In Memoriam – Franny

For the past 18 months or so it has been clear to us and to Franny that her days were numbered. As Dingo is a rescue dog and does not demonstrate a lot of leadership capabilities, we felt we needed to find another dog who could take over the reins for Franny. Luckily, we were able to find Skippy, a Border Collie, German Shepherd, Blue Heeler, Australian Shepherd cross and to bring her home from her mother at age 8 weeks. Over the past year and change Franny, happy with our choice of her future replacement, has been training up Skippy to take charge. This of course included a little bit of ass beating, but also a lot of grooming and leading by example. As a matter of fact, on Friday 2 hours before she dropped dead, Franny took a vole from Skippy who had just killed it in the field. We were working in the pond field garden right next to the apple orchard on Friday, and Laurie heard Franny make a strange yip and then drop dead. As I consider how I would like to die, I think that dying on a May 20 some year in the future in the orchard surrounded by my farming friends, might be a good way to go.

Franny immediately after death

We will miss the fact that Franny, until the end, was with us at our sides on the farm, often carrying around her prize dead chicken that had died that day, but always leading us to the next stop in our day. Often she was just quietly nearby, and we would only realize that she had been with us when we transitioned to the new location. She would be right there to take us to our next stop. Franny spent hours pulling ticks from Dingo and Skippy, always greeted any person who showed up in the driveway, and made so very many people happy with her upbeat and gentle personality. She would hit up UPS drivers for cookies, always with a wag of the tail. She was a glutton and missed no opportunity to ferret out a treat from anyone who would offer.

Skippy and Dingo came to her funeral. After the funeral we went back to planting and Skippy, now in charge, waited until we were done with our work, and when I left the field, she got up and went with me. Franny’s work was complete, and I think that is why she decided it was just the right time to pass the baton.

Dingo and Skippy contemplating life after Franny

Bishop’s Weed as our Teacher

We spent a lot of time in the rhubarb patch this past week, trying for the umpteenth time to eradicate the bishop’s weed. Gary, who was here straight from Northern Ireland on Tuesday, said that its other name is Ground Elder. I finally this morning took the opportunity to look it up and see if perhaps we should start eating it rather than swearing at it. Sure enough, I found this online:

Nutritional profile of ground elder

The young leaves contain high amounts of vitamin C and are best picked in spring for use in salads and soups.

Herbal medicine uses of ground elder

The plant was once used as medicine for various ailments, but its primary purpose was as a cure for gout and to relieve pain and swelling. For this reason, the plant was also known as goutwort.

Modern herbals still recommend ground elder as a treatment for gout, sciatica, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, inflammation, and water retention.”

Gary with a large mass of bishop’s weed roots

Looks like I am going to have to change my perspective. Now, if I could only find a good use for bindweed!

Observations in the Blue House

We had some opportunities to work in the hoop houses this week with some rainy weather. Back in February or March we tried a new experiment of preparing two beds in the blue house and planting them to oats and peas. When it was time to plant the chard and kale in their place, we merely chopped them down mildly, put in our transplants and mulched with leaves. Thursday Clare and Scott were struggling to weed with hard soil on the side of the house that we directly seeded to beets while Sam and I found rich and soft soil on our side. No slugs either. Chalk up another one for cover crops.

Slugs in the Orange House

We found healthy kale in the orange house this week – this house we had prepped and planted directly to kale, followed by leaf mulch. But the slugs and snails definitely were moving in. After weeding, Clare carefully spread wood ash around the base of each plant. We will also spray them with our “slug food” recipe from AEA on Monday and see if we can encourage them to take their business elsewhere. We have used this recipe to good effect in the past.

Slug Recipe

  • 1 quart SeaCrop
  • 1 pint Rebound Copper
  • 1 cup Rebound Boron
  • 1 pint Rebound Iron
  • 1 pint HoloPhos
  • Mix this with 2 gallons of water as your basic recipe

When applying with a sprayer, we put in 1 quart of this mix into the sprayer tank and then and fill the sprayer tank (about 4 gallons) with water. Spray on the vegetables in question when they are in shade, early or late in the day. Use this when you see slugs, up to once per week as needed.

Kittens

Those 5 kittens are going up for sale on Monday, May 30 at 12:01 am. Place your order via email to [email protected]. Please, no choosing in advance. That happens at pick up.

They have spent the past 5 weeks in their upper rooms with their cousins, mom and grandmother, and are now starting to learn the ropes of racing back and forth across the floor, engaging in arm-to-arm combat, and sleeping in large heaps when they tire out. The kittens cost $50 each. They are not shot, neutered or otherwise administered anything except mom’s milk and the beginnings of eating organic cat food, liver, eggs, and pork stock with a little infusion of cod liver oil. The pickup day is Saturday, June 18th, from 1-3 pm. They are available on a first come, first served basis, and I ask that once I have confirmed your order, you send a check for $25 to me here: Julie Rawson, 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005.

‘Double’ Your Fridge Donation

This year, as in 2021, we will be providing shares to community refrigerators on the streets throughout Worcester. The produce is free for anyone who wants it from refrigerators available 24 hours a day. Last year generous donors helped us by paying for ten such shares.

This year we have a commitment from Worcester Community Fridges to pay for seven such shares ($515 per share through the fall) and we would like to raise enough in donations from our members to double that. Whatever you can give will be welcome and put toward shares. Please make any check payable to MHSC (it can be tax deductible for you this way) and note it is for “Community Fridges”.

Or donate directly here through PayPal.

Thanks to Paula and Danny, Kristin, and Alleah, who together donated $288 this past week.

Donate to Many Hands Sustainability Center here

Personal Health Tips

Simple Edible Spring Flower Recipes

Apple Blossom Ice Cubes

Yep, it’s as simple as it sounds, but the effect of suspended floral decor in liquid is magical. While apple blossoms don’t add much flavor to your beverage, they are perfect for adding a special touch to outdoor meals.

Pick blooms mid-morning on a sunny day to ensure that flowers are fully open. Apple blossoms are notoriously fragile though, so remove from the branch from behind with care. Dunk them in cool water to remove loose pollen, dust or insects. Fill an ice cube tray with water and place the rinsed flower on top. The flower will likely remain flat, face up on top of the water, but try to submerge as much of it as possible. Freeze and use in your favorite drink.

