We weren’t ready to move up to Oregon when we bought our farm in 2010 – we knew it might be years before we were able to leave jobs, schools, our home. We arranged for the orchard to be taken care of by a miracle man named Jesus. Yes, you read that right, pronounced Hey-SOOS. It was important to meet Jesus before we bought the property. He is our neighbor to the south, and we would share property easements including a well, electrical access, and several soil drainage mechanisms. There was too much necessary togetherness to chance a questionable relationship.
I’d arranged to find him on his land, and as I walked up to his (beautiful) handmade split rail fence he greeted me, all smiles and handsome in his cowboy hat. I knew it was going to go well. “Ke-lly,” he said with a laugh, “I love trees, want to see?” He showed off his triple grafted fruit trees, hundreds of bings, new pears and mystery trees. He showed me the barn with the pesky chickens and the drainage ditch. He introduced me to his goats, horses, dogs, and trees upon trees that he cared for with sincere love.
Jesus still watches over the orchard as our manager and has returned most of the cherry trees to health, doing battle each year with the volatile cherry market. He also tends our new apple trees. He has raised goats in our meadow and grazed his beautiful stallion and a cow there, as well. He builds fences and trellises, grafts trees, and knows the million and one things you need to know as a farmer. Yet remarkably, he is patient with us, generous, and we are lucky (the super duper variety) to have him as our neighbor. We feel cared for. If that isn’t spiritual, what is?