My entire life has been spent on a farm, I don't think my world would be quite right if I hadn't. As a child I helped my parents as most farm kids do, we had a huge garden, 15 acres of walnuts, a small fruit orchard and some livestock. In college my major was Liberal Studies (teaching), but I also received an Associates degree in Agriculture. Once an Ag
girl. . .always an Ag girl.
Before John and I were married we decided that a home with some acreage was what we both wanted. We bought 10 acres and began our journey, and I'm not just talking about the marriage, but the farm. Each year we make improvements, plant more trees, add animals to our stock, invest in irrigation~it's an ongoing process.
At times, the work seems overwhelming, but it's quiet and the view is magnificent. We're able to share what we grow with friends and family and the occasional passerby who stops in. In addition to the pictures you'll see below, we also grow a summer garden with tomatoes, squash peppers and melon.
Here's a micro tour of our farm. Let's begin with the vineyard.
Table grapes grow very well in this area. We grow 4 varieties, these are Thompson Seedless. This variety should be ripe and ready to eat in another 10 to 14 days. The stock is trained up wire which loops over to the next row to form a canopy. Delicious.
Raspberries. . .these are more challenging to grow; generally, raspberries prefer much cooler weather. This variety is said to tolerate warmer climates, however, the fruit has not been as plentiful as we'd hoped. When the fruit trees become taller they will provide a good amount of shade which will create a micro-climate and berry production should increase.
Blackberries, unlike the raspberries yield an incredible amount of fruit! So much so, we planted 42 new plants this past Fall. We make jam, pies and of course eat them right off the vine!
Apples will be ripe in about 6 weeks. The variety we've planted are good for eating, but not dense enough for pie.
The peaches are almost ready. Peach cobbler is a family favorite!
The apricots are ready to pick. These are really sweet and the kids love them. I'm going out to pick more in just a few minutes. The cherry trees are already through with production this year. Very mild weather has forced the fruit to be ripe early this year.
Flowers are very important. We rely on them for beauty and to attract the bees. We're wanting to build our own hive, we just bought this book.We also have a bat house which Bethy and John built two years ago~bats love bugs!
Honey bees love these! We also have 8 full hummingbird feeders, these quick like guys eat bugs and help with pollination. We also buy ladybugs every year to help with insects! We try not to use pesticides.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, we raise livestock. From left to right~Rocky, Blaze and Ruby. . .our beef cows. Blaze will be a year old in July. His daddy is a rodeo bull. Ruby is the boss. Their favorite sound is the lawn mower, they will stand at the gate and moo the entire time the lawn is being mowed. They love grass trimmings. They're free range fed, love grain and eat fruit from the orchard. They're spoiled!
These are our new layer hens. These little gals are about 4 1/2 months old and will begin laying eggs in about another week. We don't have a rooster, tried that once, they're mean and they attack. We rely on the ol' golf ball trick to encourage egg production. . .it works! They're grain fed and are the happy recipients of fruits and vegetables! Farm fresh eggs are the best.
And finally, my personal favorite. . .Patch. . .my ever-faithful, never-let-me-down, best dog in the whole wide world~labrador! I love this guy. He walks with me all over the farm, I'm never alone. He's kind, fun, hilarious and truly everything you'd want in a best friend. . .he's a great listener! And as long as I keep a healthy supply of stuffed animals (purchased from the Salvation Army) he leaves my shoes, hoses and drip systems alone. He was 2 on Mother's Day. I love him!
Well, with all that we still have more plans. We're planning for a greenhouse to go up sometime this year or early next spring; and my husband wants to put in a pond~I think he just wants to rent a bulldozer so he can play Tonka for the weekend. We also want to plant three or four almond and walnut trees, and 40 more peach and cherry trees. We're also putting up natural barriers (trees, bushes, bulbs) to serve as fences. Our long term goal is to transform part of the property into a beautiful outdoor facility to book weddings, reunions and private parties.
It's definitely a family affair and it would be nearly impossible without the help of our children. Especially, John Jr., and Hayley they're hard workers and great farmers.
There's the tour! I need to pick those apricots. . .If you see one, hug a farmer today!