Tip: try infusing water with strawberries or blueberries for tinted (and lightly flavored) ice.

Lilac Infused Honey

Another simple delicacy that preserves the joy of spring for months to come. Lilacs have strong floral notes that are familiar pillars of spring to most Massachusetts residents.

Trim lilac head close to the stem. Some people like to remove the individual flowers from the stem before adding them to the honey, as the stem can add a bitter flavor. But if you want to keep it quick and easy, it’s fine to leave the entire floral head intact. Give the head a good shake to loosen any dead flowers, pollen or insects. (You could also rinse the flowers and then dry them before infusing them, but I find that this causes the flowers to wilt and lose surface area.) Add the lilacs to a clean jar and cover with raw honey. Place the lid on the jar and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least one week. Strain honey through a fine mesh strainer to remove flowers. Store strained honey at room temperature for several months.

Tip: use floral infused honey as a sweetener for lemonade or tea to complement bright flavors.

Strawberry Blossom Maple Lollipops

Similar to floral ice cubes, lollipops add a whimsical spring vibe to get togethers and are a favorite for birthday parties and showers.

Pick strawberry blossoms and remove as much of the stem as possible. Rinse in cool water and lay flat on a sheet of parchment paper, leaving at least a couple of inches between each blossom. Heat maple syrup in a sauce pot to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. (Be sure to use a pot with tall sides, as the boiling syrup will foam up and take up more space than you’d expect.) Once syrup reaches desired temperature, or the hard ball stage, remove from heat and carefully pour about a tablespoon of bot syrup on top of each bloom. Lay the end of a candy stick or popsicle stick to the center of each dollop. Add another tablespoon of syrup over the end of the stick. Allow to cool completely and peel the paper from the lollipop. Wrap individually, or enjoy right away.

Tip: try using real wood twigs from apple trees as popsicle sticks for a purely natural presentation.

Agricultural Education from MHOF

This week’s video collage is about preparing and planting lettuce, kohlrabi and collards.

Watch video on Facebook
Watch video on Instagram

Opportunities from MHOF

It is not too late to join the CSA

CSA starts next week – week of May 30th

But hold on, as May 30 is a holiday, the Monday folks will receive their shares on Tuesday, May 31 (and this is the case for July 4-5 and September 5-6). CSA members will be getting a number of important emails by, and through, next week end. But if you are new and have questions, please read up on pick up locations, protocols, etc., on the website in the CSA section. And then, if you still have questions, be sure to reach out.

If you are planning to join, please do it sooner rather than later. We start the arduous process of making up tags and bags at the end of this week, and we would love to have you in the system before we start this process.

Join the CSA here.

We will have kale and chard

and lettuce

along with oregano and green onions

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

43 times this past week people arrived at work at the farm. That was a total of 19 for me, Clare, Jonathan, and Sam, but there were still another 24. Thanks for the incredible outpouring of volunteer labor. We love it.

Monday crew harvesting chives before they go to seed

14 folks arrived here on Wednesday to work – here we are weeding peas

Volunteer at MHOF

Needing a Place to Live

“Hello, my name is Sam. I am currently looking for a place to live in the Central Mass area. I just graduated college and have a full-time job so I am willing to pay rent up to $1000/month and can help out with any work/chores you need doing. I would also have to bring my dog with me. Please let me know if you have any opportunities like this. Text/call – 603-490-6670 or email – [email protected]. Thank you!”

Paula took this one of Sam and many of our striking photos this week

Free Stuff This Week

We have free seedlings again this week.

We only have free leeks this week, but hope to plant any that are extra by week’s end. Let me know if you would like some, and come over M-F before 3 to collect them.

Farm Doin’s

It was a remarkable week with respect to volunteers. Gary was here overnight Monday and worked all day Tuesday. He came to us via the Nuffield Foundation. He is a dairy farmer from Northern Ireland and in the states for one month visiting a large number of farms. Julia, a Barre resident who is originally from England, came by twice to volunteer. Annette, a homeschool mother, also originally from England, brought her kids for a morning, and then we had the usual cast and crew.

Gary, Jonathan and Clare weeding onions on an early Tuesday morning

During Monday we mulched the blueberries, tarped most of the old black raspberry patch that was taken over by Bishop’s weed, made progress on potato planting (finished on Wednesday), weeded and cut all of the chives (they have a pesky timeline that would have them all going to seed by CSA beginning. With this treatment we will have great fresh chives again by early to mid-June.

Debbie, Leslie, Annette and Julia weeding peas

For our work on Tuesday, we weeded 8 beds of onions and 3 beds of lettuce. On Wednesday we mulched all those onions. We also removed the last two tarps from the pond field garden and moved them over to the far portion of the west field. Those tarps were on for 2 full months from March 15 – May 15. Underneath the soil was rich with worm castings, weed free and almost ready to plant with just a small amount of raking needed.

Jonathan working on prepping for siding while Stu…what is he doing anyway?

On Thursday we prepped and planted 8 beds of carrots and beets and followed those by 9 beds of 5 lettuce, 2 kohlrabi and 2 collards on Friday. Afternoons were spent weeding the rhubarb and elderberries, which we almost finished. Jonathan and company worked a couple of mornings and a couple of afternoons preparing for siding the garage.

Scott and Clare prepping comfrey for drying

We also did a lot of mowing, harvested and dried two large batches of comfrey for salve and tea, and took time out for Franny’s burial on Friday.

Luscious lettuce plants awaiting transplanting

All of the seedlings we started in the previous week ended up in the yellow house for their second stage of life. The front of the hoop house and inside are bursting with seedlings to get into the ground.

his shot shows our hard work in the rhubarb in the foreground and the well-organized pond field garden in the upper right, with garlic doing well in the left of the picture.

As spring seems to jump into summer, we are racing with it!

Julie

Quick Links

Buy CSA
Buy meat
CSA pick up information
Contact Julie
Products available right now at the farm
Become a working shareholder

The abuse that farmers sometimes have to take from their volunteer staff…

Worker St: Wife Pat wants something green; do you have anything green this week?

Owner J: Well, yes we do, but you will have to go pick it. Will you go out and get a bunch of chives for both you and Sc? Really though, St, you are only entitled to a dozen eggs.

Worker Sc: I want to talk about these eggs we get; that is exactly 3 eggs per hour. I would like mine delivered to me once each hour so I can see what I am really earning for all this work, which includes getting eaten alive by black flies!

