Weekly newsletters

Hum for Humanity

Everyone is talking about the big solar eclipse that is happening today.
https://www.npr.org/sections/solar-eclipse/2024/04/04/1242568508/solar-eclipse-april-8-2024-watch – this website tells you what time it will be with you – looks like 3:23-3:33 for us in Barre. The Hum for Humanity folks – https://youtu.be/0RguQBgtmAc?si=ZqYE9jW8qG38BmYs -want us all to hum on middle C for the duration. Now, I think this is really cool. Especially supporting this “Science of Awe” researcher Paul Piff has done research that shows the being in Awe makes us more meaning, health, humility, and kindness. https://paulpiff.wixsite.com/meshlab. And what will be more awesome for all of us than to be “together” as this solar eclipse flows over us today. Jack and I will be out on the front lawn this afternoon with our eclipse glasses. I hope you all will take a minute to stop what you are doing, and enjoy this special event which will not happen at this level for 20 more years.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

It goes to Luke MacLean this week. As you might remember, he recently joined our staff after hanging in the periphery for 1 1/2 years. Not only does he have an even and calm presence, but he moves steadily and competently through each day, and is a young enough male to be able to do the heavy lifting without compromising his frame. He is humble, but very skilled at whatever he takes on. The frosting on the cake is that he has incredible IT skills and over the past two weeks has helped both me and Jack clean up a few computer and cell phone issues. I spent a moment observing him fixing my cell phone and took pleasure in his utter enjoyment at the fixes he was making. Yes, folks, we have been gifted another winner! Thanks, Luke.

Videos

I turned 71 on Monday

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Raking in the cover crop seeds on an area that will later be corn

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Enhancing our aronia plantation

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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 April 5, we have raised $23,662.21. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 29.51%. – up 4.13% from last week

Order your Summer CSA share here

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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.

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 https://www.woofridge.org/ 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 $3,353.46. Thanks to Petra and Kathy for very 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 $1,526.54. We are within striking distance!

Check out this link to find out more about the Community Fridges locations in Worcester – https://www.woofridge.org/locations

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 two workshops. You can find the others on the website here – https://mhof.net/events-workshops/

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.

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Register for Workshops

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Haddock Chowder
Clare, Marissa and I made lunch for Julie’s birthday on Monday.  I made Haddock Chowder.  Picture is of the lunch including Clare’s amazing lasagna and Marissa’s mashed potatoes.  Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Haddock, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1 cup Celery, sliced
  • 1 large purple Onion, chopped
  • 4 large Red Potatoes, diced
  • 1.5 quarts of Chicken bone broth
  • 1 quart of Summer Squash puree
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3 T Ghee
  •  1 cup Cream

Directions:

  1. Sauté celery, onions and spices in ghee for 4 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes, broth, and puree.   Cook until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add in Haddock and cook until fish is done.
  4. Add cream.

Serve hot!

Farm Doins

As is always the case with Mondays, we were spread all over the farm, each with our tasks at hand. Danny, Stu and Jim finished more than half of the barn woodshed roofing job.

After successfully moving the chickens up to the annex, the rest of us put back some tarps (about 10) following the previous Friday’s sever winds

And then moved on to the ever-decreasing pile of wood

But we had to take a short break to receive the VT Compost truck, and clean off a corner of the driveway end

Then Clare and her crew dragged the potting soil off the road

Over Monday and Tuesday we finished hoeing our uncovered fields (ran out of tarps) and then on Wednesday we broadcast oats and peas for a spring cover crop. We also hauled a bunch of rocks off of what used to be a stone wall between the south and pond fields, loaded a bunch of potting soil into the basement, worked more on our water and shock system, and finally mowed that old wall, followed by the daily dose of wood cutting and splitting.

Wednesday we planted aronia, moved an errant bale of hay out of the pond field, planted some lettuce, and cleaned out the chicken house – all in increasingly more unpleasant weather.

Friday we finished the chicken house and finished the wood pile, filling all of our woodsheds to overflowing. It was a great way to end the week!

Our final log

Julie

Quick Links

Buy meat
CSA pick up information
Contact Julie
Products available right now at the farm
Become a working shareholder
Donate to the MHSC
Links Workshops

Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/

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

Peepers
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.

