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Stop and Smell the Roses

There is always time to stop and smell the roses 🌷

My grandparents always had a massive rose garden. As a kid, I have fond memories of picking roses and watching my grandfather tend to his what seemed like millions rose bushes. My grandma loved to work in the rose garden too, it was always time with the whole family.
My father continued on the same tradition. He had a green thumb for roses and he loved those bushes. When my parents first moved into their house they had 100 roses in their yard. They eventually made a smaller garden, but still spent just as much time caring for those roses. Now, he has a good rose garden of probably 20-30 rose bushes. He used to always pick roses for my mom and bring them inside for her to enjoy. It was always a special little gift he made for her. 
Now we continue his legacy by picking roses and taking them to his grave. I know he was looking down on us this morning as my daughter was playing with his roses. I’m sure he was probably worrying about her…

Stop and Smell the Roses

There is always time to stop and smell the roses 🌷

My grandparents always had a massive rose garden. As a kid, I have fond memories of picking roses and watching my grandfather tend to his what seemed like millions rose bushes. My grandma loved to work in the rose garden too, it was always time with the whole family.
My father continued on the same tradition. He had a green thumb for roses and he loved those bushes. When my parents first moved into their house they had 100 roses in their yard. They eventually made a smaller garden, but still spent just as much time caring for those roses. Now, he has a good rose garden of probably 20-30 rose bushes. He used to always pick roses for my mom and bring them inside for her to enjoy. It was always a special little gift he made for her. 
Now we continue his legacy by picking roses and taking them to his grave. I know he was looking down on us this morning as my daughter was playing with his roses. I’m sure he was probably worrying about her…

Sticks, leaves and dirt...OH MY!

Almonds are harvested off a tree, where we shake them on the ground. Then they are swept into rows and picked up. Sounds like a fairly easy and simply process but there are a lot of moving parts with several steps and processes along the way.


If you start with shaking a tree, the vibrations don't just knock the almonds off the tree but of course any loose sticks or leaves will also fall too. This could cause a problem when it comes to sweeping the nuts. The sticks could get caught in the sweeper brushes and maybe even get caught up in the irrigation hoses.


Once the nuts are in the rows and the harvester is set to run through to pick up the almonds, those sticks could be troublesome again. The harvester will generally have to run at a slower speed through the field as to allow for the sticks to not get caught up in the series of belts that carry the almonds up. When the harvester empties the almonds into the shuttle cart and further on the elevator, sticks can clog up belts and c…

The empty chair

There are a million things on my mind and I don't know how to transfer them to words. Sometimes it is easier to write my feelings, then to speak them. As a writer, I am supposed to be good at translating thoughts, emotions, and ideas into words. Lately, all my thoughts are emotions. I am filled with emotions, sadness, and heartache. I am left with wordless paper, keypads with no letters and nothing on my mind but the empty chair.

My birthday is this week. Usually, I make it a birthday week or weeks, sometimes even a whole month. Birthdays to me, are a time of celebration, party, and rejoice. I loved celebrating birthdays growing up. It was always so fun. I got to pick a place to go out to dinner, what kind of dessert I wanted, and it was all about me. When there was a break in harvest, we would go up to the family cabin for a long weekend and relax, go on bike rides, fish and just hang out as family. My birthday usually falls on Labor Day weekend, so it was always a longer weeken…

Ag Afternoons

It's Back to School time! It seems like very time I check my social media, my news feeds are filled with Back to School photos of the cutest little kids. Some kids crying, some kids super excited, some parents crying, some parents super excited. It is a fun time of year.


With kids going back to school, something that may be on a number of parents minds is "what will they learn this year"? The normal stuff like learning, reading, writing, history, science all seem to come to mind. But what about farming, agriculture, crops that are grown around them? To some this may be part of the school curriculum and others it may not be. Maybe some kids get their agriculture lessons at home from "ranch school" or going to work with Mom and Dad. But to a majority of kids, they aren't learning the lessons of agriculture.


That is why I am so glad when organizations step up and take the lead to keep agriculture in the classroom. There are some great partners like Ag in the…

Harvest is Here

Almond harvest is here! Almond trees are shaking all over the valley and it's officially harvest season. About a week ago we started shaking on our farm.





But before you even start shaking, mowing is the true first sign of harvest. We don't just mow to make the orchard a cleaner environment. Grass could cause harvest equipment to get clogged up and unnecessary debris get stuck with the almonds  Weeds also take vital nutrients and water away from the trees and root system.


Once mowing is done, the orchard is ready for shaking! I like to say we shake the L out of them. Makes sense if you remember where I grew up. In Northern California we say A-MEND, just like salmon. None of that ALL-MEND business. But regardless of what you want to call it, almond shaking is how we get the nuts on the ground.