Worker St: Hold on, this egg carton says ‘incomplete’. Does this mean we aren’t even getting a whole dozen of eggs anymore?

Owner J: Now, St, look inside the recycled box that we use (you do support recycling I suppose) and see that there are indeed 12 eggs in your box. Sorry that there aren’t any blue ones (I know Pat loves them), but we don’t have that kind of chickens anymore.

Worker Sc showing off black fly bites

Worker Sc: (muttering) I am going to have to take all of this up with my lawyer…

Jack and Julie Book Deal

What!  A book?

Yes, gentle reader. Largely through your efforts and support, we have been asked to write a book!

Chelsea Green, an agricultural publisher in Vermont, has asked us to write about our history as individuals and a couple, with a special emphasis on the farm. I guess the level of community support for MHOF is pretty unique for a private farm, and they want us to explain it.

What this means practically is that one day when you are volunteering here Jack may ask you why in the world you are doing it. Or Julie may strike up a conversation about what, if anything, you have learned here and if that has changed anything in your life.

Help us puzzle out this question before our deadline hits (sometime early in 2023) and we are expected to have all the answers! – Jack (and Julie)

‘Double’ Your Fridge Donation

This year, as in 2021, we will be providing shares to community refrigerators on the streets throughout Worcester. The produce is free for anyone who wants it from refrigerators available 24 hours a day. Last year generous donors helped us by paying for ten such shares.

This year we have a commitment from Worcester Community Fridges to pay for seven such shares ($515 per share through the fall) and we would like to raise enough in donations from our members to double that. Whatever you can give will be welcome and put toward shares. Please make any check payable to MHSC (it can be tax deductible for you this way) and note it is for “Community Fridges”.

Or donate directly here through Paypal – https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=LSWR5U4EET7SW

This all came about when Maria Ravelli called us up last month to thank us for donating to the Community Fridge program in 2021. She let us know that their volunteers would be fundraising for shares this year from local businesses and that they wanted to spend some of their earnings with us. Read more about them here in Christy’s press release. I am particularly impressed by these folks because in a volunteer fashion they are taking the food insecurity issue in hand and connecting farmers and consumers directly – no red tape. How elegant.

Donate to MHSC

Personal Health Tips

Dandelion Fritters

View video on YouTube

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dandelion flowers, freshly harvested
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 cups lard or frying oil of choice

Directions

  1. Rinse dandelions in cool water, drain.
  2. Heat lard or other oil in a frying pan to 375 degrees.
  3. Mix cornmeal, arrowroot powder, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add egg and milk. Stir until combined.
  4. Add dandelion flowers one at a time and cover in batter.
  5. Add to hot oil and fry for about 90 seconds.
  6. Flip flowers and fry for an additional 30 seconds.
  7. Remove from oil and allow to cool. Enjoy.

Download Recipe

Lifewave Patches

I have been tinkering with these Lifewave patches for the past 6 months, led by daughter Ellen, and I think it is time to let you know about it, should you be interested. My most valuable take away from them is improved focus, motivation, ability to accomplish what I set out to do, and 2-3 clicks higher on ebullient happiness.

She’s been using this modality to get her life and health fully back from a chronic illness. It’s also been helping many of her clients, specifically with:

  • Significant reductions in pain
  • Lasting and stable energy
  • Better sleep
  • Support with weight loss and fat burning
  • Support with wound repair
  • Improvements in immune function
  • Improvements in detoxification
  • Cessation of anxiety
  • Shifting moods to more positive/happy state

+++TIME SENSITIVE OFFER+++

Ellen is co-hosting with another colleague a series of free classes starting on May 16 to help anyone who wishes to try this modality learn to use it.

Please take a listen to the recorded call to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okYBdcpAchs

After listening, you can email her ([email protected]) if you’d like to join in for the free classes. It’s fine to jump in for the classes after they’ve begun. All will be recorded and shared.

Agricultural Education from MHOF

Potatoes

In 2019 we had the most fantastic bug free potatoes of all time. I was certain that I had finally figured out the perfect balance of cultural practices, fertility, hilling, weekly sprays, etc. to accomplish the almost 5 pounds per plant that we harvested. Alas the next two harvests were one or two steps above abysmal.

But the wonderful thing about farming and farmers is that we have very short memories and hope springs eternal in our breasts. So this year, ready to take the potato world by storm we made our plans. Around April 1 we hoed any greenery out of our potential patch and then broadcasted field peas and oats. This past Friday we cleared a strip of cover crops, dug holes every two feet or so, put in a cup of our fertilizer, sprayed them with our transplant drench, dropped in the potatoes and covered them over.  I will report on this work in progress and see what happens by year’s end.

March 31 prepping soil for potatoes

Nice cover of oats and peas with some dandelions and grass which were easy enough to clear away.

Laurie spreading fertilizer in holes.

Potatoes in holes.

Opportunities from MHOF

It is not too late to join the CSA

Shares are rolling in as we reach the finish line. Don’t tarry. We start in just 2 weeks.

Clare and I are praying that this lettuce will be in your initial share. With this marvelous weather we are having, it is looking promising.

Join the CSA

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

All of a sudden our Friday working shareholder day has significantly depopulated. So, looking for folks right now particularly for Fridays, but we can talk about other days also. See below for details.

Volunteer at MHOF

Free Stuff this Week

We have free seedlings again this week.

Leeks, Chard, Brussels Sprouts, Collards and Parsley

Farm Doin’s

We had another strong week of accomplishments in the planting realm. We cleared off and planted 5 beds of collards and kale with Stetson folks, Danny, Peter and Debbie.

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Then on to finishing up the west field open areas with 4 beds of cabbage with Paula. Next we prepped 8 beds and planted 6 to leeks with our big Wednesday crew of Laurie, Debbie, CJ, Aidan, Kerri, Leslie, Meghan and Arlo.

The many hands that helped plant our leeks this week

Watch video on Facebook
Watch video on Instagram

On Thursday Clare and Scott and I finished the leeks and got 4 beds of Brussels sprouts in while Jonathan and Stu worked assiduously on the garage project, now prepping for siding. With Friday’s potato work and John and Jonathan advancing the garage, Chuk finished up that project for the week with a new side door to replace the very ratty one.

