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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Last Adventure as Three

The last couple week's I have been a little MIA, especially when it comes to regular social media updates on the farm or the family. Well, we decided to go on one last adventure as three. In a mere 9 weeks, our next little baby H is set to arrive. Our summer will be filled with the new baby and the adventures of raising two, all happening 1 MONTH before almond harvest will begin. That's right, about the time hull split is scheduled to occur and spray usually needs to be applied, I will most likely be welcoming a new baby into the family and taking my farmer husband away from the farm.
Luckily, our family farm has plenty of family around that will be helping out so hopefully my farmer husband can take a few days to help me get used to life as a mom of two.
But anyways, before that chaos starts and before I feel so uncomfortably pregnant, we wanted to take one last adventure as three. When thinking of places to go, relax and explore it seems like the beach is always the first thing to come to our minds. We live just under 2 hours from Pismo Beach area, which is very popular for getting away. It is also the area we went to college, so we are pretty familiar with where to go and what to see.
But I do have to admit, as much as I love the beach, I am more of a mountain girl. I grew up 2 hours from a family mountain cabin and exploring the lake, creeks and trails was always much more exciting to me.
After some contemplation with the husband, we decided mountains would be much more relaxing and change of scenery for us. When discussing where to go, we both made a weird realization. We live 3 hours from Yosemite National Park and neither of us had ever been there. As children, we both had gone on cross country car trips to see Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Four Corners, etc. but we had never been to Yosemite.
That was it. We were going to explore our own backyard vacation hotspot. After some research, I discovered a great vacation rental company, Redwoods in Yosemite, where you can rent a private cabin for your family. The cabins are fully equipped for your vacation needs as they double as private cabins that individuals own and use as well. It was perfect for us. I made our breakfast every morning, packed a picnic lunch for the day and we made it back for dinner every night. We did indulge one night with a dinner out at nearby Tenaya Lodge.  It was a great out of park, not as crowded option for good food.
Staying by the south entrance of the park was perfect for us. It was near the small town of Wawona that isn't as crowded or touristy as the other areas of the park. We were able to go explore and hike around our cabin, walk down to a near by elementary school for playtime, and still be close to a market for last minute food items I forgot.

Our little almond farmer playing in the park
On Thursday, it rained most of the day. But we were able to take in some sights and explore Big Trees Lodge area in between the rain. There is a Pioneer Village just up the road where you can take a self guided walking tour of old buildings and history of the pioneer days of Yosemite. Our little man enjoyed the old farm equipment and knocking on all the doors to see if anyone was home in the cute little cabins.
Rainy day tour of Pioneer Village
The day before we were only about a 45 minute drive from Yosemite Valley and the massive Yosemite Falls. Driving into the Yosemite Valley the sights are incredible. The valley is covered with quaint meadows, trails and the most beautiful waterfalls. This is also the most attractive places to stay in Yosemite so the two big lodges are here and multiple campgrounds, making traffic and parking kind of a nightmare. But we spent a good amount of time exploring the trails, scenic areas and waterfalls.
I was glad we didn't stay here though, too many people for me. I was happy to make the short drive back to our cabin at the end of the day and relax in quiet. It was the best time to go though, the record amount of rain and snow we have received made the falls overflowing with water.

Yosemite Falls

Lower Falls
On our last day we packed up our suitcases, said goodbye to our cabin and made the drive out of the park and towards Mariposa.  This town has loads of history in gold mining and was fun to explore. They have a quaint downtown filled with boutique shops, antiques, alpaca wool store, and olive oil tasting. A few miles up the road there was also a Mariposa Museum filled with old mining memorabilia and artifacts. This was a great little pit stop for us on our way to Chico for Easter.


I would say our last adventure as three was a success. My farmer husband got his history fix, with plenty to learn and read. My little almond farmer got to explore, play in the snow and run all over new places. And as for me. I got to relax with my two boys and enjoy the beauty we have in our own backyard before the chaos of motherhood is about to double!


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Life

Life can change in a blink of an eye. What is constant today, may be different tomorrow. Who we cherish and love, could be gone in a flash. In a world so fast paced and ever evolving as ours, you would think we would all be okay with this. But no. We aren't. And when change occurs, it shocks us. It rocks our boat. It alters our plans. But that is one thing I have learned over the years. We have no control over our plans.


