We didn’t just spend 2 weeks at the farm working.  We had lots of fun, too!  Unfortunately, I didn’t take as many pics as I would have liked, but I got a few.

The orchard we planted back in March was one I forgot to take a pic of.  Nonetheless, in just 3 months, the orchard went from twig-like, so-called  fruit trees to actually looking like an established orchard.  They grew tremendously–a foot or two in some cases, and were just full of leaves and, in some cases, even blossoms.  They were actually beginning to look like the type of fruit tree they were.  I went around weeding and tending to everything, and discovered the grape vine was doing tremendously well, having grown vines long enough to reach the trellis.  The blueberry bushes, which we had not had the time to properly condition the soil for, had sprouted and blossomed, and I even found 2 berries–one of which was ripe!  Prefering the bushes get established this year, though, I went ahead and picked the berries and all the remaining blossoms to prevent fruiting this year. 

One of the hottest days arrived toward the end of the trip, and since the kids had truly worked hard, right along beside us, we knew they would enjoy a real play-day–the messier and wetter, the better.  We don’t have a pool, so we opted for the best option we had.  A rain-filled rain-collection trough served the purpose just fine.

I dared S to grow a goatee– just because–and he did. 

We spent a day with S’s uncle and cousins, where we hung out on their dock, and JR and M got to do some fishing.  JR was thrilled to catch his first fish, though he was a bit disappointed when Daddy explained it was too small and had to be thrown back in.

N playing in the sandbox with a little cousin.

I was less-than-thrilled upon the discovery of some very uninvited and unwanted guests.  We found several of these massive critters inhabiting our barn and the exterior (thankfully) of our house.  We were told it was a wolf spider, but it seems bigger than what I have read about it.  It is not furry like a tarantula, though, so I’m not sure what kind it is.

The kiddos did quite a bit of tree-climbing, though, as they discovered their new skill, I finally had to limit how high they were allowed to go–for their safety and my own sanity.

A highlight for the kids was watching the hay guy come bale the pasture he leases from us.  That, of course, provided some fun opportunities in itself.

I was so excited to see that our rotational grazing system is working.  After just one winter having sheep graze the alfalfa field, the hay guy complained that the grass was so thick he had trouble getting his mower through.  When I mowed the remaining grass pastures, I was shocked to see the difference from a year or two ago.  The pastures are so thick and lush, I couldn’t even find most of the sticks and twigs in them.  It made me dream of the day my animals would graze most of the year rather than me having to buy and feed hay year round. 

We didn’t forget to snag an annual photo of the 3 generations of some of S’s family, including his mom, one of his brothers, and our children.

Our other annual photo is one I enjoy.  Almost every year, we have taken a photo of our children on the 4-wheeler (one of their favorite parts of the farm).  This year, I realized we may be running out of room on it!

Oh, the joys of visiting Red Gate Farm.  We have decided there is no doubt that a farm is the place for us.  As we sat there watching our children catch lightning bugs, pick wild black raspberries (getting far more in their mouth and on their bodies than in their cups), feeding the sheep, and working alongside us on our projects, we couldn’t help but think of the not-too-distant day where we will finally be able to remain there.  We are truly blessed.