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oxymoron (ok”si mo”on). a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “farmers vacation.”

This quote is taken directly from my, on the office shelf, Websters Dictionary ( with the exception of the Farmers Vacation, which was my addition!) A farming vacation is certainly an example, in my opinion, of an oxymoron. In the world of a farmer is is a positive phrase to say the least. We rarely take a vacation away from the ranch not only due to the work required for maintenance but because we actually love the beauty that is our home business. We are blessed to have our home in the midst of a beautiful setting. Its beauty is never lost because it changes with the seasons. Each time you walk out the front door, take a moment to sit on the rocking chair and take in the view, smell and sounds we realize what a bounty of beauty we are privileged to be a part of.


Recently the Farmer and I took a 24 hour vacation from the ranch and it was the best short trip we have taken in some time. We drove up the North Coast towards Bodega Bay and beyond. Though our day started later than intended we could not have picked a more spectacular day. The weather was absolutely perfect.

Coleman Beach above Bodega Bay

You may ask yourselves, “What type of vacation can anyone take in 24 hours?” I realize it often takes at least that much time just to unwind and begin to enjoy your “vacation?” Not the farmer. When the opportunity presents itself, it must be taken advantage of. We were able to step away from the business that is our lifestyle and have a renewed perspective and appreciation for our chosen line of work. Vacation, in whatever form it is described, is a chance to remove oneself from the day to day routine and formulate a refreshing outlook on what routine has become and learn to appreciate it.

For the small farmer in business, vacation, as most folks understand it, has it’s own definition. Farming is an attachment to the land that is difficult to explain. Even though it seems to be the off season in farming, it is actually a very busy time as preparation takes place for the opening of the fruit stand to the public. If your were to drive by the ranch today you would see the beautiful fruit trees in blossom, the daffodils are completing their spectacular two and a half week bloom, mustard is growing between the rows and the Closed for the Season, Call for Jam sign will greet you at the driveway. Mother Nature has been dry this winter season and as we all know that is a mixed blessing. Yes we need the rain and it will come sooner or later. The dryness has been a benefit to us, but that is of course, not always the case. Last winter we had a late wet spring that devastated our Blenheim apricot crop and set the season off kilter from the start. This year the trees are in bloom, the pruning has been completed and the necessary spraying has been on schedule to prevent the brown rot that can easily destroy a stone fruit crop.

Sunshine in the winter!


Ray in a field of grafted young peach trees

The job moves ever onward and there is never a dull moment. March is here and the job of planting the seeds for the hoop-house is underway. With Mother Nature on our side and and overabundance of TLC the germinated seedlings required by germinate the seedlings will soon be ready for transplanting in the soil. The ordering of seeds for planting throughout the season is a never ending project this time of year. So many catalogs, so little time. Some self-restraint and self-control must be exercised when turning each beautiful page. Sometimes the dog-eared pages of the catalogs far outnumber the plants and seeds we have room to plant.

With all the field work that takes place to prepare for the upcoming season, it goes without saying that the marketing aspect is equally important. Marketing and promotion of a business is an ever and constant changing process. We have come to realize we need to be an expert as Webmaster, Facebook as well as a marketing wiz!!! The realization has become very clear to us that we are , at best, mediocre at all three and are very fortunate to have folks that are providing their expertise in those areas to make our business “well-rounded” so to speak. Our thanks and gratitude go to Tracy Ellison Facebook- Aficionado, web designer and graphic designer, Jose and Lyla Diaz www.diaz-communications.com and Carolyn Higgins www.fortunemarketing.com

The season is progressing on schedule and we are looking forward to seeing you all this summer. New changes and suprises have been taking place over the winter that we are very excited about. Change is always good for a small business. As the Blenheim apricots ripen for their display in late June we anticipate our opening.