There is a greater being that knows and understands our future far more than we do. We may have a path and a plan for what tomorrow should be, but tomorrow may bring something else. Life can change in a blink of an eye. There is something greater pushing us, challenging us, forcing us to take the other path.



The path we think we want, may not be the one we end up taking. Not by choice, but a greater pull. Life is full of unexpected pulls, changes and challenges. Just when you think you have life under control and you are headed down your path, you will make a sharp curve and end up somewhere else. We can't control life. As much as we want and try, it just can't happen.


We want our friends and family to be safe, healthy and happy. But sometimes the unexpected events happen and they are lost, gone forever. That evil word, cancer, is more and more common in daily conversations today. Tragic unexpected, unexplained accidents happen everyday. Know matter how religious you may be, evil can still come into your life. God is constantly changing our paths.


It may not seem like he has any reason for the tragedy he puts in your live, but there is a lesson to be learned. Something he wanted you to take away from it. He has a funny way of showing love sometimes. But don't give up hope. Life can change in a blink of an eye. What you may look at as tragedy today, could be hope and a new future tomorrow.


Love. Love each other. Love your enemy. Tell them you love them. Show them you love them. Don't be afraid to try something new. To step out of your box and be different. Life can change in a blink of an eye.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The time I met the Peterson Farm Bros

From Kansas farm boys to overnight internet sensations, I would say the Peterson Farm Brothers are leading agriculture advocates. When I found out that our California Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference was going to host these three famous Kansas boys, I was pretty excited to say the least. They literally are reaching the world with their agriculture advocacy work and getting people all over to talk about farming, and they didn't even mean to.
It all started on their Kansas family farm in May of 2012 when the oldest brother, Greg, had an idea for a farming parody song of the popular "I am sexy and I know it". Over the course of the next month, the boys would film their video "I am farming and I grow it" and at the end of the June they posted it on their personnel social media pages and sent it to family and friends.


They had hoped that maybe someday that video would get 50,000 views. Someday. But they honestly just wanted to make a fun video for family and friends. Well within two weeks, that video had been viewed on YouTube 5 million times!  Yep, 5 million times in 2 weeks! They had appeared on national news and people all over the world were talking about the Peterson Farm Brothers.
video video
Now from farming, speaking at conferences, blogging, advocating and making videos these boys have their hands full. One still in college and the two oldest back on the farm, it isn't your usual farm family lifestyle. But they are so down to the earth and level headed individuals.


They were an inspiration to me. Not that I am going to start making music videos about almonds anytime soon, but their advocacy and outreach is an inspiration. They are just normal farm boys, similar to ones all around me. But they take advocacy and outreach to the next level. They draw people in with their witty and entertaining videos but then they keep you captivated by teaching you a little something about cows, pesticides and farming issues.


I felt blessed to have the opportunity to sit across the table from them at breakfast and listen to their story. They are still so level headed and honest people. They may have crazy speaking engagement schedules and film music videos on their farm, but they are just three Kansas boys from a farming family who want to highlight the positives of what farmers and ranchers do everyday.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

California Agriculture Day

Agriculture is a vital part to our lives. Not just to the farmers who are growing our food, but for the consumers who enjoy the fruits of our labor. All too often, consumers go to the grocery store and expect what they want to be on the shelves. If it isn't, they get upset and ask the grocery clerk to check the back. Well, how often does the consumer connect the dots from the grocery store to the farmer. Not enough.


This week as we celebrate Agriculture, let's help consumers connect the dots. Today is California Agriculture Day and a great day to celebrate agriculture.


This week, I had the privilege of volunteering at our local Farm Day in the City sponsored by our local Farm Bureau. Over 4,000 children from 3rd and 4th grade from all over the county come to the fairgrounds over two days to learn about agriculture, food and farming. It is an event that our local Farm Bureau has been organizing for over 30 years. Similar events take place all over the state and nation and it is a great way to connect children to the food they eat. Kids get an opportunity to milk a cow, learn about irrigation, watch a cattle roping, ride on tractors and realize the importance agriculture plays in their everyday lives.


All too often we drink that glass of milk and never think about the cow, dairyman or trucker that brought it to the store before you bought it. Not to mention the farmer who grew the grain and processor who made it into food for the cow to eat. There are so many steps involved to get our food to the store, in our fridge and on the table that we lose track of how it got there and the people involved in doing just that.
Organizations like Ag in the Classroom are doing a great job at creating and distributing agriculture curriculum to those that need it. Through lesson plans, activity sheets, books, events, and grants they are able to reach a broader audience than your average farmer.

