A Fruitful June

Among the many chaotic, productive, and wonderful things developing on the farm right now, the weather is one thing that seems to be settling into a rhythm. We’ve had some nice rain, some cool nights, some hot and sunny days. After a May that felt like desert August, June has felt much more like June.

The one exception to our seasonal June weather was a wild storm that barreled through the countryside last week, with huge wind and deafening rain that left many trees down in our area and some of our neighbors without power or internet. Though the plants in the field were battered and wind-blown, and though we had to repair a small section of the brand new blueberry trellis, we were otherwise spared any major damage. We suspect that the low pressure system carried with it some weird energy though, because the rest of last week was spent fixing broken things - among them the air conditioner that keeps our cooler at 42 degrees (thanks Provider Farm for allowing us to throw some stuff in your cooler while we got it fixed!).

As you know if you’ve read our blog in the past, my amazing Gucker family rarely shows up without an adventurous and vaguely scary plan to build something or take something down, and last weekend was no exception. The weekend’s agenda was to cut down the giant dead spruce tree that has leaning precariously out over the uphill corner of the house since we bought it, because the last thing we need is a tree falling on the most ancient corner of our ancient house. So, with absolute calm and competence, my brother strapped on his rock climbing harness and climbed the tree, cutting it down limb by limb. Once he had reached the top and found a good place to cut the trunk, he tied off his rope just below the cut line and chopped off the top third with my dad on the ground pulling it in the direction we wanted it to fall (away from the house!). It was a very impressive feat that they, of course, made look easy. The photos really say it all, but just to reiterate, my brother is a total badass. Then my equally badass sister and stepmother burned the entire tree in a giant bonfire, killing an inconceivable number of nasty caterpillars along the way. In the pouring rain. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we’d be lost without you, Guckers. Thank you!

And then, at the end of the weekend, the most amazing thing happened. Lindsay, my all star farmer sister, STAYED HERE. And is staying here until the end of July! Having her here for part of the summer is invaluable to the farm, and such an amazing gift to me. Long summer days with my sister is the stuff that dreams are made of.

In recent weeks we’ve been blessed with an unexpected and delicious surprise. Our fruit trees and bushes have absolutely exploded with ripe fruit with an intensity we could not have predicted. Our low expectations for how productive they were going to be were mediated by their craggly limbs and old age (some of the trees were planted in the 1950s!) but boy were we wrong. The mulberry tree is covered in so many ripe mulberries that we don’t even worry about sharing with the birds, the concord grape vines are laden with tiny green grapes, and the wild black raspberries are ripening daily. Our 70 mature blueberry bushes have started to ripen the first few unbelievably delicious blueberries, which we have downright refused to share. Pretty soon we’ll be overwhelmed with so many blueberries that we will be ready to bring them to market and leave them on neighbors doorsteps, but for now we’re hoarding them all for ourselves. Besides turning our fingers and teeth blue eating them fresh by the quart, we’ve also achieved the ultimate luxury in celebration of Elise’s 30th birthday: blueberry pie. In June. With our very own organic blueberries. It may have been the most delicious pie we’ve ever eaten.

All that being said, our cherry tree deserves special mention. When we started to notice that the spindly old tree was covered in giant rainier cherries, and that they were turning red and tasted absolutely delicious, we were eager to share them with our beloved next door neighbors who grew up on our property. But when we excitedly told Peggy that the cherries had started ripening, she was shocked – apparently that tree has only produced fruit one other year since it was planted 40 years ago. It’s a mystery, but her working theory is that her parents are dancing around the orchard on the spring breezes, happy to see us setting down roots on their ancient farmstead. With full hearts we will gratefully accept the blessing, and are honored to be the recipients of such a delicious and positive omen about the years to come.