On a more personal note, Jack and I hosted 31 Kittredge’s for Thanksgiving in May on Saturday followed by our Circle of Song spring concert. It was a full week.

Quick Links

Buy CSA
Buy meat
CSA pick up information
Contact Julie
Products available right now at the farm
Become a working shareholder

What is inside a carpenter’s head?

Hi Julie –

Long-time reader, first time writer. While I understand that running a farm obligates you to write about mulch and all that nonsense, it seems like there’s a fair bit of renovation going on at the farm this year. Having employed a number of carpenters myself over the years, I thought I could save you some trouble and offer my top ten tips for handling them.

  1. Carpenters in the wild are a prey species. Your readers may have noticed that even your domesticated ones are highly skittish and tend to bunch up into small packs, and that their eyes are set surprisingly far apart. It’s important to remember that carpenters have excellent peripheral vision, so when you approach them you should do so slowly, and with your hands in plain sight. Carpenters generally have one eye on the table saw, as well, so avoid touching it or placing anything on top of it, as your carpenter will take this to be a sign of aggression.

  2. Carpenters love pencils of all types, and use them for a wide variety of purposes – push-stick, shim, paint stirrer, etc. If you see your carpenter using a gnawed-down stub of crayon, or marking cuts with dirt or chalk or – God forbid – a pen, offer your carpenter a pencil. You’ll make a friend for life. The type of pencil is less important – regular dull #2 pencils with a broken eraser are a safe bet, and those short golf pencils aren’t bad, but should you have a new carpenter’s pencil, its price is far above rubies (since rubies are basically useless in carpentry). Don’t be offended if your carpenter doesn’t immediately start using the pencil you offer; pencils are meant to be smelled and fondled and lightly nuzzled with the lips several times before use.

  3. Avoid using technical jargon. In your heart of hearts you might want to walk up to the job-site, cock your head back, and let fly with “Your roof angle looks to be a 3-in-12 pitch, but the use of a furring strip for a rain-screen will force that siding member further away from the sheathing, thereby making your angle template less accurate. Are you planning a slight back-bevel on the rake cut, or will you hide the problem with a tapered frieze member?” but you should refrain from doing so. No one likes a show-off. Also, you run the risk of getting swatted with one of the afore-mentioned furring strips.

  4. Since you won’t be using jargon, your best bet is to call any piece of wood you see a board. There should be boards somewhere on the farm, so, like a stopped clock with only one hand, you’re bound to be somewhat right eventually (I’m making the assumption, here, that the majority of your readership knows what an analog clock is). In a pinch, you can safely refer to a 2×4 as a ‘stick’. You can also use ‘stick’ when referring to actual sticks. Or large twigs. Furthermore, never refer to ‘sixteenths’; call them, instead, ‘the little lines on the measuring thingie’. Pro tip: sections of plywood are the sole exception to the ‘board’ rule above.

  • 4a) Never, under any circumstances, use the expression ‘do construction’, as in “So you do construction?” It is both grammatically incorrect and unspeakably asinine.

  1. Build a straw man. That is, while expressing your lack of fitness to judge such things, mention that, say, “my brother done cut down a passel of trees and nailed ‘em together to build a porch, and he said it worked out jes’ dandy.” Your carpenter, though initially reticent to criticize, will press you for further information, chuckle grimly at the details you spill, and his visage will grow dark with rage at all ‘hacks’ and ‘weekend warriors’ and anyone who performs ‘cob-jobs’. This approach is ideal, because not only are you not the bad guy in this situation, you have aligned yourself with the agent of all things level and plumb and true. Uncles and brothers-in-law make for the best straw men.

  2. Having established to your carpenter’s satisfaction that you are a harmless neophyte, you will watch him undergo an amazing transformation. Your carpenter will shed his diffidence, quit mumbling numbers, and make direct eye contact, albeit briefly. Inquiring after the progress of the project at hand will unleash a veritable torrent of arcane carpentry trivia, hastily rendered and unintelligible sketches on scraps of framing, and a lot of sentences which begin with “If only I could get it square…” and tail off into silence. Make sure to nod your head a lot, throw up your hands when fastening patterns are discussed, and mimic your carpenter’s facial expressions, so he understands that you understand.

  3. Make sure to address the high cost and low quality of framing lumber ‘these days’. Rest assured that you cannot possibly go wrong with this approach. Framing lumber has always been too costly and scarce and has never been straight enough. Gilgamesh had to battle a demon to get his hands on enough old-growth cedar to build a gate. In the time of Pliny the Elder, Roman carpenters had to travel all the way to Germany to find lumber. Complaining about lumber is like cheating on your taxes: everyone does it and it will never go out of style.

  4. If you are significantly older than your carpenter, you are permitted to make factually incorrect statements, such as “I remember when a 2×4 was two inches by four inches” or “I never needed a chalk-line; I could always cut a straight line by eye” or even “The obvious skill you bring to your craft will no doubt be appreciated in its own right, rather than being ignored by most people in favor of cheap cosmetic finishes.” You are even allowed to use the word ‘ship-lap’, but only in reference to barn siding and only if you have never heard of Joanna Gaines.

  5. Having established that you’re not a predator, your carpenter will soon begin discussing his fears, concerns and regrets. His fears will be predominantly structural (Why couldn’t they pour the slab level?), his concerns will be mechanical (…but an in-swing door only gets me so far. What about the jamb extensions?) and his regrets typical (Where did I go wrong in life? Why didn’t I take up chicken-plucking? I’ve got fast hands. There’s good money in chicken plucking!) Just remember that these are all part of the seven stages of carpentry (mis-measuring, re-measuring, hammering it until it fits, despair, checking for plumb, cutting a third time to find that it’s still too short, and leaving it for later). Once your carpenter works through this process, remember to use the phrase “and despite all that, you got everything straight and plumb!” Your carpenter will return to the job at hand with a renewed sense of purpose, a hammer in his hand and a dream in his heart.

  6. Remember that carpenters love morning pastry. They’ll never turn down a rugelach or a bialy, they go nuts for donuts, and a warm blueberry muffin will bring tears of real joy into their eyes. They also love beer, but only if it’s cold, only around 4:30 pm on Fridays, and only strong IPAs, because the flavor profile of an IPA pairs well with sawdust from spruce, pine, fir, and even some native hardwoods.

