“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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!