Rain, rain and then more rain

Here we are less than 2 months before our first event and we are unable to get much done as we sit and watch it rain. And rain. I thought this was one of the wettest Februarys on record, but turns out, it doesn’t even crack the top 20. I shudder at the thought.

We are hoping to make some additions to the orchard layout by moving an unused grain bin to over by the sunflower patch. We are planning to make it a multi purpose building with electricity that will enhance the look and activities at the orchard. If it ever stops raining, we will pour the concrete pad and get it moved.

The warm weather has the trees confused and they are trying to bud. Hopefully, they will hold off for a few more weeks. It seems we always have something to contend with regarding Mother Nature all of the time. Oh yeah, we’re farmers.

We have a new dog at the orchard and he has wormed his way into our hearts, big time. Tuff is a border collie with lots of energy and curiosity. After having laid back Huck for 10 years, having a puppy has certainly changed the dynamics of our lives. We have had him for almost 2 months now and things are beginning to level out. He is very affectionate and has to be near one of us at all times. I think we will keep him.

We are going to be optimistic and look forward to our first event the weekend of April 18 and 19. We are counting on the trees being in full bloom and the weather to be spectacular. It will be a perfect weekend to enjoy one of the several events going on: painting party in the orchard, lunch and learn with local historians, learning the craft of stamping and bird watching/photography. It’s going to be a great way to enjoy the orchard in full bloom.

2020!

It just sounds so futuristic! As I sit here in our office, I am watching it continue to rain. Everything is so soggy and with the temps predicted to drop over the next 24 hours, it will not be fun.

We are beginning to plot and plan for our 12th season. We hope it will be our best season ever. We will be adding a few new things, nothing massive, but just trying to keep it interesting.

One of the biggest changes is Farmer Tom took out about 40 trees in the orchard, including most of the original trees planted over 20 years ago. We are hopeful that getting rid of the older trees that had gotten to big to prune and harder to pick, will improve the health of the rest of the trees. Time will tell. Of course, he will be planting more trees in the next few months as he does every year, but it has changed the look of the orchard for sure. We are optimistic that improvements have been made.

The next couple of months will be planning time and we will be attending the 2020 Pick TN conference in Franklin TN in February. We always get new ideas and get inspired there.

We hope 2020 will be the best year for you and we look forward to you visiting the orchard later this year.

Another Great Weekend

To say the past weekend was a huge success is really an understatement. We are so grateful to the Robertson County Chamber for having the second annual Experience Robertson County and letting us be a part of it for the second year. So many people who live in Robertson County have never been to the orchard and this event brings those folks out who can see what we have to offer. We probably had close to 1000 people visit us on Saturday.

Then, expecting a quiet Sunday, we were busy with apple pickers and even had a Girl Scout troop visit. They picked apples and earned a badge. It was a fun day and it went by so quickly.

There are still apples to pick! It was interesting to have folks go out and some came back saying they could not find any good apples and others came back with baskets full of beautiful apples. One woman, with 3 baskets full, told me you just had to be dedicated. I was impressed with her dedication, especially in the miserable heat. It really doesn’t feel like apple picking weather, but we have had so many brave the heat and we are most appreciative.

I will be posting on Facebook late Wednesday after I have gone out in the orchard to see where there are still apples to pick. Folks always want to know what kinds are out there to pick an I hope I can figure out what is what and let everyone know what is available.

We are forever grateful that people continue to find us and come visit as we continue our 11th season. What a ride.

Apple picking is almost done!

We are so appreciative of all of the people who have come out to pick apples at Shade Tree this year. Most people think of apple picking in October, wearing sweaters and drinking hot cider, but in Tennessee, we do start earlier. This year, it was even earlier.

It was another great weekend at the orchard and I so enjoy seeing the full baskets of big, beautiful apples coming into the store.

This weekend will be another big weekend as we are a stop for Robertson County Chamber’s Experience Robertson County. We are one of 11 stops for this eventful day. What a great way to get out and see all that Robertson County has to offer and to see what a beautiful county we have to call home. We will still be picking apples this weekend, but this will probably be the last weekend to find lots of apples. There will always be apples in the store and we will continue to let folks pick for another few weeks.

Every year, we grow and every year we have new customers, which we love. We also have customers who have made a trip to Shade Tree an annual tradition and that really warms our hearts.

Thank you!

o

Great holiday weekend.

We are recovering from a wonderful weekend at the orchard! We had so many people come out to pick apples and visit the store. It is always fun to see the little ones pick their first apple. One little one was just beginning to talk and added the word “apple” to her vocabulary. So sweet.

We are already nearing the end of pick your own. Because the apples were ready early, this was our 3rd weekend for picking. There are still some apples to be picked and we will continue pick your own for the next 2 weeks. We will always have apples in the store and we have some fun events coming up that we’re looking forward to at the orchard.

On Saturday, September 14, it’s the 2nd annual Experience Robertson County. There will be events and activities in all 11 towns in the county. We are one of the 2 stops in Adams and we had such a big day last year and anticipate an even bigger day this year. So many folks that live close by, that had never been to our orchard, came by and got to see what we do at Shade Tree. The only down thing to the day is that we can’t get out and visit the other 10 communities. Each one is different and offer something unique.

We are excited about our second pancake breakfast happening on October 5. The first one in July was so successful, so we thought we would do it again More details on that later.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made our weekend so successful! We have the best customers!!

Apple Season is going well!

We have had quite a few pickers the past 2 weekends and it is fun to watch the little ones pick their first apple. They get so excited and, a lot of times, start eating it as soon as they pick it. It warms my heart to see families come out and make a day of it at the orchard. We had hoped from the beginning that a trip to Shade Tree would become an annual event for families and every time someone says, “we come every year,” I feel validated. We continue to look for ways to improve the experience and adding sunflowers was a good move. We are already planning the sunflower patch for next year and the enhancements we will make to the venue. They are just so pretty!

This fall will be a fun one with lots of activities going on. The first big event will be on September for the 2nd annual Experience Robertson County. It is an opportunity to visit all 11 towns in the county and see what makes each one unique. It was such a fun day last year and we know this year will be bigger and better. We are so appreciative to the Chamber for letting us be a part of this special event.

We still have apples to pick and,hopefully, will start making cider this week. It is a good week for that as the temperatures are unseasonably low which makes for great apple picking weather, too! Good times.

Season is in full swing

We were just ready for the apple season to start quite this early, but the apples are ready and they need to be picked. The down side is the weather! It is just so hot and we admire all the folks who braved the heat to pick apples, blueberries and sunflowers. Now we have rain to contend with this weekend. There are still some apples that are not ripe, but for the most part, there is a lot of picking to be done. Farmer Tom is going to get cider apples in the next few days, which means we will be cranking up the cider making process next week. It is a big job, but oh so rewarding. There is nothing better than a cup of cider right out of the press. Well, the cider slushy is pretty good too. We are always looking for new ideas to bring to the orchard store and ways to enhance what we are doing already. It is a fun, never ending process. I never take for granted that I am so very lucky to live and work at Shade Tree Farm and Orchard.