For those reading our blog, I hope you've enjoyed Julie's thoughts throughout the holidays. She makes our home a wonderful place to be during the Christmas season. I have not spent much time writing as of late due to my work schedule and my play schedule during my vacation. I hope to spend a bit more time on this for 2007. I feel like the Lord has given me a great deal to share and we feel that we will see great progress on our farm this year.
First, the latest farm happenings have been new fruit trees. Earlier this year we had hoped to plant as many as 15 apple trees this winter, but that was changed to 4 apple trees and a fig tree. There were several reasons for this, but one of the foremost was pacing ourselves. One of the most important lessons we've learned in the past 6 years of building a farm is to not bite off more than we can chew. This has been a significantly hard lesson for me, as I tend to be an all or nothing type person. rather than build up slowly as time and money allow, I want it all done now and I want it big. Having this type of personality during an era of instant gratification makes it doubly hard to pace myself. But, thank God, I am learning the benefit and peacefulness of taking on only what is right for that time in my life.
So, as a result of downscaling our plans, I think we have put ourselves in position to become better stewards of our fruit orchard. Rather than being overwhelmed and having too much to tend to while we are still on a steep learning curve, we have a small amount that we should be able to have great production from. As I said earlier, we added four apple trees. We decided on 4 different heirloom apples that will grow well in our area and that tend to lengthen our harvest season. They also give us a variety of types that will provide us apples for eating, keeping, cooking, cider, sauces and apple butter. First we chose Thomas Jefferson's favorite variety, Esopus Spitzenburg, an excellent eating apple. Next, we chose the Stayman Winesap, an good all around apple, especially for baking and cider making. The third choice was the Myers Royal Limbertwig, a large apple excellent for cider and very successful in our region. And last but not least, the Virginia Beauty, a recommendation from Tim, the owner of The Urban Homestead. For a full description of each of the apple varieties mentioned, follow the link to Tim's website.
As I said the last time we visited the Urban Homestead nursery, we received service that you just almost can't find these days. Tim takes the time to answer all your questions, no matter how naive or advanced. He knows fruit trees and shares his knowledge willingly. It is a place that we look forward to visiting just for the sake of being in such a pleasant place. They operate a wonderful Christian nursery and have a beautiful family. If you live within driving distance or will be in the Bristol VA/TN area, you must call them for a visit. If not in the area, then they will gladly ship trees to you. I don't think you will be disappointed.
After a couple of days of bad weather we did manage to get our trees planted. Jake and Josh dug holes, Seth moved dirt with his Tonka truck while mom and I supervised. Hope helped fill the holes and she helped me prune the new trees as well as the trees we had planted in the spring. Unfortunately, Matt, our oldest son was sick and did not get to help this time. We also pruned on of the two existing June apple trees that were on the farm when we bought it.
Let me say a belated Happy New Year to everyone, I hope that it is a prosperous and joyful year for you all. Though I enjoy all of the holidays that we celebrate including family birthdays, I normally don't place a great deal of significance on the actual day. Many times in our life we have celebrated a given holiday on a different day because of travel plans or work schedules and the emphasis was on the celebration, not the day. But, the one holiday that I find the particular day significant is New Year's Day. This day is a great day for me to make new starts or renew old hopes.
It's a good thing to put an end to some things and being the productive, creative beings that God made us, it's good to be starting new things. I find this day of year perfect for this. Obviously, the rest of the world has a similar idea, but too often the resolutions made are only wishful thinking, as people settle back into their routines following the holidays. My prayer for your families and for ours, is that the those things in our life that we have committed to changing, ending, or starting this year, would be of the Lord, and that we will have the courage and fortitude to bring them to pass.