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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Shake, Rattle and Roll

It's time to shake, rattle and roll on the farm! It's officially almond harvest time and that means we are busy, busy getting everything moving. We have waited all year for these next couple months. Although we don't have as much of a crop on the trees as we would like, we are happy to have a crop to be harvesting. With the drought this year, our trees are water stressed causing them to be early. Our crop is usually harvested beginning or middle of August and for the second year in a row we started July 28th! The trees are ready to go early because they haven't had enough water and it forced their crop to come off early.

On Monday, we started mowing the orchards clean of weeds and debris off the orchard floor.  You need a clean floor for the nuts to have space to dry out. When we picked up the nuts, we don't want to pick up a lot of weeds or debris with them or else we get marked down at the huller.

On Tuesday, we started shaking! Shaking is the most exciting part of harvest for me. We get to watch the crop shake off the tree and make an almond blanket all over the floor. We started with Nonpareil, the earliest and most widely grown variety. We have the most acreage of this variety, so we will be shaking it for awhile before we move on to the others. So if you wonder what we are up to on the farm, we will be shaking!!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

Monday, July 27, 2015

The calm before the storm

I've been quiet in the social media and blogging world over the last couple months. I do have a good excuse though. Our family has taken some much needed vacations! We call it the calm before the storm. Our chance to unwind, relax and take in the views. All before the storm of harvest is about to begin this week! Every one needs a little time to calm yourself and regroup. This is just what our little family has been doing, and man did we enjoy ourselves!
Earlier in June, we were lucky enough to go to Kauai with my parents, sister and her family. It was great that we were blessed to have the chance to go. Living 5 hours from my family, we don't see them too often. So, I was looking very forward to spending a week with them all. I was a little nervous to fly with our then 6 month old baby. But he was a trooper and did a great job! I was so proud of him and the 6 hour flight.
I originally thought a week in Kauai would be so long and we wouldn't have enough to keep us busy. But, man was I mistaken. We didn't have enough time to do everything we wanted to. We enjoyed a Luau, sunset dinner cruise, drove up the Waimea Canyon,  relaxed on Poipu Beach, went shopping, toured the Kauai Coffee Plantation, road the train about Kilohana Plantation followed by rum tasting of Koloa Rum. We were busy all right, and not to mention the house we stayed at had great views and pool all while being ocean front! Ocean front homes are the way to enjoy a Hawaii vacation while traveling with a large group. Having 6 adults, 2 kids and a baby I would highly recommend staying in a house. The house gave us the opportunity to all be together and have private space in the same residence.
Kauai was a beautiful island to explore. It was lush and green everywhere without being too rainy or humid. There were great hiking trails for the adventure type, shopping for the laid back and a great view for everyone. It was my first time in Kauai and I will definitely go back.

While it was our first time in Kauai, we are no strangers to Pismo Beach.  Pismo Beach, Ca is right in our backyard about 2 hours west from our farm and home. My almond farmer and I actually went to college and met about 15 miles north of Pismo Beach at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. We love it there and always have a nice relaxing time. Every year though, my husband's family and three other families sync our schedules and enjoy 10 days together at the beach. That's right, about 40 people together for 10 days. We are spread out over 4 houses, but manage to join forces for dinners and beach time. Pismo was about 30 degrees cooler than our nice warm Central Valley, so needless to say it was a great escape from the heat. Since we are so familiar with the area we didn't need to go exploring. We made sure to stop at our favorite restaurants, shop our favorite locations and even enjoyed a concert night out! Relaxing by the ocean was a great calm before the storm.

Coming home yesterday, we were greeted by 97 degree weather, trees that needed to be harvested and a pile of laundry that exploded from our suitcases. We were blessed this summer with some great vacations to help us relax before the storm of harvest starts this week!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl




Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Changing paths, changing job titles

Everyone has a direction in life, a path to follow, an idea of what makes them happy. For the past several years I have been working for corporate agriculture companies, following a path I thought was one that made me happy. That's the interesting thing about paths, sometimes they fork, split, dead end, back up, jump forward, or fall off a cliff. There is only one person in life that truly knows where your path is going and we won't meet him the journey ends.  We just have to go with the path and take what bumps come forward.

Over 7 months ago my path turned, it brought me to this new path that I never thought I would enjoy as much as I do. When my little son was born, my life changed drastically. It wasn't just me and my husband anymore, there was this little man that depended on me, he needed me and what I didn't know was that I need him too. It's strange to think that you can go so long in life just happy and content, but when children are born they make it more complete.

After spending 3 months at home with my little man during my maternity leave from work, I quickly realized I couldn't leave this little guy to return to work. My employer was very generous and granted me a very generous maternity leave. I couldn't leave them after they giving me 4 months off. I was a career women. I wanted to move up in the world. I wanted to make my own money. I wanted to make a difference.

Well, I will still make a difference. I will still move up in the world and I will be a career women. I may not make my own money but being a mother to this little guy would be the most rewarding job I could have. I decided I needed to go back to work and give it a try though. Since my employer was so generous to give me four months off, the least I could do for them was give it a try. So there I was working full time and being a mommy full time. Luckily, my job allowed me a home office from the beginning, so getting adjusted to baby hours and work hours was a little easier. But my job was on the road 30% plus of the time. Those week long business trips and flights halfway across the country to the main office seemed harder and harder to make. I gave it a shot, I tried 2 months of this balancing act. But it wasn't long that I realized the only job I wanted was being a mommy. I packed up my belonging from my work truck, visited my favorite growers to tell them goodbye and set up an out of office for the last time. It was time for me to change my job title.

It is one of the hardest decisions I have made in my life, but also one of the most rewarding. For the last few months I have been a mommy full time and nothing else. Well, who am I kidding, I have now become a lunch delivery service, parts runner, errand girl, baby food maker, and so much more. Not too mention all the other boards and committees I already sit on and don't want to give up.  But at the end of the day, being a mommy is the best job I didn't know I wanted! Being able to see all those 'firsts' is the most beautiful thing. I can't even imagine not being there to see all his life moments take place. My new path of motherhood is going to be the best journey I could ever ask for!


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl