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Showing posts from December, 2013

Camp Fire Donation Resources

It has taken me two weeks to be able to write this post. I keep struggling with words, how to express my sadness, how to help, just what to say. But here goes...


The morning of November 8th will be a day everyone in Butte County will remember. The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. It is the deadliest wildfire in US history in the past 100 years. The town of Paradise was destroyed by the fire, forcing 27,000 people to flee within hours. The news reports and stories victims tell are chilling and leave you speechless. For the last two weeks, my newsfeeds and text messages have been filled with Camp Fire stories and relief efforts.


Butte County is where I was born and raised. My hometown of Chico is where many sought refuge and hope following the tragic event. My mother worked in Paradise for a good chunk of my childhood. I have many memories of the church she worked at, the rectory that is no longer standing, and the local businesses we supp…

Christmas in Chico

In my household, Christmas is a time for family, friends and faith.  I was able to go to my hometown of Chico, Ca for the holidays and spend time with my family. On Christmas morning we woke to a white Christmas! Well, for the Northern Sacramento Valley we consider a white Christmas frost. There was a pretty white frost layer on the orchard floor on Christmas morning.

My family lives in the middle of a walnut orchard now. In the winter, they just look like giant sticks! In Northern California, a lot of the farmers have started planting walnuts and not as many almonds. Walnuts aren't as susceptible to frost damage due to the cold weather that comes with Northern California. Walnuts also generally require less inputs and man power then almonds. If you drive up highway 99 north of Sacramento you will see more and more walnuts being planted for these reasons.What can I say we are all just nutty!

I have to tell you I was very blessed this Christmas season. I was able to spend almost a …

Almond Wood and Deep Pit

This weekend we had Christmas with my husband's side of the family and we decided to test out the new deep pit. My husband and his father built a 6 foot deep pit out of an old concrete pipe line they dug up when they were ripping the old field out. They dug a giant hole out at our shop yard and stuck this 6 foot pipe in it. At the bottom of the hole they poured concrete so there would be no air pockets or dirt in the hole. That is pretty much all you need to deep pit meat, a giant hole in the ground! So they decided to test it out for Christmas dinner. 
First, you need to start a fire and let it burn for at least 4 hours to heat the entire pit. What kind of wood did we use?  Almond wood of course, we think it burns the best! Some good seasoned almond wood burns a long, hot fire that is perfect not only for your deep pit, but home fireplace as well. I wouldn't have a fire with anything else! You want seasoned wood that is dried out for an extended period of time, last ye…

Christmas almond cookies

It's the holiday season and that means Christmas cookies and sugary sweets everywhere. I like to bake an assortment of different kind of cookies and such to have around during the holidays. It comes in handy when your going over to someone's house for holiday dinner, if you forget to buy a friend a gift, or just want to bring some sweets over and brighten someone's day. Of course I like to incorporate almonds as much as I can when it comes to holiday baking. By no means am I an aspiring baker or a Betty Crocker, I just like to bake and have fun in the kitchen. The two recipes I am going to share are super easy and fool proof. I actually acquired these recipes from an email chain around the holidays a couple years ago.

First almond recipe: Almond bark.



All you need is one package of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of chopped almonds. You could use all mint, white chocolate, dark chocolate, any kind of chips you wish. This time I used a mixed bag of mint and dark chocolate chi…

Hedging time on the farm!

The temperature has started to drop and it is most definitely winter now. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were still enjoying our 70 degree days and wondering how long fall was going to last for us in the Central Valley. Now that the colder weather seems here to stay, the fall leaves are saying good bye as well.  After the leaves have turned their color and winter weather turns to cold, the trees go to sleep for the winter months. The fall and early winter is time to prune the trees and what we call hedge.

Hedging is essentially cutting the middle branches out of the center of the rows and creating space for sunlight to reach its way into the rows of the orchard. The trees need sunlight, just as we do, for nutrients to help feed the trees in the development of almonds.

Massey, our black Labrador Retriever, loves to walk through the center of the orchard with us to take advantage of the sun that shines through. When almond trees are fully grown they can get up to 30 feet tall and spre…

Thankful

The holidays are always a time to reflect on what you’re thankful for. During all the hustle and bustle, it is nice to stop and think about all that we have in our lives.

I am thankful for family. Last week was thanksgiving and my family came down from Northern California to spend the holiday with us. I am thankful for the chances we get to spend time together. I am thankful for the memories, laughter and smiles that are created during our visits.

I am thankful for the opportunity my parents gave me of growing up on a farm. Working in the fields during holiday vacations and summer break, I was able to appreciate the land around me. I may have not liked the physical labor all the time, but looking back on it now, it strengthened me as an adult. Having the chance to work alongside my father, sister and cousins was a great experience I wouldn’t trade. I grew up raising sheep and swine for 4-H and FFA. I am thankful my parents gave me the opportunity to learn responsibility and finance …