Videos

Danny explains the door to the alcove

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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

LOVING THE LIVER IN SPRINGTIME

– 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! https://ellenkittredge.com/7-day-cleanse.php

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 https://www.woofridge.org/ 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 – https://www.woofridge.org/about

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 – https://mhof.net/events-workshops/

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.

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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 – https://www.nofamass.org/event/keeping-the-soil-covered-tarps-cover-crops-mulch/

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

Register for Workshops

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!

Julie

Quick Links

Buy meat
CSA pick up information
Contact Julie
Products available right now at the farm
Become a working shareholder
Donate to the MHSC
Links Workshops

Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/

“The task of liberated people is not to scold the world and preach to it, but to delight it back to its senses.” ~Alan Watts

I like to have fun at whatever I do, so I resonate with this statement thoroughly. For sure, it involves stopping the shaming and judging of others, which for me has been a lifelong challenge, but in time and with lots of practice, we can center back on ourselves, and cleaning up our internal narrative (remember, you are always your own best friend), and celebrate our joyfulness (as opposed to our deficiencies). As if by a miracle, the judgment starts to drop away. And then all of a sudden, people want to be near, because it’s fun and they are invigorated by our auras. Though spring has hit us with an extended wintry blast (perhaps winter just woke up and realized that it had missed its opportunity for the past 3 months), the birds are coming back, the light is fully with us, and soon we will be playing in the dirt!

Expressing Gratitude this Week

We have been warm for the past 42 years, not too warm (except when we are canning tomatoes or grape juice in September), but perfectly warm with the quiet and pervasive warmth brought by the sun and our wood cook stove. It has been a really easy winter, but the minute it became spring it has been windy and really cold (though mostly sunny). Thursday was a remarkably cold and windy day that ripped 15 of our 17 tarps free of their hundreds of sand bags. I went out the barn for an errand and was reminded of how cold we were for the 7 years that we lived in our old and drafty house in Dorchester. Thank you sun, thank you woodlot, and thank you Jack, for designing and being the main builder on our warm and comfortable house.

Videos

Tarping on Monday

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Cutting mushroom logs and cleaning up the mushroom yard

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Prepping pond field garden beds for cover crops

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Retarping can be fun – on Friday

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Finally burning our big pile of brush

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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 23, we have raised $18,850. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 23.51%. – up 7.16% from last week!

Order your Summer CSA share here

Major thanks to Matt Cali, the owner of Fitness Concepts in Gardner. Jennifer hooked me up to do a talk with Matt at the beginning of a health challenge at his gym last Saturday. He has produced 5 shares this past week and plans to bring in 10 more!

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.

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Many Hands Make a Farm

Doug Willson was an apprentice here one fall, perhaps it was 1990? He send a sweet letter this week which I excerpt here – “I love the organization of MHMF. It hits everything right on – and not a wasted word. It is so well written and edited. I love the alternating narrative. I hear your voices in every sentence. I’m also so glad Leah nailed expressing a couple of impressions I had experienced as well. The breadth and organization of what you have done with your lives (structured on principles of nature and living thoughtfully all reflected in integration of family, building structures, soil, food, music, theater, writing, community) is of course the biggest thing.  . .”

You can buy our book here.

Educational Resources this week

Regenerative Agriculture Podcast Episode 110: Episode 110: Stock Cropping and Regenerative Innovation with Zack Smith

https://regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com/episodes/episode-110-stock-cropping-and-regenerative-innovation-with-zack-smith/
Although I grew up in Illinois, I spent a lot of time with my dad’s family in Iowa, and when I hear an Iowa farmer talk about moving to regenerative systems, I sit up and take notice. This podcast is all about innovation in the world of integrating animal and crop agriculture. Lots of good ideas and hopefulness for a part of the world that moved from small “outdoor” farmers in my youth to corporate “indoor” farmers. Good stuff.

Apheresis – Dr. Isaac Eliaz
https://dreliaz.org/what-is-apheresis-a-deep-dive-into-this-lifesaving-blood-purification-process/?utm_source=campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eliaz_mar24_nl_apheresis&_kx=VHHjDK2XwIHehL2cydis51jg0Z7GwAqMO0uiUaYlYI0.Syeesf Interesting procedure for those with cancer and other significant diseases. Worth a read.

