Apprenticeship @ McCleaf's Orchard

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When Kat and I were first considering getting into farming, we faced a major decision about our initial direction.  Do we find some land and jump right in?  Or do we take some time to learn before jumping in?  The former option was attractive at first as we were itching to get started, but I wasn't so sure and Kat didn't have any peace about jumping right in.  After consideration and prayer, we decided that the best course would be for me to start an apprenticeship.

Providence intervened about a month and a half ago when I was put in contact with a local farmer and orchardist who, I found out, was considering hiring extra help for the year. I mentioned that I wanted to learn and could work part-time in order to allow some time to practice what I was learning at home. Win-win. It's amazing how God works and guides us and gives us His grace as we attempt to step out in faith.

For the last four weeks I've been working at McCleaf's Orchard learning a little bit of everything: pruning hardy kiwis, blueberries, apples (semi-dwarf and high density), pounding in posts, working in the greenhouse, fixing up irrigation, and even going to market.  I'm humbled by the amount there is to learn but excited to gain experience every day.

I'll continue to work as an apprentice at least until the end of the growing season and go from there.  In the meantime we'll continue to work to get our property as productive as possible in addition to looking for a larger piece of land from which to run a u-pick operation.  Check out some of the pictures from McCleaf's farm below and stay tuned for more in the coming weeks as the trees start to bloom!

 Apples after pruning

Apples after pruning

 Kiwis before pruning.  A mess!

Kiwis before pruning.  A mess!

 Kiwis after pruning, much better.

Kiwis after pruning, much better.

 Arugula growing in one of the greenhouses

Arugula growing in one of the greenhouses

 The old barn on the property

The old barn on the property