Today, is also Ag at the Capital Day where agriculture organizations gather at the California capital steps in Sacramento to showcase agriculture and farming to not only our state legislature but children and public wanting to learn about food and where it comes from.


These are great examples of ways farmers and agriculture organizations are trying to inform and educate children and the average consumer. Today and this week is really about education and the opportunity to showcase the abundance that California is able to produce with less and less.


California is the leading agriculture state in the nation, growing far more than any other state. We grow more than 400 different crops, a majority of which are specialty crops that are unique and not grown in very many other places.


California is the sole US producer, producing 99% or more, of almonds, artichokes, pistachios, prunes, raisins, pomegranates, cling peaches, sweet rice, walnuts, dates, figs, clover seed and kiwis. California also produces nearly half of fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the United States. I'd say that is a state worth celebrating!




Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny



 


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spring has sprung...for now

Almond bloom has come and gone. Those pretty white flower petals have fallen onto the orchard floor and now it looks like snow. It is the closest thing to snow that we will get in the valley and I am okay with that.




Now those flowers are turning into little nuts and soon will be fuzzy little nut jackets in the making. Flowers and bloom may be the sign of spring coming, but to me the formation of those nuts hopefully means a successful spring and harvest to come. Spring has sprung...for now!



It was a fast and furious bloom season with less than ideal weather. The bloom was slightly earlier than in regular years but mostly on track. The flowers had bloomed and the trees were turning green in a mere three weeks. Meaning those bees only had a short window to get in and get busy.


Bees will not be active and pollinating unless the weather is what they want. They are picky bees and want that warmer mid 50's or higher temperatures with no fog or rain. In our 3 week bloom window these days weren't super abundant. With two series of rainstorms during bloom it made for pollinating flowers to be rather difficult.


Now that bloom is over the flowers will be working on forming nuts. The trees are lush and green in color with leaves sprouting up. Now those bees are angry as they look for flowers that have come and gone. Beekeepers are working hard to move their bees to the next crop and onto their new adventures.







The orchards are gorgeous and a true sign that spring is here. We have been enjoying these 80 degree temperature days and it feels like spring. Well for now. Next week, it is projected to be back in the 60's with a chance of rain again.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Womens Day- A day to celebrate Farmer's Wife's

On this, International Women's Day I celebrate the fellow Farmer's Wife.


Today and everyday we work hard to tend to our family, land, animals, friends, neighbors and community. We don't get days off and often work a day job to come home, help with the farm and then ensure dinner is on the table and the kids are fed.


Today is for you. The hard working, ever caring, ever giving, backbone to agriculture.




Me and my boys!

My family. My sister and her family, my parents, myself and my farmer. My mom holds their family farm together

My Mother in Law and son, the farmer's wife who holds our farm together

My mother with her three grandchildren, my example of a Farmer's Wife growing up



And on the 9th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “Oh dear, the farmer is going to need help.” So God made a farmer’s wife.


God said, “I need somebody who will get up before dawn, make breakfast, work all day in the kitchen, bank, school or alongside her farmer and then come home to fix supper and wash up the dishes”. So God made a farmer’s wife.


God said “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with their newborn son. And watch him grow. Then pray each morning and teach her children to say, ‘please and thank you.’ I need somebody who can make a fried egg sandwich, stretch a pay check or thicken soup, who can clean her house with vinegar, baking soda and hot water. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish her forty-hour week on Friday, then, join her farmer in the field for another two days, six meals and five loads of laundry.” So God made a farmer’s wife.


God said, “I need somebody strong enough to plant trees and heave bales, to co-sign a load for a half a million with steady hands, yet gentle enough to tame show lambs and raise kids and calm the farmer when he’s upset over higher rent or lower corn, who will stop her work for an hour to talk on the phone to her neighbor who just found out her mother is sick. Somebody who could cook and clean and not cut corners. Somebody to wash, dry, iron, tidy, feed, rake, water, drive, check the homework and pack the lunch bags and remember the basketball schedule and replenish the refrigerator and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile ride to church. Somebody who’d sew a family together with the soft strong stiches of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh and then reply, with smiling eyes, when her daughter says she wants to spend her life “doing what mom does”. So God made a Farmer’s Wife …

This edition of So God made a Farmer's Wife is courtesy of Sierra Shea.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny


Wednesday, March 1, 2017