Here is daughter Ellen’s Spring Detox Newsletter –
https://conta.cc/3TKDLQS
And information on her spring cleanse –
7 Day Spring Renewal Cleanse – April 8th thru 14th
This 7-Day Whole Foods Detox/Cleanse is designed to help you feel better, have more energy, and get rid of nagging inflammation/bloat/heaviness.
Are you experiencing any of the following?
– Excess weight around your belly
– Sugar or salt cravings on a regular basis
– Skin blemishes and breakouts
– Can’t think straight or feel like you have brain fog
– Getting a late afternoon energy slump
– Waking up still feeling tired
– Feel like you’ve lost your inner and/or outer glow
I’m excited to be bringing my 15 years of experience supporting 1,000’s of clients through food-based Cleanses, to this Spring’s experience! You are guaranteed to walk away lighter in mind, body and spirit. Here’s the direct link for more info: https://ellenkittredge.com/7-day-cleanse.php

Volunteering at MHOF

Over the past recent weeks we have lost a handful of our working shareholders due to different reasons. 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

For the fourth year we are hoping to do some co-fundraising with the Worcester Woo Fridge https://www.woofridge.org/ 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 $2,198.46
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 $2,681.54

Check out this link to find out more about the Community Fridges in Worcester – https://www.woofridge.org/about

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 two workshops. You can find the others on the website here – https://mhof.net/events-workshops/

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

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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

Register for Workshops

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Mung Bean and Basmati Rice Pancakes
A couple of weeks ago as part of an Ayurveda cleanse, I made these wonderful version of pancakes with sauteed Spinach.

View Recipe here

Anterior Pre-Cingulate Cortex update

Well, I backslid this week a bit. Truth be told, I have had a potty mouth for over 50 years, and my goodness, it takes a bit to change habits. I have decided to up the ante, however, and stop using all of those expletives deleted. I think I detected about 10 altogether this week. Next week we will see if I can cut it in half. Anything you want to stop doing or start doing, and having a hard time of it? Write and we can commiserate!

Farm Doins

It seems that this week involved a lot of tarps! Monday we finished a three day project of getting them all down, and then Friday we put them all back again. March winds are a real thing, and March is in the daily process this week of proving that she can go out like a lion. Today, all the tarps are peacefully in place covered with ice and snow (that will show them!).

Finished right before lunch on Friday

And then there was wood. Elenore and Jim worked like maniacs to cut up our big dead ash, and left just enough for them to finish the job today, hopefully. Meanwhile Yohairo and the guys, and various of our staff made huge progress on splitting up the wood. It is a great project on a cold and windy week. We are under the gun on this one as we will soon be receiving 18 large straw bales at the end of the driveway.

Danny and Stu might have put together the mechanical portion of the sliding door for the alcove backwards, but it is now in place and ready for the door itself to be built

We burned up all of our brush from our stone wall job. We will have to put that aside, but now we are motivated to take on other walls over the fall and winter next  year

We cut down and stacked mushroom logs, spread fertilizer (boron and magnesium) in the orchards, and all-day Tuesday was spent hoeing and prepping the pond field garden for cover crops (we put down field peas and oats). Leeks went out to the hoop house, and cabbage, Chinese cabbage and lettuce were planted in the greenhouse.

I sure hope that spring breaks winter’s last hold on her this week!

Julie

Leslie and Harriet

Quick Links

Buy meat
CSA pick up information
Contact Julie
Products available right now at the farm
Become a working shareholder
Donate to the MHSC
Links Workshops

Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/

Immigrant Update

Have I ever mentioned what an amazing person Anne Gobi is? You might remember that she was our state senator in central Mass for a very long time. I best know her in her role as third clarinet in the Quabbin Community Band. But most recently in her new role in the Healy government as the Director of Rural Affairs, she responded to our query for help in locating immigrant farmers who are ready to work. She hooked us up with Ken Brown and Sarah Joseph from the Executive Office of Labor. They work with new immigrants who are living in shelters and who have work permits. We met on Friday and set up a tentative date to have a meet and greet, eat and work session with a handful of Haitian immigrants who might want to work on the farm. Donations to the Many Hands Sustainability Center have been generous this past year such that we can hire a couple of folks for the season. We are excited to move forward!

