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January on the Farm

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Hello!  My name is Rachel McCormick (formally McLeod), and I am excited to start my blogging journey with you.  I’ve always said that my family needed a reality TV show… so this may be the next to best thing. 

Farming in my family is our way of life… we wake up knowing the weather for the next week, reluctantly gather in the office for family meetings, let our kids ride their bikes around the family compound, eat dinner at 8 pm in the summer when the sun finally goes down, and bring it all home to our spouses at the end of the day.  Growing up, I was in the FFA like all the other kids in our small town; however, I never thought I would return to the family farm.  Here I am, 20+ years later blogging about my return to the farm, and I couldn’t be happier.  My goal is to keep you up to date monthly about what all is happening around the farm through the eyes of the farmer’s daughter…

January can seem so gloomy.  We are all coming off the holiday highs of presents, food, family gatherings and time off.  On the farm, the peach trees are bare, the taxes are paid, the cold keeps us in our trucks longer, and even the ground feels harder. 

We are still picking winter strawberries.  However, it has gotten too cold for collards, kale, and broccoli.  Therefore, what do we now do with all of our time and employees?  We prune.

When I was a child, on Sunday afternoons dad would ask “who wants to go for a ride?”  All of us kids would roll our eyes and cross our fingers to not be the one selected that afternoon.  However, it was my turn, so I reluctantly climbed into my dad’s 1995 blue 2-door Chevy.  That particular Sunday, dad was checking on the pruning.  I asked him why would we cut perfectly fine limbs off our trees?  I will never forget his answer.  He told me to imagine having a $50 weekly grocery budget for 50 kids… and then to imagine having the same weekly grocery budget for 25 kids.  Which of the 2 would be better fed.  Of course, I immediately answered the 25 kids.  He said that is why we prune peach trees. The peaches have more room to grow, and the nutrients and water available to the tree are used to grow 25 large, juicy peaches rather than 50 smaller ones. 

Now, I am sure that is not the most scientific explanation of pruning, but it has stuck with me all of these years… and makes even more sense now that I am a mother of 2.  However, clearly this story is a testament that my dad didn’t do any of the grocery shopping when all 4 kids were growing up… a $50 grocery budget didn’t last too long at our household.  It also proves that my dad sees his peaches as his children!

All 1000 acres of our precious peaches will be pruned over the next 4 to 6 weeks.  My father and brother will ride the fields, climb the ladders, use the shears, and make sure that every tree has the perfect set of limbs for the bearing of fruit.  So yes, January might be gloomy, but it also is the signal that the blooms of spring are right around the corner.

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