Summer is a time of freedom. Less structure, fewer routines. It’s playful, warm, and bright. Our first summer at the farm has been all of these things. Summer has been an exercise in letting go of control and embracing what’s in front of us. There is freedom in going with the flow and letting the day take you wherever it wants. We’ve had to adopt this approach with our trees as well. There’s only so much we can control. The weather, bugs, snakes…they’ve all humbled us.
The summer was spent mowing and shearing, shearing and mowing. Shearing is probably not an aggressive enough word to describe the shaping we’ve been doing to the trees. Some trees have grown so tall and full, it took hedge trimmers and multiple passes to even resemble a Christmas tree. Other trees were sheared using shearing blades, and yes, they’re as fun as swords to use. Some trees are naturally full, others naturally skinny. We decided early on to let the tree be what it wants to be. It was too hard and even felt disrespectful to force a tree to match some predetermined shape. I’m confident we'd lose that battle anyway, and we'd be better off approaching each tree with open minds. Perhaps we should work together, right? In truth, this tree knows what it’s doing. In truth, we really don’t. We’re learning and working. But knowing? That sounds arrogant. I’m striving for belonging. I do feel like we belong. And if we can respect and trust the trees and nature, I feel like we belong. From the snakes that warned us to get away by hissing when we accidentally raked them, to the small oak trees that have started to grow from squirrels burying acorns, nature works. Without any intervention from us, nature has it all figured out. So we trust it and learn from it. This summer has been a lot of work. Perhaps the hardest of which was following nature’s lead.
We continued clearing trees infected with rhizosphaera needle cast and pineapple gall adelgid. We wanted the trees remaining on the farm to be saleable this year or in future years. We’re well on our way there thanks to our new branch manager, Jack Meyer. You’ll notice the stumps of his labor throughout the farm. All puns intended, always.
We made time to truly enjoy the farm as well. The boys made a baseball diamond in the parking lot and almost lost a few baseballs into the trees. We created a campsite in the acres behind the farm. We caught frogs. Well, mostly Oliver, Arthur, and Danny. We completed the remodel of the shed. Well, mostly Dan.
Most days we were working hard. Some days we were hardly working. Either way and every day, we felt like we belonged.