Expressing Gratitude this Week

I met with Annie and Laura from NOFA/Mass this week because they reached out to us to collaborate on one of our workshops this year. Co-branding this workshop with NOFA made it possible for us to offer this workshop for free. This topic is by far my most favorite farm topic, so I am grateful that we can broaden our outreach for attendance.

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

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 demonstrate 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

Videos

Our new Harriet with surrogate mom, Skippy

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Using our new black plastic bag sledge

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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

On March 16, we have raised $13,112.86. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 16.35%. – up 5.22% from last week.

Thanks, everyone. We have a long way to go, but the sun is coming out!

Order your Summer CSA share here

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Clare and Jack Party – June 29
Put this important date on your calendar – June 29

Jack turned 80 this year, and we have decided to hold another MHOF summer bash. Because Clare is moving on after16 years of amazing service to the farm, we are celebrating her at the same time. It will start at 2 pm that day and will be a big pot luck with lots of hanging out, farm tours, games and most likely fireworks. Please put the date on your calendar. We would like everyone here to celebrate these two amazing people!

A Healer Friend of Mine

Nicki qualified as a Nutritional Therapist from the UK with over 20 years experience in naturopathic nutrition, detox and energy work. She has a love of nature and an investigative mind aiming always to get to the root cause of an issue in the most holistic way. Over the years this has led her to incorporate regular detox cleansing in her life and exploration of the subconscious toxicity affecting the mind, body and spirit including transgenerational stressors affecting health and wellbeing. Profoundly effective Reset Clearing energy work is now a central part of her clinic along with seasonal detox programs.

Her website is www.detoxreset.co.uk. DetoxReset is a one stop clinic with a range of programs to help you thrive through detoxing from physical and emotional issues. At the clinic she uses state of the art equipment alongside energy work to help clients restore balance and harmony in their life: Reset Clearing energy work, Light Therapy, Kinesiology, Nutritional Therapy, Psycho-neuro-immunology, Full Spectrum infra red sauna, Foot Spa, energy products and more as appropriate for each individual.

She works across the Globe 1-to-1 on zoom and also with groups, supports seasonal cleanse / detox programs and individual parasite and liver cleanses. Please have a look at the Spring Detox Program and Energy Clearing Workshop for detoxification pathways available now to support the transition into Spring over the Equinox. Both links are in the shop https://www.detoxreset.co.uk/shop.  She also has a back catalogue of Energy Clearing Videos on a range of topics.

Nicki Edgell Dip cPNI DNN fntp
Light Therapy Practitioner
Energy clearing Practitioner
Clinical Psycho-neuro-immunologist
Nutritional Therapist
Click here to Join my Mailing List for the Latest Health, Energy and Wellness Information
http://www.detoxreset.co.uk
01273 230947 / 07786405366

Many Hands Make a Farm

Jack and I were honored to be invited to be interviewed by John Kempf on his Regenerative Agriculture Podcast. You can hear Episode 109 here – https://regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com/episodes/episode-109-from-urban-organizers-to-organic-pioneers-with-julie-rawson-and-jack-kittredge/
Froom Urban Organizers to Organic Pioneers with Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge

You can buy our book here.

Educational Resources this week

There is a powerful book coming out entitled Barons: Money, Power, and the Corruption of America’s Food Industry
by Austin Frerick.  It is coming out on March 25.
Here is a free link to the upcoming symposium, which features Austin.  We have assembled a wonderful group of speakers, starting with Eliot Coleman. Alice Waters, Dan Barber, Vandana Shiva, and many more. Hope you can find a little time to watch this. If life is too busy, just watch the first 15 minutes. It will give you a good sense of it.
This Sunday will be the release of Session one of the 2024 symposium, followed by Session 2 on April 7.
Please use this link for complimentary tickets. Please share with your community.
www.eventbrite.com/e/800045767427/?discount=ROP24
Many thanks for your support,
Dave


