Next week we will cover a few more things as the temperature promises to drop more with a normal November in the offing. Maya made some calendula oil and Ari continued to assiduously train Jennifer as our new communications person. Clare and I sorted the upstairs barn floor so we can get all stored crops either handed out or into the root cellar by the end of today, November 1. And Anthony and Clare and I made a year’s supply of celery slurp for me and Jack to add to our juices that we mix with our herb blend. End of day on Friday after a long and very productive day, we froze 6 large bags of chard and cleaned the house to boot. Saturday, after chores with Alicia and Dan and Shantel and Alexandria, we successfully adopted out our kittens. Happy All Saints Day, everyone!

The big pig house lift.

Anthony and John repairing the old pig house.

Remaying in progress.

Elaine, the new girl, spreading hay for the layers who have moved into the winter house.

Elaine and Kerri hoisting chickens out of the back of the truck.

Frost on Thursday morning.

Alesia and Deb grinding apples for cider.

Stu on the press.

Pigs coming out into their new pasture.

Milestones

Falling Apples

The Giving Tree