It’s still very green out in the meadow, birdies feeding babies, brodiaeas and vetch turning everything into waves of purple, seedlings getting their footing in the rows…and tons of mowing, weeding, and loosening soil that went from mush to concrete over night. Fruit trees had some damage from fire-blight and leaf-curl, but are recovering pretty well, with apricots and plums taking the lead in productivity so far. Olallie-berries are setting fruit too. My dad encouraged me to plant more fruit trees and (super-nutritious) berries, as they’d be easier to take care of than row crops, and it is true. I am feeling the effects of yesterday’s work transplanting beets and pumpkin starts. This farm started with 9 trees and now has about 30 fruit trees and about 25 olallie-berries, 2 grapes, some raspberries, some blueberries, gojis and currants. Today marks the one year anniversary of Dad’s passing – just before the apricots he loved ripened – and i hope he’d be proud to see the farm biz developing. The idea of growing fruit and veggies and teaching about healthy food to support those fighting cancer was something we worked out together after his decades of out-running the disease while living pretty darn well most of that time. His family, when his Mom was a young widow, had a corner store, so they ate lots of that kind of convenience food. He hated Jello ever afterward. When Grandma re-married, they moved to the farm (on which my own farm is modeled, minus the cows), but Dad had gone off to the air force by then. For a guy who used to say people never change, the switch 20-odd years ago to near-vegetarian, mainly produce, healthy food and alternative medicines was a big deal, but he said he had never eaten so well in his life. And I believe it gave him at least a better foundation for keeping the big C at bay for decades. He looked healthy and strong until the last weeks. This is what i want to pass on, on his behalf, to share the benefit of fresh, whole, garden food for fighting off illnesses, of thinking outside the limited standard options, and of taking charge for yourself. Dad also really, thoroughly enjoyed fresh, homemade foods, especially those that reminded him of Grandma’s farm, and i also want to pass on that joy and delight in delicious dishes. Dad was, however, a lifelong peanut-butter-and-jelly guy, so i’ll be having one in his honor today, though it’s homemade bread and jelly…please join me!