The above rules also apply to female carpenters. Don’t mistake their slightly smaller physical stature for weakness. They’re tougher than their male counterparts, and better at tearing down ceilings – glass, drywall, or otherwise.

Here’s to successful future carpentry projects!

– A Local Contractor

Personal Health Tips

Rhubarb Honey Mustard Dressing

View video on YouTube
View video on Facebook

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced rhubarb (1-2 stalks)
  • ½ cup diced onion (about 1 small onion)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs dijon mustard
  • Sea salt to taste
  • ⅔ cup avocado oil (or mild tasting oil of choice)

Directions:

  1. Mix water and honey together in a medium sauce pot, bring almost to a boil.
  2. Add rhubarb and onion. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring often.
  3. Add vinegar and lemon juice. Mix well.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Place mixture into a blender. Add mustard and sea salt.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. While mixture is blending, slowly add oil in a steady stream until fully immersed.
  8. Use as a salad dressing while warm, or allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Download Recipe

Agricultural Education from MHOF

Here are some quick videos from this past week. I was on an iPhone vacation this week so the videos and pictures are in a bit of a short supply this week.

We race up to June 1st to get things done that we won’t realistically get back to until after the CSA ends in late November.

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

On one acre of land drench around your trees and small fruits the following recipe from AEA:

  • 1 gallon SeaShield
  • 2 quarts Rejuvenate
  • 1 quart HoloCal
  • 1 quart SeaCrop
  • 20 grams spectrum

Opportunities from MHOF

It is not too late to join the CSA- three weeks until the opening

We are right around 100 folks and still taking CSA members. Don’t tarry! Though I am not one to be afraid of food shortages, that might be because we have about 75% control of our food production here at the farm. Whatever your motivation to join the CSA, you will be rewarded by good food, good health, and a vibrant community.

A fall share

Join the CSA here

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

All of a sudden our Friday working shareholder day has significantly depopulated. So, looking for folks right now particularly for Fridays, but we can talk about other days also.

Danny is moving to a full-time working shareholder – and take a close look at the early chard and kale for the CSA.

Volunteer at MHOF – info here

Free Stuff this Week

We have some curly and flat parsley in excess, and still have red raspberries to dig. We also have left over chard plants that are worth saving.

Emails from Subscribers

Have a happy Mother’s Day. You are a wonderful mother to your children and the earth God gave us. Thank you. There aren’t enough like you around. 

Coleen and Andrew

Thanks for the kind words about Mother’s Day. I don’t think I will need any other gifts tomorrow!

Julie

Musical  Opportunities

Circle of Song Concert, May 14

7 pm at the Barre Town Hall. We would love to see you there.

Play with the Quabbin Community Band this summer

This ensemble and its predecessors are over 100 years old. Truly a community band, QCB is made up of professionals all the way down to beginners. We read each concert on a Monday night and play it the next Sunday for 10 concerts. All are welcome to drop in and to take off as vacation or other plans conflict. We start rehearsals on Monday, May 9 at the Barre Town Hall, 6:30 – 8:30 pm and our first concert is Sunday, June 19, Father’s Day. Contact me if you are needing a nudge to pull out the instrument. Margaret Reidy is our conductor this summer, a consummate musician, director and very fun to work with.

Farm Doin’s

We are picking our way through May with a combined farm purpose of getting our perennials all taken care of to be left alone until season’s end and to move forward in the slow slog to get everything planted. We also need to balance weeding and mulching early crops in a timely fashion.

This week we actually didn’t plant much, though we finished our four onion seedling beds early in the week. We did get 4 beds prepped in the west field, and did a foray into our potato planting operation. The garden is where they will go and the early hoeing and adding oats and peas worked quite well. We will develop furrows to plant the potatoes (next week) in the mulch. Later we will hill them, mulch close up and leave the cover crops to grow.

The same idea in the front of the south didn’t work so we spent some time on Thursday removing 2 tarps from the pond field (soon to be leeks and other things) and put those on the front of the south.

In gold star country we weeded and mulched four of our onion sets beds. We had covered them with row cover and germination was astounding (for the weeds and the onions). They are now under a beautiful bed of straw mulch.

And much progress on perennial fruits – moved and trimmed red raspberries, black raspberries, and blackberries and hardy kiwi, our rose hill, our juneberries and gooseberries. All are sporting new straw mulch. Blueberries are in process.

Danny mulching blueberries

This looks like a nice place in which to take an afternoon nap.

Jonathan and company finished the brooder in time to receive our new chicks on Friday and now a front door, continued work on windows, pull down door to attic of the garage and then siding. I think I would like to retire with Jack to the brooder house when the time comes!

Baby layers at home in their new digs.

I had a nice chat with some residents at the Barre Family Health Center on Friday accompanied by a great PowerPoint about the farm that Christy put together.

Franny likes to keep her dead chickens close at hand.

Skippy surveying for marauders.

I suspect that you farmers out there are as weary as we are at the end of the day as we all build our “farm strength”.

Julie

Happy Birthday Ellen, and, let’s talk about rock dust

Happy Birthday, Ellen, and while we are at it, let’s talk about rock dust

Ellen arrived 10 days after her due date, right after my dad and mom arrived to help with the homebirth and my dad noted that it was time to get on with the show. So labor I did, and Ellen was met by her brothers Dan and Paul, mom and dad, me and Jack and a number of birthing friends. It was an easy birth and the last 42 years with Ellen have been a joy indeed. Every woman should have such a daughter! That night we went out to the Blarney Stone for supper and Jack and dad finished putting in a new linoleum floor in the kitchen that weekend.

Crushed basalt rock, or rock dust, is plentiful around here. We got 22 tons from Rock Dust Local in the fall of 2020. Beautiful and green and satiny soft it was, and we spread it with abandon on the farm over the winter of 20-21. But it was this year that we noticed the incredible difference in the soil structure as we started making beds – rich in texture and almost greasy. Check out Graeme Sait’s most recent podcast in which he frontlines with a discussion of this marvelous material which you can get relatively cheap (ours cost $1000). Full of almost every known mineral, this stuff, when worked on by the weathering forces and the microbial forces can change your agricultural enterprise into a paradise.

anchor.fm/nutrition-farming

Personal Health Tips

Homemade Pea Soup

View video on YouTube
View video on Facebook

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz dried split peas
  • 1 pork hock or meaty bone
  • 2 quarts pork stock
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 medium carrots
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Chives (optional)

Directions:

  1. Soak peas in water for at least 1 hour, up to 8 hours.
  2. Drain water and place soaked peas in a stock pot.
  3. Add pork hock and pork stock.
  4. Simmer on medium low for 4 hours. The peas should have fully broken down by this point. If not, continue simmering until they do.
  5. Remove meaty bone and allow to cool.
  6. Chop onions and carrots, sauté in butter until tender.
  7. Remove meat from bone and shred.
  8. Add shredded pork and vegetables to soup. Simmer a bit longer (20 minutes or so) to allow seasonings to disperse and vegetables to soften.
  9. Serve while hot. Top with chopped chives if desired.

