travel

What Retired Farmers Do

As you may have discovered, retired farmers do NOT keep up with posting blogs, at least these retired farmers. This does not mean that we sit back and watch the weeds grow, however. We do still have our U-pick orchard and farm stay to keep us busy. In addition, Mike has numerous projects he is working on, some of which have been waiting years to be completed.

Retired farmers also still attend Ag-related events such as the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA. The difference is that we are not on a hunt to find specific vendors, but are able to wander the grounds and enjoy visiting with vendors we know and meeting new ones just to chat. We were surprised to find a booth for Ag Data which we have been doing business with since the 1980s. We spoke with the founders and loved seeing their display of the old and the new technology they are using. Remember floppy disks?

Of course, like many retired people, we have done some traveling. Mike’s brother moved to New Zealand a year ago to practice medicine. He is only there temporarily, so we just had to visit. The farming there is mostly sheep and cattle ranching.

Train ride from Wellington to Masterton, NZ

Train ride from Wellington to Masterton, NZ

We fly fish, so we couldn’t go to New Zealand and not try our luck. We took a rafting trip on New Year’s Day. The scenery was amazing, but the catching was poor.

We rented a car and explored the South Island. We stayed on several farms with Airbnb spaces. Much to our astonishment, we found another Naylor’s Farm Stay during our travels. We met with the adopted son of the original owners and had a nice chat.

The owners of one of our accommodations recommended a place to eat where the owner was the hotel bellhop, bartender, and waiter. He mentioned that many of his guests come to fly fish. He showed us photos of the large trout he recently caught and recommended an outfitter to us. We called and surprisingly (since it was holiday season there) they had an opening the next day. It was a bit of an upgrade from the rafting trip we took earlier. It was also much more productive as you can see.

One other unexpected treat on our trip was discovering a stone fruit farm. It was summer time there, so we had to stop at a farm and try their peaches. They even had the Springcrest variety that we grow. Naturally, we had to taste them. They were juicy and had good flavor, but were small and not organically grown.

Although we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation to New Zealand. There’s no place like home. The view from our farm is just as spectacular to us. We have had a much needed wet winter with a near record snow pack. This is good news since we have had drought conditions for the past 5 years. Our irrigation water comes from the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains. The blossoms are popping. The birds are courting. Life goes on, even after retirement.

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Categories: agriculture, agritourism, Pick Your own, small farm, travel | Leave a comment

December Travels and Memories

Our December was extra full this year. Our oldest son was married on December 7th. We decided to drive to Texas and squeeze in a vacation along with the wedding. Here is a photo slideshow of our travels and the wedding.

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We made a stop at Juicy’s River Cafe in Needles, CA on our way home.  Great food and service.

Peach Pie at Juicy's River Cafe

Peach Pie for Mike

Apple Pie for Nori

Apple Pie for Nori

Of course there’s no place like home.

Home for Christmas

Home for Christmas

Categories: camping, family, holidays, photos, travel, Uncategorized, weather | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall Changes More Than Trees

The Naylors

Dressed for Fall

Fall is the time of year when things slow down a bit on the farm.  Once the compost is applied and the last irrigation is finished, we have more time to relax.  Our favorite getaway is the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  We love to camp, hike, and fish surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation.  This was the first time in 3 years we had a chance to go camping together. Last fall Nori went camping with a friend from high school while Mike stayed home nursing his shoulder.  This September we’ve already been camping twice.

High Sierra Mountains

    Sierra Nevada Mountains

 

Near Florence Lake

The above photograph was taken by Nori on the winding drive to Florence Lake, CA. The water in the lake was the lowest we have ever seen it in the years we have been coming here which is since we were children. We decided to camp off the beaten path and away from the usual amenities.

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Our Campsite

We brought water from home for drinking and cooking and lugged water from a nearby stream for washing and cleaning up.  There are no campfires allowed this season due to the high fire danger.  The weather was perfect the first three days, but the smoke from the Rim Fire drifted in on the last couple days.

Ready for Fishing

Ready for Fishing

We both fly fish and the stream was teeming with hungry trout. Nori had the catch of the trip with a 12″ Brook Trout. Usually we catch and release, but we planned fish for dinner on the last night, so we kept a few for eating.

Brook Trout

Brook Trout

Mineral King

Our second camping excursion was to Mineral King in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. We had not been to this spot since we were first married. Once we arrived we wondered why we hadn’t made the 2 1/2 hour drive more often. We saw deer, bear, and Mike saw a Bobcat up-close near our campsite. The animals are not very afraid of humans because they are protected from hunting.  Mike said it was almost like a natural zoo.

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Cold Springs Nature Trail

Follow the Nose

Follow the Nose

Cold Springs Campsite

Cold Springs Campsite

Yes, farmers need to get away for RnR and to recharge their batteries, too. What are your favorite fall activities?

