It has been almost a year since I last posted. What a year it has been!
As you might remember Jay and I decided last Spring to not put all our eggs in one basket with our livestock endeavors...so we bought 4,800 berry bushes, cleared off 4 acres, and planted them by hand...it took thousands of hours, especially since we decided to put in a 214 fruit tree orchard at the same time. We expended blood, sweat, and tears to do it, but everything was planted and shipshape by May 2012. We forgot three things in our zeal to build a Berry and Fruit Orchard U-pick operation; We forgot that a field of Bermuda grass hastily tilled under and planted to strawberries, blueberries, raspberrries, and blackberries...will revert right back to bermuda...and no matter how you attack it with that hoe, you will be lucky if you can see your plants within two months. The second thing we forgot? We forgot just how brutal the weather can be in Oklahoma. Last year was our third consecutive year of drought, and it was the second consecutive hottest Summer on record with temperatures hitting a blistering 118 F on the farm, and the temp for more than three weeks was around or over 110 F! And then there was the weeks of strong, hot winds which roared and dried up every plant to a husk. We had drip line set up, but our two water wells were too shallow and could only provide 15 minutes of water each day. Needless to say, with temps so hot and the winds as well..it just evaporated before it could get to the plant. The third thing we didn't take into account when we planted? I was scheduled for a colon resection surgery in July, and expected to be all healed up and on my feet, ready to work within three weeks of the surgery....that did not happen. My auto-immune disease Behcet's Syndrome took great exception to the surgery and as a result I spent 9 days in intensive care, and another 16 days in a regular hospital ward. And this would become the pattern as I battled infection and infection. In total I spent more than 70 days in the hospital over the period of five months (7 hospital stays). When I came home from the hospital after the surgery I found that row after row of my beautiful plants and trees were dead, thousands of them...I laid on the ground and wept, mourning for a future and dreams which had turned to ash, for the thousands of hours of labor- the joy and satisfaction which comes from a job well done, from taking nothing and building it into something beautiful, and seeing it all wither and die...I felt like my heart had splintered along with it...but time passed and by the grace and tender mercies of God, we were able to salvage almost 500 plants which we dug up in the fall and re-potted to over-winter...
And so here we are! February the 7th 2013. A New Year! And yes, we re-invested about half of what we did last year to try to replant our berry farm and orchard. And this time we will do it the right way! The ground has been tilled and the weed barrier fabric has been ordered. The plants will be arriving shortly and we are ready to begin again. As if we didn't have enough to do, we are also designing and building a greenhouse and starting a nursery. We saw the need for a nursery because there is not one for more than 40 miles on either side of our farm, and since we are located on a highway, it seemed a wonderful idea. We will be raising chemical-free berries, fruit trees, and vegetables, and selling them and our farm fresh eggs, holistically grown lamb meat...and perhaps my line of original botanical cosmetics, perfumes, and creams...should I ever have the time to make them again!...
And our Sheep and Goats have been busy giving us babies... love lambing season around here! To date we have 17 new lambs from our beautiful St. Croix Ewes, and five kid goats from our Boer Does. We would have had 14 kids but 9 of them were bottle babies and died due to an overdose of Selenium...yes it was heartbreaking.
The children are doing well in their new school and are loving their teachers. Jay is working from home for Dell fixing people's problems with servers over the phone, and is loving that he can go to work in his bathrobe! I just love the fact that he is home and no longer has an hour-and a half commute to work everyday. I am slowly getting my strength back, and as my husband puts it "over do it every chance you get!"...I can't help it, it's not in my programing to sit still when there is so much to be done every day!
That about wraps it up! Signing off