Download recipe here.

Agricultural Education from MHOF

Prepping beds in the west field

 

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Harvesting burdock

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Tarp removal – better to let them wait at least two more weeks – but the spring calls

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Tip layering with black raspberries

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Comfrey!

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Chinese Cabbage

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Opportunities from MHOF

Consider joining the MHOF CSA to change the way you eat!

As we enter May we have only 4 weeks left until the beginning of the CSA. We have 93 members at the moment. SNAP customers get free delivery. We can set up payment plans for those who have a challenge paying the freight.

November 1, 2021

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

Our guest this week was Karen, friend of the ever resourceful Kerri. We still have slots open for those who would like to come regularly or irregularly. Enquire.

Volunteer at MHOF

New Staff Member

Sam graduates from Clark this month. She has shown herself to be a real asset here as a Saturday working shareholder, and as she doesn’t start her full-time job with NRCS until July 5, I asked her this week end if she would like to spend the intervening 7 weeks with us. We sealed the deal and she starts May 16.

Farm Store Hours – we actually had some visitors last Tuesday night – what a treat!

Monday-Friday: 12-1 pm
plus
Tuesday: 5-7pm
Friday: 5-7pm

Always call ahead to be sure of supply
(978) 355-2853; (978) 257-1192

Available This Week

  1. Free range organic eggs at $8/dozen – we newly added free choice kelp to their now full-farm free range lifestyle

  2. Tinctures (Holy basil, burdock, yellow dock) – 2 ounce bottles – $12 each

  3. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $10 each

  4. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each

  5. 2 ounce jars of calendula salve – $10 each

  6. Garlic powder – $10/2 ounce

  7. Frozen pork stock – $7.50/quart

  8. Frozen chicken stock – $7.50/quart

  9. Frozen pork cuts –regular ribs, ground pork and roasts – $12/lb.

  10. Ham and bacon – $18/lb.

Purchase MHOF products

Free Stuff this Week

We will probably have some extra onion seedlings this week. Check in after Tuesday when we have them all planted.

Better Late than Never Department

I forgot that Clare and Cathleen worked hard for a few weeks to prepare for the River Rat Canoe Race that happened back on April 9. They walked away with two prizes in the “girls” and “Leisure canoe” departments and won $75 each. Next year it is first place for sure.

We were too busy cheering and throwing them fried chicken as they canoed by to get a shot of them in the water!

Emails from Subscribers

Hi Julie, 

Nice newsletter, as always.  If I wasn’t so busy over here with umpteen things, I’d go over to MH to volunteer myself, such a source of everything healthy and good. 

Here’s a thought, from a Buddhist perspective:   Buddha said that perpetrators and victims just reverse themselves over time.   When you see perpetrators of any kind of cruelty or abuse, you are also looking at eventual victims because: “The function of human beings is to act.  The function of feeling is to experience the effect of your action.”   

I wonder, if all the people in the world now praying (mental action, actually very powerful according to Buddha, in fact the most powerful action one can take if constant, sincere, and free of attachment) for Ukraine also prayed for Vladimir Putin, if that would have a faster effect and much more comprehensive.  Prayers for millions of people are good important, but what if every person praying also prayed sincerely for Putin, for a change of heart, for a ceasing of the actions he is now taking which will all “ripen” sooner or later in the form of almost unimaginable suffering, to protect him and keep him also safe?   If perpetrators and victims circle, and we’ve all been both many times, then it makes sense to have compassion for everyone equally.  This, Buddha said, is “beneficial view,” meaning whether or not it is true doesn’t even matter.  Sincere compassion and prayer for victims and perpetrators equally only serves to create compassionate energy in the space we all occupy.   Can’t lose. 

Lloyd

Thanks as always for your Buddhist perspective, Lloyd, and do pop over to volunteer someday – feel free to come through the woods if it is shorter! Julie


Good morning, Julie!  I love reading your newsletter. You pack great info each issue.

What is amazing is that lots of stuff you write about I’ve studied, read or am partially familiar with, and this week is no exception.

Four summers ago EHS teachers and staff read Growth Mindset over the summer and had a pool party book club to discuss takeaways. Great book, so I’m excited to read the one you discuss in your latest newsletter. I’m going to reserve it at the library today.

The Hawaiian prayer you reference a few weeks back is something my ND acquainted me with four years ago. Such cool stuff. Love how everything comes full circle.

Thanks for all you impart. I enjoy it all. Have a sparkling day, Julie!

Blessings,
Barbara

Thanks, as always, Barbara, for your upbeat and supportive presence in my life. ❤Julie


Hi Julie,

I see from your newsletter that things are moving along nicely at Many Hands. I really enjoy following along!

I wanted to thank you for sharing the Noam

Chomsky interview; he continues to be such a marvelous, clear and honest thinker.

We have been noting the pre invasion choices made by the US in my household and the way we have forced the situation since just before the war began. We (U.S.) do love war, chemicals, concrete, etc. 

Anyway, I always love when my ideas are confirmed by Chomsky.

Glad you are all well. Nice to see Kameron highlighted! I’ve been working at lindentree a few days a week. Only a few miles away… 

Miss you all. My best to Clare and Jonathon and Leslie.

Liz

Thanks for checking in, Liz, and thanks for mentioning the US activities of last fall which may point to why this war got started in the first place. I do believe that we need to honestly look at our own dirty hands in these world events. Good advice for us as individuals, or as a wise person once put it, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Best to you, Julie


Happy Spring! I really enjoy your emails–thank you for all the time you put into them.

