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Greentree Naturals Newsletter - Holiday 2010 - Year at a Glance

diane at market

Selling at the
Farmer's Market

Special Points of Interest on the Farm:

  • We harvested 389 pounds of garlic this year.
  • Our chickens laid over 850 dozen eggs since January 1st.
  • We had about 450 farm visitors come for garden walks this summer.
  • Thom harvested 535 pounds of summer squash.
  • 80 school children came and harvested pumpkins from our U-pick pumpkin patch this fall.
  • We harvested our first pears, apples and plums from the orchard we planted four years ago.
  • We hosted our 11th annual organic wine tasting that we do with a caterer we have worked with for 13 years.
  • We survived the growing season without apprentices this year. We just took a break, but plan on hosting students again next year.
  • Our freezer is full of food, including local pork & beef from neighboring farmers and our own home grown turkey and chickens.

Do as Much as You Can for as Long as You Can

There were a number of times this summer that we would look at each other and wonder how we were going to make it through the growing season. Farming is indeed a labor of love and it is a good thing we love what we do. What else would we do? We are all getting older and whatever age we happen to be, the ultimate goal is always to do as much as you can for as long as you can do it. I have always loved the story of the tortoise and the hare; slow and steady wins the race. And so, we move more slowly, without a race to win other than making it through another year of farming.

Thom & I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this year by taking a half day off to go canoeing and play in the lake. We rarely take time off during the busy summer season, so this was indeed a special day for us. I always tell ag students who are considering going into farming that they can count on working seven days a week, but will only have to work half days; a half day is 12 hours (if you are giving it your best).

Thom worked in Oregon last January doing regen surveys with Small Change and also worked as a contract tree planting inspector for Potlatch Corp about six weeks in the early spring. He says this may be the last season of working in the woods. Working on the farm and staying closer to home is on the top of the list these days for both of us. Thom continues to help out at a couple of neighbors farms, which helps to pay the bills. He is still strong as a bull and the kindest, sweetest man I have ever known.

We sell together at the farmers market now. This was our 20th year selling there.

This is the 4th year I have taught the Sustainable Small Acreage Farming and Ranching course for UI. This year, my proudest moment was to have two of our former apprentices who are currently farming, come into my class as guest speakers to talk about their farming experience. It feels good to be growing the next generation of farmers. We don’t have children so this is our way of sharing what we know. This winter, I will be helping to design an on-line version of the same farming & ranching course to make it available to a broader audience of people. This has inspired me to also work on developing more educational materials for Greentree Naturals. I will spend a good portion of this winter making a CD of “How to Plan an Organic Garden”; then we will sell it on our website. Eventually, we would like to make some videos that are educational & outline the on-farm organic gardening workshops that we have done for the past 16 years. We can’t work any harder so it’s time to work smarter.

We are still working on getting the commercial sized greenhouse up & growing. The process is very much like climbing a tall mountain with many obstacles to overcome. We persevere and look forward to having it in growing condition this year.

We wish you a healthy & prosperous New Year.

     ~ Diane & Thom


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