Beautiful berries when we had them!

We are replanting Natchez behind the house, planting a couple of currant, gooseberry, and elderberry plants.  We are also adding a new variety, Osage, which is similar to the Natchez.  Our Natchez have been damaged by various things and so we are moving that planting to behind our house.  We also added some rhubarb so we could make strawberry rhubarb jam.  

Find us off the farm in 2016:

Wednesday at Overland Park Farmer's Market July and August
Saturday at Overland Park Farmer's Market , June, July, August

2015 Summary and 2016 Projections:
Other than the Royals (who we have followed closely even in the 29 losing years) winning the World Series, 2015 was a tough year for us physically and emotionally.  The state of the farm kind of reflected our life last year.  Charlie best friend and his brother died within a few months of each other and then it started raining.  

It actually rained double here what it did in the rest of Kansas City.  The storms went north of KC and then dropped south right on us, they went south and then swung north, they came straight west over the top of us.  It rained 50 inches.  It rained 29 days straight here in May!  9", 6", 5", 6"  and then 1/2" to 1" every day other day.  The entire county got washed to China I think.  Certainly all the gravel we bought did, and the neighbor washed enough dirt over to us to fill one of the sink holes.  He lost 5-6 inches of top soil.  Less than 20% of the county was planted and the rain and lack of sunshine was not good for any of the berries.  Seasons were short and messy with mud and stuck equipment everywhere.  We couldn't mow, and by the time we could we needed to bale!

Renee had health issues all summer, and was then diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall.  She is doing very well overall, but just finished radiation in March 2016 and started a cancer drug, Tamoxifen, at the end of March 2016.  This has changed our spring 2016 farm plans as we try to get her used to the new meds and get her stamina and strength back.  She definitely still has some physical limitations so we have decided to take the spring strawberry and raspberry season on limited activity, not having publicly posted hours.  That way we can follow her health needs rather than be stressed or unprepared if she isn't up to the public.  

We also added a child in the fall who is Trevor's age.  Adjusting the household to 5 children between 10 and 17 alongside the health issues has been huge.  However, it is in times like this that we see the hand of God, our friends, faithful customers, and family come along side us.  We had cancer pruning days in February as we hadn't been able to prune the farm with all the issues.  Over 110 people came out to prune, the Lathrop FFA came out to clean up all the pruning branches, and a local church started bringing meals 3 days a week to get us thru the end of radiation and the start of the cancer drug.  

2015 was a dark, dark year for us--like nothing we have ever imagined facing.  2016 has brought better weather, loving care, faithful hands, and renewed hope.  We are laying weed mat, replanting damaged areas, and looking forward to introducing our new kiddo to the farm life.  He went to opening day market at Overland Park Farmer's Market with Renee and did great!  

As we have always said, the purpose of our farm is as a training tool for our family.  It is a journey that binds us closely together facing adversity, miserable times, the wonder of how God made things to grow, and bountiful harvests.  It teaches our children money management, personal discipline, customer interaction, hard work, and what it really takes to put food on the table. 

Our goal is to journey together as a family while providing you, our customer, with a unique (but not always perfect) experience of great tasting fruit and jam in REAL farm setting.  Thanks for joining us in our journey.