Category Archives: Quarry Hill Orchards

Relaxed Living | Bill’s Annual Newsletter

It is said whatever else you do to make a living will “take up most of your life”. “No matter what” there must be moments to break away from it. I am no good at it. Those around me appear to suffer because of the deficiency. Jacque, Ben & Adrianne have sacrificed some joys from my insistence that farming tasks at times come first. This dilemma carried on as they expanded their lives. There are occasions when my judgment becomes clouded in an effort to get things done right. Simply put I like the work as much as anything. I like to sweep floors. I like to clean corners. Of course being part of a family business I need to reach higher. I need to talk to the banker. I need to confer with the accountant. (These painstaking discussions now have been deferred to Ben for the most part). Ben, on the other hand, is much more focused on a better balance. His schedule and Brooke’s schedule can be “mean,” but in the sense that it denies them the chance to please themselves. But above all else they want to rejoice in their kiddos, their love for one another, and their new home. Perhaps I am confused in believing I must always pick up pieces of events I have stirred up. The next generation does not have to do that. A couple weeks ago the clan camped out behind the barn on a Saturday eve. They grilled that night and again in the morning with everyone required to ante up something meaningful. 

Jacque and I were included for eggs, bacon, and pastry on the grill. A leisurely breakfast outside is the greatest of tonics. It is an antidote for the mundane and the routine. Drama is not required to break away. This was all spontaneous. It defies relaxed joy. At this point in my life I can readily absorb such feeling that I have striven for what seems like always and forever. When I ask someone what they did over a weekend or holiday I often get the response, “I relaxed”.  If I were asked that I would be hard pressed to respond in a similar way.  I seem to be confused in distinguishing between relaxing and wasting time. This thinking had to come from our Uncle Len who often said that if you are waiting for someone or something you are “wasting time”. Do you not do that when you are relaxing or is it a time to recharge. Yet, he had to relax – fishing, reading, tasking for family & neighbors. But his relaxing was always moving forward. Ben Franklin stated that his goal as “Lose no time; be always employed in something useful.” I recall a segment on 60 Minutes of a college professor of philosophy who retired early to pursue his passion of waving. He sat by the roadside by his home on a busy road and waved at passersby. That was his joy to have the kindness returned. Somehow it is difficult to see the virtue of this, but he was driven (not occasionally but everyday). This relaxing must consist of wonder and a lot of “what ifs.” 

How can our lives be different, better, happier. If relaxing is a mean to an end then it is useful. Thus to me the road must be defined by useful work and being consistently kind.  Will all else fall into place?  You bet. Our clan, I believe, adheres to this. Tom “starts early & stays late” for the architectural firm he works for, but is not always rewarded appropriately. Adrianne does not give in to any difficulty on her flower farm. She blooms. 

Arra’s enthusiasm for reading well above her grade level has her emersed in Harry Potter…. Payton is off for a camping month in Minnesota. Her independence & maturity may be worrisome. Henry plays so many ballgames that don’t wear him down that he has no time to misbehave. Beatrice asked a time ago, “How is your day going Poppy Bill?” That is enlightening from a six year old. Tucker is always building. The last project was a “cat house” for the swarm of kittens that has softened everyone. Brooke and Ben have added a new home to their list of makings but still time to bake bread and fix bikes and above all be loving Mom and Dad. Jacque has endured the trials of back pain and arthritis and all kinds of hurts and still time for making strawberry jams & chattering. And I travel a well worn path. There is nothing like the wrath of “Mother Nature” to make you wish that life had a fast forward button. The cherry crop was greatly diminished by last Decembers cold spell and last weeks storm that featured hail had given us pause, but overall except for cherries, our fruit crops appeared above average.

What Time is it?

Bill’s Annual Summer Newsletter

July 2022

“The Day is ending as cloud cover thickens. Rain may be coming. It is always calming to dwell on more provoking thoughts than the red cheeks coming to the cherries.”

What phase are we in our lives? Each change, ideally, is to lead to a new opportunity. Our family is an endearing reminder that we are still young or long to be young again.

  • Tucker pinched his fingers in the car door and needs some loving.
  • Payton and Gigi are on a search for dance shoes for her upcoming ballet recital.
  • Beatrice leaps for joy for a push on the swing hanging from the locost.
  • Henry is helping his dad pick up rocks before practice (is it baseball, soccer, or his 2nd baseball team?)

Too much? Too little? All reminders that we must appreciate that life is unfolding now. These moments may never happen again. Do we have to convince ourselves that we are living the right life and not merely leaping from one fire to another? This time of year sixty years ago my father was gravely ill. As a junior high youngster I never thought he would not “make it”. He was resilient, worked harder than most and active in his communities. In “death there is life” is often preached. Was this period to be one of new opportunity?

For many subsequent years my mother would ask my sister and I once a year “do you think of your father?”  Of course I always replied weakly.  Since her love for him was strong and unwavering, I know my response was the wrong one. I wanted to reinforce her.  Yet, I really wanted to say that my Dad and I seldom had time to openly share.  Surely there were moments of give and take, but not enough. I want to avoid this with our clan to “keep our souls alive” (as friends Barb and Bill reminded me).

I have been accused of “probing” too much, but this can’t be confused with heartfelt curiosity which is only surpassed by caution and kindness.  Such is the resort of seven decades of wrestling.  Peace and leisure are as fleeting as the tranquility of early summer mornings.

For some clarity and cleansing we sojourned to Ann Arbor last weekend.  Adrianne, Tom and Arra had a “barn dance” to celebrate their new flower farm down a gravel road west of the city.  “Marilla Field and Flora” has some unforgiving soil that through diligence and broken finger nails has encouraged 300 varieties of flowers.  Arra, too, glooms (?) for she “can read anything”.

Joy, indeed, abounds in our next generations. – Bill