I had a question for you about the straw mulch on my 60# of garlic. In spots it’s quite thick so I’ve had to hunt for the sprouting garlic and assist it to light. My question is whether I should be completely removing the mulch this time of year in order to air the ground out and maximize sunshine, or should I take advantage of the moisture holding and weed barrier it provides and leave it be. 

And do you water and fertilize yours in upcoming weeks or already now?

Thank you!!!

Hi Renee,

Happy Spring to you too! I hope things are going well at UMass. Glad the newsletter works for you. It is fun to have a mouthpiece.

Here is our protocol with garlic. We definitely go through each row of each bed and assist anyone who got stuck in the mulch. That is what we did last week. But then we gave it a spring fertilization with our mix listed here. This is our mix based on our history and our Logan Labs soil test as to what we need on our farm. Of this mix below we spread 2 gallons on each 600 square feet bed.

  • 4 lbs. Solubor
  • 5 lbs. Redman salt
  • 30 lbs. Potassium sulfate
  • 15 lbs. Manganese sulfate
  • 4 lbs. Zinc sulfate
  • 25 lbs. Gypsum
  • 2 lbs. Elemental sulfur
  • 100 lbs. Pro Gro

Additionally we spray our garlic each week with our vegetative spray which is the following recipe. Of course we only spray a small amount of this recipe that is mixed with 3 1/2 gallons of water (1 quart of the mix per tank).

  • 2 quarts holocal
  • 2 quarts photomag
  • 1 quart sea stim
  • 1 pint rebound Manganese
  • 1 pint rebound copper
  • 1 cup rebound iron
  • 25 grams micro 5000
  • 1 pint rejuvenate
  • 1 quart of saturated epsom salts

I am all in favor of leaving the mulch on, and even enhancing it with more mulch (which we did last week) after harvesting all the dandelions that came up. I have found that with this management strategy I can almost entirely ignore the garlic until we go in to harvest the scapes in late June. The thick mulch encourages many earthworms and a rich microbial plentiful soil.

Best, Julie


Hi Julie, 

I had just one other garlic question. When I apply the spring fertilization, I’m assuming I need to remove all of the straw mulch so that it’s applied directly to the soil. Is that true? I have 60 pounds of garlic so if that’s the case it will be quite tedious…!

And as far as applying the fish emulsion, is it just as effective to use a watering can and add that on top of the mulch (or directly to the soil if that’s better)?

Thank you!!!

Top of mulch, Renee, it will get there as it needs to. Save time!

Musical  Opportunities

Circle of Song Concert, May 14

You are cordially invited to our spring concert of the Circle of Song on this May 14 at 7 pm at the Barre Town Hall, corner of Exchange Street and Mechanic (the big white box on the east side of the Common). We will be performing the following pieces – Silver Rain, African Psalm, Can’t Buy Me Love, Lullaby, Alma Llanera, Locus Iste guest conducted by the composer, Tom Martin, Isle of Hope, Last Words of David, Sounds of Silence, Down by the Riverside, Celtic Blessing and a horn and piano duet. There will be great refreshments at the end, including Jack’s famous deviled eggs.

Play with the Quabbin Community Band this summer

This ensemble and its predecessors are over 100 years old. Truly a community band, QCB is made up of professionals all the way down to beginners. We read each concert on a Monday night and play it the next Sunday for 10 concerts. All are welcome to drop in and to take off as vacation or other plans conflict. We start rehearsals on Monday, May 9 at the Barre Town Hall, 6:30 – 8:30 pm and our first concert is Sunday, June 19, Father’s Day. Contact me if you are needing a nudge to pull out the instrument. Margaret Reidy is our conductor this summer, a consummate musician, director and very fun to work with.

Farm Doin’s

Big changes to the brooder house this week. Jonathan, Stu and John are mostly responsible for this great restructuring, along with regular morning calls from Chuk to check in with “Big Dog” on all the minutia of turning this once shabby brooding area into a chicken palace.

 

   

We did accomplish the planting of our chard, parsley, spinach, a bed of Chinese cabbage and two of the four beds of onion seedlings. This was amidst excessive wind, cold, some hail and rain, blowing tarps (they just love to take off on these super windy days). In the greenhouse we started our tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and broccoli over the course of 3 days.

We moved some black raspberries into a new location, almost bought a “new truck” (it still needs a little work to make this beater our beater), chopped up some Clare donated Japanese knotweed for tincture, and harvested another round of burdock, yellow dock and dandelions.

Christy put me on a picture budget as I have been a bit extravagant of late.

I surely hope that the week of May 2 isn’t as cold or windy as the week of April 25 was!

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Kamarin

Kamarin

A moment of rest with Skippy

Remarkable people come along from time to time. I would like to give a shout out to this one. Kamarin has been volunteering with the Stetson folks over the past year or so. We nabbed him for February vacation and were able to engage his help this April vacation also. All I can say is that I wish I had it together like he does when I was 18.

He quickly became one of the crew this week and by Wednesday he had his own batch of 6 Clark students to manage when they came to visit this week. They came to me afterward unsolicited to give glowing reports of his leadership. Kamarin is fast, congenial, strong, the first to step forward for the heavy or hard jobs and amazingly patient with little kids (four here on Thursday), younger teens (two of them here on Friday) and not afraid to speak up on management issues.

I had to laugh when on Friday afternoon Kamarin kindly but firmly suggested to Clare that her strawberry holes might be too close. As Friday closed out with Clare, Kamarin and I speeding through the planting of hundreds of tomato and broccoli seeds, I reflected on the great fortune that we have here at MHOF to come across people like Kamarin who share a bit of their extraordinary life journeys with us.

Turtles

Touche, Jeffie, Bumper joined the realm of the recently hatched this week, and we found them in the soon to be onion patch. Though there is still some dispute regarding whether they are painteds or snappers, they are now happily living at Stetson School and cared for by Kamarin and many friends and staff members.

At the beginning of life

Personal Health Tips

“Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Peter Brown and Henry Roediger is not a sexy book, but is filled with some interesting well documented studies about successful learning/teaching strategies and personal stories of folks who have taken learning retention to the highest levels.

Discussion of “knock knock virtuosity”, the famous marshmallow study, building a structure within which to enhance learning, and discussion of human intelligences caught my interest. I was particularly interested to learn that interleaving learning rather than cramming is always more successful for long term retention. The personal stories were engaging and illustrative – of a brain surgeon, a parachute jumper, and the kid who started his sales career at age 10 by hitch hiking from a non-fireworks state to one where they were legal with an empty suitcase, buying up the fireworks, bringing them home and selling them for a profit.

