Tuesday, 22 September 2015

What a difference a year makes

It is a magical time of year

Last year about this time, our first employee had just walked off the job.  After a month of work he sent us an abusive email and never came back.  We had just started a spring spraying regime with little understanding of the scale of the challenge 12 hectares of orchard would present, we had grafted two blocks of trees and our builder was contemplating building our house.  It was a tough time, and although Julian was a wonderful motivation, there were times when I seriously thought about walking away from the idea of horticulture altogether.  It wasn’t that we couldn’t do it.  It was that as things stood we couldn’t do it well, and while we try not to let perfect be the enemy of good, we knew that we couldn't even manage to get to "not shit".

Twelve months on and that employee leaving meant we had enough capital to buy a new tractor and sprayer, we have downsized the orchard significantly with more downsizing to come, our grafts are looking sensational, we have grafted more, and we are living in our very own farm house.  It is amazing the change that has occurred on our farm and in our lives.  We have a clearer vision of where we are going, and how we are going to get there.

It starts off with growing fewer apples, but growing them better.  It introduces expanded plans for more livestock.  It becomes a farm that we can run ourselves, without having to rely on employees, except for the labour intensive work of thinning and picking the apples.  It ends as a place where we can share our passion with other people - those interested in horticulture, food, experiences and the importance of these things in our families and community.

"Early pink" as the flowers start to emerge

The plan will change, plans always do, and it will be a long road which has bumps on the way.  We will have days where a pig dies (like today), where we lose lambs (like last month), and where it hurts and we doubt ourselves.  But we will do it, and as we go along the road we will share both our wins and our losses with you.  This isn’t about showing the perfect, it’s giving you a chance to share in the reality.  We hope you want to come along for the ride.

Here come the flowers

Getting rid of this....

...so we can take better care of this.

You have to know what gives you energy, and looking at these is what does it for me
12 months on, and the grafts are little trees...

...with fruit buds on a few!

The rhubarb is flowering, just looking at our new vege garden gets me excited for the year ahead.

As regular readers know, we drop the occasional bombshell in at the end of our blog posts just to see who is reading them.  In that spirit we would like to announce that Coreen is pregnant again.  How did we find time to make THAT happen?