In 2002, we planted 180 trees on what had been a hay field. That next winter was very severe, with virtually no snow cover. The next Spring, we expected all our trees would be dead. Quite the contrary, as every tree survived. At that time, as we were in our late 50’s, Hal was contemplating what our retirement years would be like. He decided he wanted an active retirement, and had a vision of turning this experiment into a retirement business. All he had to do, was convince his wife, Carol. After several weeks of prodding, she decided to humor him, and consented. However, if Hal was to be busy in the orchard, Carol wanted to incorporate a bakery into the operation. Hal decided to humor her, and our business was born.
We adopted the motto, “If you rest, you rust.” True to that motto, there wasn’t much time to rest. Over the next 6 years, we planted about 2000 apple trees, 75 cherry trees, and assortment of other fruits – apricots, plums, pears, grapes, blueberries, currants, gooseberries, and elderberries. We also put up a commercial bakery, retail shop, storage barn, and refrigerated building. Hal continues to experiment with new varieties, often doing his own grafting.
We both enjoy what we do, and enjoy taking our products to the farmer’s market as well as selling at our retail shop. We have come to know many wonderful people, and get great satisfaction, when they tell us how much they enjoy our products. This truly has been a labor of love.
In May of 2010, Carol was stricken with acute mylogenus leukemia or AML. This is a very deadly cancer of the blood, and few survive it. It hit quickly. Within five days, she went from normal health to being hospitalized. Within 24 hours in the hospital, she was near death, being put on life support as her body was shutting down. Then miraculously her fortunes began to reverse. She remained in a coma for five days, and had to go on to dialysis, as her lone kidney had shut down. From that point on, no cancer could be found in her body. Yet, in the wisdom of the oncologists, they recommended chemotherapy for the next six months. She remained in the hospital for a total of 64 days, and endured the harsh chemo treatments, which meant destroying most of her red blood cells, and allowing her body to rebuild (along with blood transfusions). Her body was so weak at one point that the doctor said she could bleed to death, if she were to sneeze.
She has made a full recovery, and to this day she remains cancer free. We entirely credit God for the miraculous cure, and praise Him for allowing her to bless so many people with her cheerful attitude and delicious bakery.
Update: In the Spring of 2015, Carol passed the 5 year mark since having leukemia. She was declared free from this dreaded disease, and no longer had to go in for checkups. However, in May, 2015, a spot of melanoma was discovered on the bottom of her foot. The surgeon cut out a major portion from the arch of her foot, and successfully removed all traces of the cancer. Again, we credit God for preserving her life.