The authors reference the work of Carol Dweck and her famous book “Mindset” which separates those who have a growth mindset from those who believe they have already arrived (thanks Christy Bassett, for giving me that book as a gift). All good food for thought for the teacher, people manager or lifelong learner.

Agricultural Education from MHOF

Here are a handful of our videos from the week.

Fertilizer management

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Apple understory

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Freeing the garlic from the overwintering mulch

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Chickens commenting on their upcoming move

View video on Facebook

Grape pruning wrap up

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Plugging the mushroom logs

View video on Facebook

Strawberry transplanting – sorry about the fingers!

View video on Facebook

More Education

Political Comment – Ukraine

I have been troubled, as I am sure most of you are, about the recent war in Ukraine. It seems that there is war somewhere in the world all the time these days. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just respect each other’s boundaries? I don’t feel that we can easily get unbiased reporting anymore (if we ever could) about world events. Luckily there are intelligent and long-haul political analysts who can provide perspective. I encourage you to take a listen to this thoughtful interview with Noam Chomsky, now 93 years old, on “What can we do?”

Invasive Jumping Worms

Everyone is talking about these guys these days and I was happy to learn a little more about them so I can answer questions about how I feel about them. This is quite informative regarding ID. Basically, if you pull back the mulch and they are thrashing about, you got ‘em! What to do about them? My advice is to give them more mulch to eat, not to lose sleep, try to kill them or otherwise agonize over yet one more invasive and how we can control it. I think that it is time for us to realize that nature brings us these “invasives” including Japanese knotweed, Bishop’s weed, and even corona viruses to help right the balance in our world. I will always choose diversity and healthy management of our bodies, those of our pets and livestock and our soil microorganisms as the horse I am betting on. Listen here-https://nofamasspodcast.libsyn.com/

Opportunities from MHOF

Consider joining the MHOF CSA to change the way you eat!

5 weeks and counting until the CSA starts.

If the subscriptions keep up like they came in this week, we will sell out. Don’t be caught without your food!

October 25, 2021

Join the CSA here.

Meat Available for Pre-Order

I know it is very early, and we won’t even get the baby turkey poults until early July, but you can place your order for a Thanksgiving turkey anytime now.

November 16, 2021

View video on Facebook
View video on Instagram

Purchase MHOF meat here.

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

New this week are Jill and Jack, Sunday volunteers, Alex came with her mom, Alannah came with her mom, and Peter has joined us on Mondays for the season. Enquire about becoming a working shareholder.

Jill and Jack helping move birds

Peter prepping beds for radish and turnips

Alannah here with her mom

Alex here with her mom

Tonya planting onions

More information on volunteering at MHOF here.

Farm Store Hours

Monday-Friday: 12-1 pm
plus
Tuesday: 5-7pm
Friday: 5-7pm

Always call ahead to be sure of supply
(978) 355-2853; (978) 257-1192

Available This Week

  1. Free range organic eggs at $8/dozen – we newly added free choice kelp to their now full-farm free range lifestyle

  2. Tinctures (Holy basil, burdock, yellow dock) – 2 ounce bottles – $12 each

  3. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $10 each

  4. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each

  5. 2 ounce jars of calendula salve – $10 each

  6. Garlic powder – $10/2 ounce

  7. Frozen pork stock – $7.50/quart

  8. Frozen chicken stock – $7.50/quart

  9. Frozen pork cuts –regular ribs, ground pork and roasts – $12/lb.

  10. Ham and bacon – $18/lb.

Purchase MHOF products here.

Free Stuff this Week

We are going to rip out a couple of red raspberry rows. Come by this week 8-3 Monday – Friday to take home some of Mom’s Latham summer berries. Last call for these – they will be gone by week’s end.

Raspberry canes

Other Opportunities

Terry Cline is a neighbor and good friend of ours who is a very talented and out of the box architect. You can reach him below for help with your next project.

Farm Doin’s

Overall for the week we were happy on the farm side to finish pruning the grapes and getting them all fertilized, mulched or cover cropped with crimson clover.

Paula really got into her fertilizer spreading

Managing the big straw bales for mulch

We also finished weeding strawberries and moving errant berries out of the pathways and into the two beds. We still need to better hoe the pathways and get them heavily mulched. Tuesday in the rain we mixed and spread fertilizer for our fruit trees, and did some mulching around the house. We weeded many dandelions out of the garlic and preserved them and then added an extra layer of straw mulch to those three beds.

Big onion planting crew on a very cold Wednesday morning

Clark students at work prepping for lettuce planting

And planting it

We planted our remaining 8 beds of onion sets, and also a bed of radishes, one of salad turnips and 2 of cilantro. Finally, we planted three beds of lettuce, our first transplanting of the season. We also started 30 more flats of vegetables in the greenhouse and weeded our in-ground lettuce in the yellow hoop house.

I couldn’t pass up this beautiful sunrise on Friday morning

Skippy, Franny and Dingo making plans for the day

We finally received the proper bit in the mail to plug our shiitake logs which we accomplished on Friday. Jonathan, Stu and Kamarin made huge progress on the garage brooder house which jumped substantially when Chuk showed up on Friday and Saturday. We are getting closer to have a state of the art brooder house all ready for the young layers who will arrive in just over a week. We also got 5 cords of wood stacked away in our barn woodshed such that it is now full.

We had four saws operating on Friday

Dave Petrovick did some substantial work on our sprayers such that we now have two functioning sprayers. Peter has added to our sprayer crew for weekly veg and fruit foliars (administered daily in rotation through the week). These sprayers also come into hard use when we are planting and transplanting in the field. Thanks Dave, for excellent mechanical support of the highest quality!

Laying out our soaked seeds for drying and planting in the greenhouse

Finishing touches on the grape trellises

We accomplished all of this with all of our working shareholders and school vacation family members and a planned visit by Morgan Ruelle’s beginning environmental science class of 24 volunteers from Clark University. Many thanks to Morgan and students!

Clare is a topnotch machine operator

Clare and Kamarin reconnoitering over late in the day Friday seedling planting

Lots of planting next week, perennial management, and brooder completion planned.

We had a blast this week!

-Julie