Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2013

My summer essentials for raising kids on the farm

It is officially summer and mother nature is reminding us with the 100 degree weather that is so graciously here. With summer comes lots of outside time for the kids. Raising kids on the farm takes summer to a whole new level. There is just dirt everywhere, dirt in my house, dirt in the diapers, dirt places I didn't know dirt could go. It is just something I learn to deal with and I have also learned to hire a good cleaning lady.
But, with summer comes endless hours of fun and family time. We spend hours outside, in the fields, walking through the orchards, picking up parts, running down equipment and taking meals to the farm during those late work nights.
In the midst of all the craziness, there are certain things I just can't live without. Things that make life so much easier. Things that I have learned to love. I created a list of my summer essentials for raising kids on the farm. These have been some of my favorites during the last four years.

I have two kids, born during…

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 …