At the risk of being predictable, this fall's blog theme is one of gratitude. You don't have to look far for a door mat or coffee mug that says "Thankful", but I'm not sure gratitude is something that can be overdone. We feel especially and uniquely grateful this fall. First, we are grateful for your patience, understanding, and flexibility as we limit tree sales this year. Grandpa Dan's will be closed to the public for the 2023 Christmas season. Being closed to the public is an unfortunate yet necessary plan. There aren't enough harvestable trees to support our customers, and if we want to be fully open in the near future, we have to limit how many trees we sell for a few years. If we let the current trees grow and continue planting large quantities each spring, we hope we can lift these restrictions soon. My initial instinct is to apologize for the low inventory and off season. But, more than sorry, I'm wholeheartedly grateful for our customers and their support.
Second, I'm grateful to be in contact with customers again. Even if I have to share the news about being closed, the interactions remind us why we're working so hard. We aim to serve, not sell, and we can continue to do this even in less than ideal years. I'm grateful for the partnerships and relationships we've formed with the community. Kelly Jean Photography perfectly captured our family's memories at the farm this year and will also be doing sessions at our farm for her clients. Our working relationship keeps building and it warms my heart every time our families cross paths at church, football games, and school events. Maria Heinzelman with Joyful Greens is making beautiful wreaths with our topped and unmarketable trees again. Her creativity and independence are blessings for us; the end products make Grandpa Dan's trees look even better. Bean City Bar and Grill hosted a Fall Fest and took hay rides through the farm. It was fun to share the farm with their customers and enjoy great food and activities at their restaurant. Our neighbors from home and the farm came to work and play. Colton (you may remember him as one of our amazing Gator drivers during selling season) got his first deer with a bow. His hard work at the farm and in the field is paying off! We have connected with churches and schools. Who knew we would build our own little community of tree farm people?! I can feel the challenge of doing good rise within me as I write this. The day to day work is full, and yet with this community there is space to add and dream.
For those invested in the day to day details, fall has looked like this: cutting, collecting, and grinding stumps, transplanting small trees into rows and out of driving areas, trimming leaders, mowing, ordering and making merchandise, and building a new hot chocolate/wreath, boughs, and merchandise stand. It's the final round of a lot of these activities and projects. It feels like putting a bow on the trees and the farm. It feels like wishing the trees - growing and harvestable - good luck!
We're grateful for our customers - new, old, patiently waiting. We're grateful for our partners and community. We're grateful for you, loyal reader. Stick around, "the end of something is better than it's beginning. Patience is better than pride." (Ecclesiastes 7:8)