Well, we are back. The end of 2019 and most of 2020 has been a blur. Not that we couldn't have just skipped over most of 2020 and been just fine! We have been fortunate to be distracted by many positive events in our lives such as building our house and moving into our forever home here at the ranch in June. We had to put the finishing touches on the house and landscaping throughout the summer and we were blessed to have many friends and family come to see and stay in the new house with us. Also, we finally have our three horses who have joined us up here!
It was a long, hot dry summer - we lost quite a few of the lavender plants that we planted in the spring of 2019 in the Super and Maillette fields. Not sure if it was due to the winds or lack of care that they suffered? However, the plants that did survive really thrived. Early last spring I propagated nine different cultivars and many seem to have done really well this summer/fall. I recently walked all the fields, took roll call and will get started propagating new plants come February and March to fill in gaps next spring. Now that we are at the ranch full time it seems like we should be able to maintain the plants better in the years to come.
Four of the five hives made it through last winter! Made some splits from existing hives and now have six functioning hives going into this winter. Due to all of the activities of the summer I wasn't really able to spend as much time with them as I normally do. I was thankful when I went in to winterize them for the oncoming storm, they were all present and accounted for. We were able to actually harvest and sell some of our honey this summer for the first time at a local farmers market! The few bottles that were left from of our summer harvest we sent home with the fire fighters from Idaho, Minnesota and South Dakota, that volunteered to help mitigate our property.
As many of you know, we also have had several months of challenges from the Cameron Peak Fire. Twice we had mandatory evacuations that took us from our ranch. Watching smoke plumes and listening to fire reports twice daily can be quite distracting from everything else that was going on in the world. I guess, in hindsight, that was kind of a blessing this year? We are still praying for those who are in the other active fire zones in Colorado and other states. We were so fortunate to not lose our ranch and for the snows that came deep and at just the right times, if not a bit early in the season! ; )
We always look forward to this time of year to regroup and restore our bodies and our minds from the responsibilities and hard work of spring, summer and fall. Our thoughts are already drifting off to the possibilities of NEXT season. We have added another 800 bulbs to our 1,600+ or so we have already planted and hope to add fresh cut daffodils to our list of crops to sell locally next spring. As Tim always reminds me, "if you quit dreaming you die," so that's what we strive to do here at Dutch Ridge Ranch. Keep on dreaming...