Ari Whitten with Dr. Tom O’Bryan

Is Inflammation The Main Driver Of Disease & Death?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRg1FFgHUOE&list=UULFnQo6oCvS6YuvaablyMT_sw
Major takeaways for me came from a quote by a Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld from Israel who O’Bryan quoted as saying, “We are born 99% human and die 90% bacteria. O’Bryan reminds us that inflammation is a necessary protective mechanism in the body, and excessive inflammation is the problem. He notes that we most need to look at the end of our forks for answers. There are other interesting bits on the power of toxic fragrances to trigger Alzheimer’s disease down the line. A statement by the WHO suggesting that the last ten years of life for the average American can be expected to be unpleasant decline was another piece of information that gave me pause. This is on the shorter side for a Whitten interview, and well worth the listen, in my opinion. You can sign up for O’Bryan’s free docuseries, “The Inflammation Equation: Decoding the Steps for Optimal Well-Being starting on April 4.  Here – https://theinflammationequation.com/

Volunteering at MHOF

This past week we had a wonderful visit from 9 students from Hamilton College on Sunday and Monday. We accomplished a number of important tasks, Jack ran two workshops, we ate a lot, and had some wonderful conversations around the table. We sent them off to their pre-arranged quarters at 6 pm on Monday  expecting to see them for one more full day on Tuesday. We received an email early Tuesday morning, not signed by anyone in particular, that someone was upset by something that someone on the farm staff had said, and that they were returning forth with to Hamilton. They offered to talk to us about the purported infraction, but outreach on our part has received silence. Maybe we will hear from them, and be able to learn from the experience, but meanwhile, all of us on the farm had a marvelous experience.

Community Fridges

For the fourth year we are working with the Worcester Woo Fridge https://www.woofridge.org/ which operates 4 refrigerators around the city for anyone who needs food. Historically we have delivered 14 shares for 26 weeks and we are setting a goal of 16 this year.  That is a total of $9760. We now have in hand $2,198.46

We have an anonymous donor who will match our donations $1 for $1 up to $4,880. Thus, our goal for donations comes to $2,681.54. Will  you help us chip away at this goal with your donation?

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.

Free Table from subscriber

I have an 8X4 solid oak, 2 pedestal table that I am giving away plus some other furniture. If you know of any one in need please have them contact me at 508-414-1312. Colleen

2024 Workshop Series

Here are the first two workshops – happening in March. You can find the others on the website here – https://mhof.net/events-workshops/

Natural and Low-cost Homestead Design
Saturday, March 23, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50-$100 sliding scale
Presenters: Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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

More from Dave on his upcoming workshop. You would be crazy not to come to this workshop if you own a machine on your farm or homestead

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Register for Workshops

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Chicken Bone Broth
Here is the proper link to the bone broth recipe from last week.  My apologies.  Click here!


This week recipe is Kitchari.  An ancient Ayurveda meal that is often used during a cleanse (in which I did last week).  It a great comfort meal that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy or lethargic like many of our American “comfort meals”.  It is nourishing, easy to digest and resets the digestive system as well as detoxifying.  It’s a perfect go to after a weekend of indulgence to lighten up.  The two main ingredients; mung beans and basmati rice that provides a complete protein.

I will be making this meal at my upcoming workshop on March 30th from 9am-12pm.  I hope you will join me!

View Recipe here

Staff Update

This past week Elenore made the decision to leave us by the end of April. We are a bit far for her to commute to us each day, so she is going to go full-time with her job at Hamshaw’s. I am very grateful to Elenore for all that she has brought to us on the farm. She is a top notch tractor driver, chainsawer, dog trainer, and mistress of all trades. She mentioned to me the other day, “I try to always give my very best.” Agreed! We will miss Elenore and wish her well as she continues on her life path.

A year and a half ago Luke MacLean came to us and asked to work for us. But then he found he needed to finish a work commitment in California and left for 2023. He came back to us at the end of the year, but by then we had hired Elenore and didn’t have a spot for him. Regardless, he came and volunteered a few times, and I let him know that if a spot opened up on the farm. When Elenore gave her notice, I called Luke back up and voila, he will start working with us today! We look forward to your tenure here, Luke

Anterior Pre-Cingulate Cortex update

Those who know me well will appreciate the magnitude of this decision to “stop” doing something. Tuesday morning, I woke up realizing that it was time for me to give up the “f” word. I had one mis-step when I referred to the word, but Jack counseled me that it wasn’t so bad as actually “using” the word. So, I am still holding firm and starting to think maybe I could give up JC, GD, HS, SOB . . .

Farm Doins

We are following a few threads right now on the farm. We have finished the wall clearing in the pond field (probably until next fall), and have a big pile of brush that I hope to burn this next Friday.

