Things may look different at the farm, but hopefully they don’t feel different. We hope the upgrades to the shed make you feel warm and welcome. Some necessary, some organizational, some stylish – the shed is on its way be being a more functional space for checking out, entertaining the boys, and storing equipment. While Aimie decorated the office and employee lounge in neutrals, Dan worked hard to paint the interior garage portion John Deere Green with a tractor, Gator, and all the "necessary" implements.
Our focus at the farm is outdoors though, of course. And you’ll notice changes there as well. This late winter and early spring were about restoring life to the trees. Unfortunately, many of the spruces were far from thriving. After multiple meetings with the DNR and department of agriculture, we identified a tree fungus, rhizoshaera needle cast, infecting the spruces. The picture below shows one of many examples. The trees that were too far gone needed to be cut down and mulched or burned. The majority of the trees on the three acres on the southwest side of the “T” have been removed.
We have been working hard to save every original "Grandpa Dan" tree that we can. We dug up and transplanted dozens of smaller, healthy trees into uninfected areas. We're trying to treat every tree as a gift, and a big part of saving as many trees as possible was to remove the infected trees and stop the fungus from spreading. Cleaning up the trees has also revealed large, healthy trees in these acres; they are putting their best branches forward in hopes of decorating your living rooms this Christmas. Thankfully, we didn't have to cut, drag, or transplant over three acres of trees just the two of us. It took our village to accomplish! Dan's parents spent endless hours cutting and moving trees, and we are grateful for their hard work and the opportunities to spend more time together at the farm. And when the boys needed some down time away from the farm, Dan's parents and my parents swept them away and they could be found reading, playing sports, and overall spoiling their grandkids. We prayed that the farm would bring our five person family closer together. It has been an even bigger blessing to have the boys share the farm and bonus time with their grandparents.
As a result of all of this effort, we now have obvious locations for new saplings. We are planting one acre of Fraser firs at a time, and a few rows of white pines and black hill spruces on the other side of the “T” entrance. In 8 years or so, these trees may find your homes too. We will continue to spot plant Fraser firs in the front acre by the shed and a variety of trees in the back acres. The northwest side of the “T” entrance will have spruce and fir varieties. It’ll take a few years, but our intent is for the front of the farm to be more organized and the back acres to be wild and free for the more adventurous customers.
As the ground thaws and gets ready to grow, we are preparing to plant 1600 trees. We’ve spent every weekend and many evenings at the farm. The boys have dug holes and had mud flights. They’ve burned trees and piled roots and brush. They've scouted turkeys and deer, collecting feathers, bones, and sheds. We’ve learned, played, and worked together in this quieter and colder season. And now we’re ready for fresh starts and growth.
A motto that I heard in a Peloton yoga class (thanks, Ross Rayburn) has stuck with me. I think of it for the old trees that were cut and slowly return to the ground, for the new trees we plant that will grow in the same ground. I pray this: “At the end of each day, may we give the day back to the earth.”