Categories: camping, Fall, fishing, nature, photos, travel, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Do You Do This?

The most frequent question we hear on our farm is, “Why do you do this?”  The question might refer to our farming methods such as how we pick and pack our fruit or in regards to our organic agricultural practices.  We also get that question whenever people hear about our farm stay.  Invariably, our guests ask why we decided to open, not only our farm, but our own home to strangers.  This blog post offers an explanation.

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Smile

Agritourism looms large on the radar screen of tour companies worldwide and convention and visitor’s bureaus of rural counties nowadays. Everyone assumes this is because of the power of the almighty dollar. Why else would someone give up the privacy of their idyllic, rural lifestyle and invite perfect strangers onto their farms? SCRREEEK!!! (I hear the screech of chalk across a chalkboard or, for you younger folks, the sound of a microphone when it’s too hot.) Point number one: Farms do not always match up to the mythic image of jolly farmers who whistle while they work and rosy-cheeked farm wives who spend hours slaving over the stove preparing meals and putting up colorful jars of fruits and vegetables to help feed their families through the winter months. We want people to experience what it’s really like on a farm today.

Enjoying the View

Enjoying the View

Having said that; we do expect our guests to enjoy their time with us as much as possible. Which brings us to point two: We hope our guests will be able to get away from their busy lives and relax or “get off the treadmill” as a recent guest described it. While farming is not the mythic lifestyle people imagine, it is also very different than the bustling, hectic urban lifestyle many experience today. Also, farms differ from each other depending upon the crops grown, animals raised and the region of the country. Farm stays offer people the chance to experience life on various farms. Farm stays differ, too. Not all, in fact very few in the U.S., have guest rooms in the same house as the farmers like ours does. In California, the regulations stipulate that an “agricultural homestay,” as the code calls them, are to be located on a farm and are limited to 15 total guests.  We have two rooms available for guests with a maximum occupancy of 4 people each.  This means we can give our guests as much individual attention as possible.  In fact, we want each one to feel pampered and well cared for.

Warm Muffins and Fresh Fruit

Warm Muffins and Fresh Fruit

Family Fun

Recent studies have concluded that the majority of people in the U.S. today are two or three  generations away from the farm and many have never stepped foot on a farm in their lives. In other words, they have never actually seen a cow in a pasture, or a peach tree, or lettuce growing in the field. This disconnect between people and the land and farmers that grow their food has led to many misconceptions about what farmers do to produce their food and the effort and expense that goes into producing it. This brings us to our third point as to why we do this, and the last to be mentioned here. We do this so that parents who may or may not have been on a farm themselves, will have a place to bring their children and show them a real farm and and introduce them to a real farmer. Perhaps this experience will create lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for why we farmers do this.

Happy Customer

Happy Customer

Categories: agblog, Agchat, agritourism, organic farm, photos, Pick Your own, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spring is Just Around the Corner

First Blossom

First Blossom

Happy Groundhog Day!

These are our early nectarines showing off their colors. Thankfully we have had a good cold winter so the trees can go dormant. This usually means a good set for the fruit. Just after I took these photos, Mike disked the field to prepare for frost. The ground is now a rich brown color beneath the trees.

Elbow Branch

Elbow Branch

Nature's Picture Frame

Nature’s Picture Frame

We’re Open for Business

This is a view of our farm stay from behind the house.  We are open from February to August.  Check out our website here. These young trees are for our U-pick. We have apricots, peaches, plums, and nectarines for your picking pleasure beginning in late May.

Categories: agblog, family farm, Nectarines, organic farm, Peaches, photos, Pick Your own, Spring, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Rare Vacation

Mike Behind the Wheel

Mike Behind the Wheel

We recently had the chance to take a vacation. We went to Texas to visit our oldest son who lives in the Dallas area. Extended vacations are a rare occasion for us since we are so busy on the farm. Our last vacation of more than a few days was in August 2009 when we were in Montana for our Wedding Anniversary. We love to drive rather than fly. We take turns behind the wheel so that each of us has a chance to enjoy the scenery.

Citron Green and Red Tower

Citron Green and Red Tower

Our son was able to get us free tickets to the Dallas Arboretum that was featuring an exhibit by Dale Chihuly, the world-renowned artist. His glass creations are spectacular! Thankfully it was a beautiful, sunny day when we visited.

Waterfall Art

Waterfall Art

You can find more about Chihuly here.

The artwork was displayed throughout the 80 acre Arboretum.

   The waterfalls were awesome with the water as a backdrop for the blown glass.

My favorite part of the exhibit was the Blue Marlins and Turquoise Reeds. So beautiful with the sunlight filtering through the trees and making the colors dance.

Blue Marlins

Blue Marlins

    Traveling provides a wonderful opportunity to see new places and have new experiences.  We try to make our farm stay one of those special places where memories are made.  Yet, we know, as Dorothy discovered, there’s no place like home.
Categories: agblog, photos, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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