The town finished the big ash tree across the street and left very large pieces of wood in the driveway. Elenore, Jim, Justin, and I am sure a few more folks, will accomplish getting the wood cut so that the rest of us can split it and get it put away as soon as possible. Many thanks to Yohairo and the Stetson kids for taking a major role in the disposition of the wood.

Matt has been honchoing the laying of pipe, trench-making and laying of hose and electric shock for the pig fence into the pond field. That is in process.

Danny and Stu and company finished the shelving on the side of the barn and put away all of our lumber, all in one well-organized place.

The rest of us have been slowly fertilizing first (with Epsom salts and boron) and then tarping the vegetable fields. We hope to have them all down by the end of Monday.

We moved our first batch of seedling starts to the yellow hoop house and accomplished the planting of the chard and leek seeds in the greenhouse this week.

Julie

Get lost, kid

New Beginnings

Did you know there are only 8 more days until the first day of spring? If you are like me, you will remember this winter of 23-24 as a non-event, or almost so. Though we have to watch the weather closely for the next month or two as potential dips into a deep freeze, like happened last spring, can seriously impact our perennials. Meanwhile, I noticed the emergence of the daylilies on the south side of our hoophouse this week and marveled at the miracle of the beginnings that happen each year. We have new kittens in our bed too, and Thursday will go pick up a new English shepherd pup, our wager on the deer problem. How lucky are we to live on this beautiful earth!

Expressing Gratitude this Week

Sometimes it is the little things like Candido rushing in and giving me a big hug, calling me grandma and saying he is so grateful that we hired him, or the silly texts that Clare and I share over the weekend sometime regarding things like jackfruit, banana trees and cultural mores. And there was my guest visit to Marissa and Drew’s place last week to reconnoiter over how best to tarp their little farm (Drew has taken over the job of secretary of the Barre Farmers Market – a job that I had for about 20 years starting back in 1985).

Videos

Starting seeds after soaking them and drying them
Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Here is the seed soak starting recipe

Seed soak

  • 10 parts water
  • 1 part seacrop
  • 1 part rejuvenate
  • 3 parts seastim
  • 1 part micropak
  • a wee dash of mycogenesis or biocoat gold (at least 1 gram per pound of seed) – add this only at soaking time

And soak seeds in that for, yeah, about 4 hours. If it’s a seed that desires a much longer soaking time, I would start with plain water, or with just the seacrop added, and then finish with the more robust seed soak.  – Nathan Harmann

Num, Num!

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Join Next Year’s CSA

We have set prices for 2024 and are ready to receive your subscriptions for our summer CSA – running 22 weeks from June 3 – November 1. The fall CSA runs from November 4 – November 25.

Summer CSA:

  • Large – $775 – $875; SNAP – $725
  • Medium – $575-$675; SNAP – $525
  • Small – $450 – $550; SNAP – $425

On March 9, we have raised $8,922.55. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 11.13%. – up 2.68% from last week.

Yippee – our first big surge this year. Spring must be in the offing.

Order your Summer CSA Share here

Pay with SNAP – join now
Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

What you will get in your share in July – and a few beautiful chickens to gaze upon

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Please note that we are having problem with our paypal link at the moment. Jennifer is scurrying to get it fixed. Meanwhile, you can order your share with the paper form here – https://mhof.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/2024-MHOF-CSA-Order-Form-1.pdf or you can email me here to alert you when the link is fixed – julie@mhof.net. Sorry for that.

Not too Early to buy our meat chickens

Hear more in this video

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Sadly, our chicken page is down at the minute, but you can access an order form here – https://mhof.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/2024-MHOF-Meat-Order-Form-2.pdf

Many Hands Make a Farm

You can buy our book here.

Educational Resources this week

Mel Hopper Koppelman with Ari Whitten – this is a part 2 with Mel, a brilliant neuro-scientist who has had her own journey of discovery. I am impressed by her humility, intelligence, tenacity and compassion. This is a must listen for anyone who wants to further understand how we operate as human beings – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hBV7sQUwUc&list=UULFnQo6oCvS6YuvaablyMT_sw

Your 2 Brains and the link to ADHD, Autism, Anxiety and Autoimmunity
And here they go deeper into polyvagal theory and heart rate variability  –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztwa81phmqE&list=UULFnQo6oCvS6YuvaablyMT_sw

Dr. Eliaz again with research on meditation and brain health – https://dreliaz.org/fascinating-new-research-on-meditation-and-brain-health/?utm_source=campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eliaz_mar24_nl_brainhealth&_kx=VHHjDK2XwIHehL2cydis51jg0Z7GwAqMO0uiUaYlYI0.Syeesf.
I have not been a regular meditator. Yet the research is overwhelming that mediation increases all of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I think I will start with 5 minutes per day, and see how it goes!

