“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” – Tom Hiddleton

mini orchard
Our apple, cherry and pear trees have really taken off in the last few years

I love that saying for so many reasons, but for Mary and I yesterday – it was the perfect quote.

It felt like all of those baby steps we have taken the last 5 years in establishing our little farm were starting to pay off.

As we spent the morning working in our little mini-orchard to straighten up a few of the trees with stakes and rope – it happened.

One of our first trees planted in 2011 at the farm
One of our first trees ever planted beginning to grow in 2012

We pulled back a small limb on a Fuji apple tree, and there it was – the very first apple ever on our little OWG farm.

Now, it may not seem like a big deal to someone who has an old apple tree and hundreds of apples in their yard – but for us – it meant everything! I can tell you that ever since planting those trees – we have patiently waited for yesterday to happen.

The apple trees to us are much more than just apple trees. They are a symbol of what planning, persistence and patience are all about.

I can remember 5 years back, when we carefully planned out the trees – picking the right varieties that would pollinate – and carefully digging each hole as we planted – only to drive into the farm and see the trees skinned and toppled over the next day by a renegade deer.

The deer destroyed two of our newly planted and unprotected fruit trees last fall.
The deer destroyed most of our newly planted trees in 2011

So we learned.  Out of that first group – only one tree survived the deer attack, and when we replanted a few weeks later, we learned that each fall we need to wrap the trees and bark to keep them safe. And slowly – ever so slowly – the apple trees began to grow.  Each Spring, just like yesterday – we would adjust the stakes and ties to keep the trees straight – hoping that a little work now would pay off later.

It’s a bit comical – but as soon as we spotted that first apple yesterday on the tree – the race was on.  We both practically sprinted from from tree to tree – searching each branch to look for more. And without fail at each tree, sure enough, we found a few apples hanging down.

Even the grapes are beginning to produce!
Even the grapes are beginning to produce!

And even though our harvest may be a total of 15 apples this year – it didn’t stop us from thinking about turning those apples into home-made apple butter, apple pie, apple cider or maybe even apple crisp.

All of those things that we love to make, and until now – have made from locally purchased apples – but can now be made from our own!

That same philosophy of Plan, Persistence and Patience holds true for a lot of other long-term crops around the farm too.

Our new home for the bees on a protected hillside.
Our new home for the bees on a protected hillside.

Our blueberry bushes that we planted a few years back have really grown – and are full this year of young and tender fruit. Our grapes in our mini-vineyard have also taken off – and have formed what should be our first crop late this summer. And even our honey bee hives, after a bit of a struggle, have now been moved to a new and safer home up on the hillside, ready to provide pollination for our crops, and honey for us.

We often get asked about “how did you start it all” – or “what is your secret?” The answer really is simple. You do a little something every day, every week, every year- and eventually – at some point – you realize you have built your mountain. It’s really not a secret at all.

The farm - it has taken a lot of planning, persistence and patience. But its all worth it!
The farm – it has taken a lot of planning, persistence and patience. But its all worth it!

Just like the quote – you keep putting that one foot in front of the other – and before you know it – you just might have your mountain of apples, honey and grapes – or whatever your goals are.

But most importantly, you have to be okay that you don’t know what is around the corner – because there will definitely be days when things fail, but its the act of continuing to take those steps that make it all eventually come true. I think that is why at the end of the day – gardening and growing your own food is such a rewarding experience.

Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary!

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13 thoughts on “We Have Baby Apples! The Power of Planning, Patience and Persistence…

  • June 13, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    My Granddaughter and I just found our little baby apples today and we are so excited. This is the first year for our young apple tree. We checked out our plumb trees and they have a lot of babies on them also. So happy about the apples, we lost 5 trees two winters ago to rabbits eating a ring around the trunk. The snow was so deep it covered the protection we had around the tree so the bunnies ate the apple bark above the protection and many of the lower branches.

  • June 3, 2015 at 8:36 am

    It’s such a wonderful filling when you see a tree fruit begining to produce…I had the same filling with one tangerin tree this year… It made my day, week, month, year. There’s no price to that.

  • June 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I love that! I could feel the excitement in just reading this…Happy apple day! 🙂 Such a great symbol of hard work, patience and persistence paying off!

  • June 1, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    I have a heavy bearing apple tree, but the bugs damage a lot (most) of the apples. I don’t want to put chemicals on the trees though. When I cut them up to eat or add to a recipe, we don’t get much apple left after peeling, cutting bruise/bug holes, and the core.

    I will be interested to see how you handle these issues with your apple trees.

  • June 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Love reading your articles. I am doing some of the same projects. Our garden is 36′ x 66′, I plan to weigh the produce this year. We also have planted apple and pear trees January 2012, It is so cool to see the buds and then the fruit. It is interesting to see the similar results in the different regions of the country.

    North of Montgomery, ALabama

  • June 1, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Oh yes….those deer! We lost trees two years in a row. Finally….success! It is so exciting to see that first fruit! Do you spray with Dormant Oil Spray? How do you handle insects on the apple trees?

  • June 1, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Fantastic article. I’ve thought about these things myself several times over the years.
    As far as the apple trees go, same story here I just replanted this year so I’ve got a bit to go, however my grape vines are looking really good this year!
    Homestead in Missouri

  • May 31, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Congratulations……I am so happy for your family. Yes, hard work pays off most of the time. We have been disappointed so often here in Mobile, Alabama with the crazy weather. heat and rain. But there are some blueberries on the bush this year and they seem to be ripening and we have one tree full of figs. Now I hope they just ripen and we can eat them. It is exciting to see fruit of your labor.

  • May 31, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I’m excited for you and your baby apples! We planted an apple and pear tree last year. However, we didn’t realize until we planted them that they need another tree close enough to be cross pollinated. The Apple has multiple varieties so it will pollinate itself and there are many wild Apple trees nearby. But we thought we’d have to buy a second pear tree this year. However, we found tiny pears on it recently- so I can appreciate your excitement at your discovery- there must be another pear tree somewhere close enough to ours. Still waiting patiently for the apple tree to start producing but I am happy enough, each spring, to find them leafing out and looking healthy.
    Do you plan to treat your apples in anyway to prevent pests? We used to live near an organic pick-your-own orchard- they dusted their apples with clay to deter pests.

  • May 31, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Congratulations on your new “babies”! We are probably 3-4 years behind you so I LOVE your posts. Of course we are on a MUCH smaller scale but I have learned so much through you, so thank you! Next on my list is beekeeping (one hive). We’re having a bit of a disagreement right now because I want a traditional hive (it’s an experience) and hubby wants to do that new method of snap frames where you just turn a knob, hold your jar under a spigot and out it comes. What fun is that?! 🙂

    • June 1, 2015 at 7:09 am

      I’m a beginning 4 year bee keeper and just added my second hive. My recc is traditional Langstroth 10 frame hive, as you get experience you can experiment.
      Homestead in Missouri

      • June 3, 2015 at 8:17 am

        Thanks Jeff! I agree! I’ll win, I’m sure. Ha!

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