Fields of dreams

I sometimes wonder what on earth we have taken on in buying the cherry orchard. As much as I have these dreams of us living some kind of under the Tuscan Sun inspired lifestyle, I realise we’re not that kind of people. We’re buying this plot of land, 70 acres, with 4000 cherry trees on it, and I don’t know the first thing about growing food, or running a farm business, or converting an agricultural plot into a quaint vision of bucolic pleats. So I do wonder how this is going to go.

In my dream I waft around the place wearing flowing skirts, living this eclectic and creative life where cherry trees blossom and I paint the, the crop comes in lots and high school kids come and pick them, and it’s one big merry scene, with a long trestle table replete with Tuscan feasts of slow cooked something or other and home cook bread out of the bread oven that sits atop the rise overlooking the Tamar River. And there’s chattering and happiness just like in the closing scene of the movie adaptation under the Tuscan Sun, and all wrongs have become rights, taps that dripped are miraculously repaired, the crumbling wreck of the home becomes a homely and embracing crumbling look. I seem to have visions of grand designs, gourmet farmer, River cottage, and under the Tuscan Sun all rolled into one, but I start from a long way back: I cannot actually cook. I’ve never grown anything. And our family life is wonderful in its own kind of funky way, oh and we have a handful of horses and I know nothing about owning and whatever you do with horses, so I guess it’s going to be one big learning journey.

Our soil in the row I’m working in has these dry cracks that are grey and hard. It has irrigation pipes running down the rows of cherry trees but I didn’t like the look of those cracks and watching the gardening show on TV last night, our soil looks very much like the before picture. I have a feeling that several years of enriching is going to need to take place.

One of my first questions about the farm we’ve bought is what is the state of our soil? How do we go about ensuring our soil is good for our cherry production? That sounds like a reasonable starting point.

I’m out on the block pruning the cherry trees, removing the side branches that sprang forth in the summer growth spurt. It’s easy work, methodically working my way from tree to tree, and after a while it becomes quite meditative.

Just when I think it can’t get any better I spy the Rodeo heading towards me, with Jack leading the way and Sarah and Ella hanging off the back, yippeeing and laughing. I think this is going to be a pretty good spot for our family. Sarah is making plans for at dressage arena – drawing up designs on her iPad. I’m so excited for the kids that they are going to be able to realise their dreams here. There’s endless fields of dreams here, they can do anything they want if they set their minds to it. Damien wondered aloud today whether a trail riding school might be in our future, what a great idea! The girls have been doing Trail rides the shelves since they can remember, it’s almost part of their DNA by now. I think they would be over the moon about this idea. Paddocks, stables, dressage arena… we have a long way to go yet!

I can’t think of a better way to be spending winter afternoons then pruning rows of cherry trees in the wintry sun. I’m a fair weather friend though, I reckon if it’s raining you’ll find me by the fire! I’ve completed my row of pruning and the last rays of sun have faded to pink. It’s time to head home. Every time I have to head home from the farm I do so with a tinge of sadness, I I can’t wait until where able to stay here, pitch a tent and bunk in for the night. It’s so beautiful out here!


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