Volunteering at MHOF

Beth and Bob were over this past weekend from Noonday Farm in Winchendon and we were discussing how volunteers can make all the difference in farming viability. At their farm they donate all of their produce to the Gardner Community Action Council, and because they operate on their own volunteer labor (with paying side jobs to afford it), We are looking forward to 10 students from Hamilton College from this Sunday – Wednesday and have a wonderful line up of fun work to accomplish. If you are wanting to try out volunteering here, be in touch. We take very good care of our volunteers!

Community Fridges

For the fourth year we are hoping to do some co-fundraising with the Worcester Woo Fridge https://www.woofridge.org/ which operates 4 refrigerators around the city for anyone who needs food. Historically we have delivered 14 shares for 26 weeks and we are setting a goal of 16 this year.  That is a total of $9760. We now have in hand $2,198.46

We have an anonymous donor who will match our donations $1 for $1 up to $4,880. With this week’s donations our new goal for donations comes to $2,681.54

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

2024 Workshop Series

Here are the first two workshops – happening in March. You can find the others on the website here – https://mhof.net/events-workshops/

Natural and Low-cost Homestead Design
Saturday, March 23, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50-$100 sliding scale
Presenters: Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson

What I would like to share about the value of this workshop has to do with the great comfort we have experienced over the past 42 years from the beautiful heat from the sun, and the warming experience of wood heat. And we have received numerous benefits from cutting, splitting and hauling that wood – it really keeps the body fit. Come check this out.

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

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.

Dave stopped by and I grabbed a video

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Register for Workshops

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Chicken Bone Broth

I use nothing but MHOF meat chickens, old layers and feet to make my bone broth.  Now is the time to put your order in for any or all of these so you don’t lose out on making your own amazing bone broth all year round.  I’ve put my order in for this year.  Don’t wait too long as they sell out quick.

You can download your order form here:  https://mhof.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/2024-MHOF-Meat-Order-Form-2.pdf

Bone both is highly nutritious and different then just broth.  The key to bone broth is Apple Cider Vinegar and time.  The longer you soak and cook, the more nutrients leech into the liquid.  The recipe here is a basic recipe.  I am always switching up the herbs and spices that I use to make it with.  For the winter I was using a lot of nettle and astragulus, now I am shifting to using cumin, coriander and fennel, which are great herbs for the spring.

View Recipe here

Farm Doin’s

We had another large crowd on Monday – 17 this past week. The guys got the braces up for another long set of shelves on the back of the barn woodshed for our farm lumber. Some of us cut more wood and worked on our stone walls, we started our parsley, savory, thyme and sage, and weeded hoophouses, prior to planting out some more kale and chard seedlings in the houses that will help flesh out our early shares in June. To add to the enjoyment of the day, the town guys arrived to take down the dead ash tree that is on the roadside right across from our driveway. The actually did not complete the job yet, but will be back to finish it.

Mat and his pick axe taking out the cement spillage from the chicken house project.

Matt and Candido working on the riding mower

Cutting the tree

We harvested a good bit of this chickweed for salad and gave the rest to the chickens

Chickweed feast

Planting in hoophouse

Good thing it is warm on Mondays so that we can eat outside

Tuesday we wrestled with the bale chopper and got some hay chopped, but are finding it too moisture-filled in order to do that job successfully. After Friday we decided to put the bale chopper aside until the dryer straw appears.

Jackson came to help on Tuesday

Hooking up the bale chopper

Friday we planted several thousand onion seeds and now the front of the greenhouse is full!

Onion seeds drying out on paper towels

Friday planting

Julie

Quick Links

Buy meat
CSA pick up information
Contact Julie
Products available right now at the farm
Become a working shareholder
Donate to the MHSC
Links Workshops

Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/