After we started shaking, the next day we were ready to start sweeping. Sweeping is the process of getting the almonds in nice, clean windrows so they can be picked up. Unfortunately, th…

Grandpa's Garden

Gardening is cheaper than therapy...a common phrase we hear all the time. I never really thought much about it until this weekend when I was in my Dad's garden.



My Dad’s garden also known as Grandpa’s Garden. He spent many of hours out there; planting, watering, weeding, harvesting and who knows what else. We never really understood the reasons he spent so much time out there. It was his time. His therapy. It was what he enjoyed to do. Gardening was his therapy. His time to relax and focus on those little plants.
He always had a large raised bed garden. When I was kid I have fond memories of the garden and growing veggies with my Dad. He always planted his garden on Good Friday. God would help his garden grow if he planted it then and he always had a bountiful garden. Tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, pumpkins, sunflowers and whatever he wanted to try. It was his place that he loved.


Now it is a place of remembrance. A place to be connected …

What to do with all the fresh fruit from your fruit tree

It's summer and nothing says summer more to me than fresh fruit right off the tree. I am lucky to have grown up with a whole row of fruit trees in my Dad's orchard. He has a few of everything; plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries, apples, pomegranates, oranges and even figs. Summertime just isn't complete without a fresh peach to eat as you're walking around the backyard.


When we moved into our house we live in now, we were lucky to have a peach and persimmon tree already in the backyard. They were large and established. In fact, we moved in July and the peach tree was kind of like a welcome home present. The first week we moved in, the peach tree was already gifting us with fresh fruit. Some may have been a little overwhelmed with a whole peach tree but I was rejoicing.


Within the next few years we added some dwarf trees to our collection too; lemon, nectarine, plum, pear, mandarin and lime are now part of our family too. Whether you too have a backyard fruit tree, …

Keto Brownie Bites

This week is 4th of July. It falls in the middle of the week so you have three options. Take two more days off work and make a five day weekend, take four days off work and get a whole week or stay at home. Even if you choose to take more days off work for a long weekend, which way do you go? Do you make a long weekend and end with 4th of July or do you start the weekend with 4th of July and take the following weekend off?


As a farmer, I don't have to choose. We are busy on the farm and therefore, leaving is not an option. Hopefully the 4th will be a half day of work so we can enjoy a backyard bbq or something low key at home.


Regardless of the option you choose, there will be lots of bbqs, backyard parties, swimming and endless eating. Whether it is a potluck, your own party or just the family, I bet you will be having some great food.




I don't know about you, but when it comes to potlucks or hangouts with friends, I always indulge. There is just always so many good looking …

My Daddy

Dad. Father. Papa. The one who holds the family together. Patriarch. Leader. Bear hugger. Most memorable laugher. Teacher of life lessons. The one who taught me to drive. Passion instiller. Farmer. Daddy. 

Dads are one of the most important people in our lives. My Dad meant so much to me. He was the reason I am who I am today. I remember from a young age farming with my dad. Driving around with him checking fields. I even had a small table in his office at the farm that I pretended to work just like him. He taught me so much about agriculture. He is the reason I love agriculture and farming. He gave me my passion for agriculture. He was so proud that my sister and I wanted to be involved in agriculture too. But he hated that I went to school so far away. And even though I didn’t come home to farm with him as planned, I married an almond farmer who he loved as his own son. 


  
It pains me to write about my Dad in past tense. There will be no more memories and future planning with my…

Walnut Day

We all have our day. A day to celebrate you. Whether it's your birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, there is a day to celebrate you. There are also a million days to celebrate things. Pizza lover's day, Donut Day, Puppy Day, well today is National Walnut Day.


Today is a day to celebrate walnuts. I may be Almond Girl Jenny, but walnuts are a close second in my nut heart. My Dad is a walnut grower and I grew up surrounded by walnuts just as much as I grew up surrounded by almonds. Walnuts are my favorite baking nut. There is just something about banana nut bread that makes me happy.


Walnuts also make me healthy. They are a healthy punch of protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, and healthy carbohydrates. Who knew one nut could have so many health benefits?


But did you also know that walnuts are the only nut that has any significant omega 3's? Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that is a plant based food source and walnu…

Walnut Bloom

The seasons are a changing. It is crazy how overnight winter was over and spring was out. Now this week, I feel like summer is coming with hot 90 degree days. But before the warm up, last week I spent a nice cool week in Chico visiting family.


There are a lot of things I miss about Chico but one is seasons. Chico has spring and more than just for a week! Can you tell I like seasons. Trees were blooming and pollen was flying. I may have grown up in Chico and it will always be home, but my sinuses forgot what all that pollen was and man were my allergies going crazy.


My parents are lucky to still live on the main ranch where they settled in the 1970's and made home. It is a beautiful walnut orchard now and the catkins were out while we were there. Catkins are the walnut's equivalent to a flower. They are essentially a pollen sack.







Walnuts are wind pollinated so they don't rely on bees like almonds and other fruit trees. The pollen will blow from one tree to another with wind.…