On a whim in 1976, our parents moved our little family from Santa Barbara to Ballard, where they had just purchased a 22 acre walnut farm. Neither of them knew a thing about growing, harvesting, or selling walnuts - but they were full steam ahead. Dad had been steadily climbing the corporate ladder and had successfully landed as a stock broker with Dean Witter. Mom was a homemaker born in the wrong century. A true pioneer woman, she did her best to ensure our health by managing our small 2 acre mini-farm in Santa Barbara, which (to our neighbor's dismay) had goats for milk, chickens for eggs, and a small vegetable garden. Their lives straddled two worlds: one of cocktail parties and corporate travel, and the other as small-town country farmers. The move to Ballard tipped the scale substantially towards the later.
For the next thirty years our parents learned everything there was to know about growing walnuts. They had negotiated with the seller to stay on an a consultant for the first year to teach them the ropes. Mom immediately started her vegetable garden, while Dad got to work on building a pond. Pens were built for the animals, a chicken house for the hens, and we became full-fledged farmers.
They transformed a dated, 1960's (blue Formica!) house into an open country homestead and created the natural paradise that we see today. We owe everything that we three kids are now enjoying to our parents and their hard work. Thanks Mom and Dad. We love you.
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