Erickson Ranch March 2013


     As spring arrives, Erickson Ranch bursts into bloom. Behind the scenes the planting, repairing and planning continue. I think this month the photo's must do the talking. I had so many dang photos of blooms, it was ridiculous... but clearly necessary, who can say no to pretty flowers?  I also thought I'd list a few interesting things I learned throughout this month, last year, below.

1. Chicken feathers are often used for fly fishing lures. 

2. Ladybugs are natural predators to aphids. So not only are they pretty, considered lucky and fun to spot in the garden, they help keep those pesky aphids from devouring crops. If you have a garden at home you can actually buy ladybugs and release them into your crop to help with keeping aphids at bay. If you already have aphids, you might see ladybugs flocking to your garden as they are naturally drawn to them. They might not eradicate all of your aphids but it can't hurt and they are sure fun to have in the garden.

3. Potatoes grow from cut up potato pieces. Yeah, mind blowing right? haha. It is one of many ways to grow potatoes, but simplicity at it's finest. The Erickson's get their delicious potatoes from some tried and true sources, but it'd be a fun experiment to take your favorite organic potato, cut it in half and plant it to see what pops up! You can look up specifics online. 

4. That all fruits begin with a flower, but not all flowers become a fruit. The cycle of a fruit bearing tree is fascinating. Not just for looks, a selection of the beautiful blooms turn into delicious fruits! I am looking forward to fruit and veggie (and flower) shopping at Erickson Ranch this year. I realized last year that I never truly had really delicious fruit until I had it straight from the source! It changed my whole perspective on fruit.

So there you have it, a few things I learned in the month of March! 

To see all months from my 2013 year long project click on the month: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember

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Erickson Ranch February 2013


     Wow, where did February go!? It always comes to an abrupt end, maybe it's natures way of rushing towards spring. Although we haven't had much of a winter yet this year, I could use a few more rainy days to hibernate without feeling like I should be doing something productive! I'll blame this late post on the rain, it was planned to post Friday, but I found myself not wanting to do much yesterday since it was so rainy and had that perfect, watch a movie on the couch feel. Today the sun peeked out, so I thought, "Oh, I guess I better do something with my life now." ;) 

     February at Erickson Ranch has a definite sunny feel. While going through the photos I took last year I noticed the color yellow appears over and over this month. From the daffodils to the fields of mustard right down to the home on the property! February begins a sneak peak into what the spring promises to bring. Flower buds on the trees begin to emerge, brave daffodils stretch their yellow heads up towards the sun, despite the cold. Ray keeps busy with preparing the orchards for the upcoming growth season and making sure the equipment is up and running and the business of the ranch is in order. It's pretty impressive watching him (and Vicky) go about their day to day business. There is so much that goes into running a successful ranch and good old fashion experience plays a key in the way they do so. Following Ray around asking questions, I was impressed at just how much he stores in his head and how in tune with the seasons of the ranch he is, to know what needs to be done. It's also inspiring to see that even with experience there is a constant need to adjust to new ways of doing certain things in our changing world. From the new way people interact socially and in business, for example using social media, to the new technologies used to make growing food more efficient and ecologically smart. Two months into our project and I was hooked. 

To see all months from my 2013 year long project click on the month: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember


Erickson Ranch January 2013


     In January 2013 I began a year long project in collaboration with Ray & Vicky Erickson, owners of Erickson Ranch in Suisun Valley. I began visiting the ranch once (and often more than once) a month to document the seasonal cycle of the ranch, the events, as well as to make a historical record for Ray & Vicky. Some days I wandered on my own, taking in the great expanse of the fruit orchards, flower gardens and vegetable plots. Other days I hung out with Ray and marveled at his never ending knowledge of, well, everything related to the ranch and the surrounding area; the land, the fruit trees, the birds, the animals, the history...his knowledge is awe inspiring. He is one of the most interesting people I have met in my life. And nice as can be, to boot. I learned so much over the last year and feel like I've made two lifelong friends in both Ray & Vicky, this project has become so much more than just a year of photos. 

     One of the things that emerged after photographing at the ranch for a year is the astonishing, ever changing beauty I came across each month. Each month that I explored the ranch I found myself ooo'ing and aw'ing over one aspect or another. I never ran out of things to photograph. Mother nature is a truly inspiring entity. From the barren soils of the winter, the most beautiful things emerge throughout the growing season and once again return to the earth as the cold approaches. And guiding mother nature here is the hard working rancher and his family. Over the next year I will share the images from 2013 during their corresponding months. I tried to do this as I made the photos over the last year and I decided I really needed to soak in the year and just focus on photographing, learning and being in the moment in order to truly understand what I was producing. I'm so glad I did, reflecting back over the months after seeing the year as a whole has been an amazing journey. 

     January at the ranch involves a lot of projects; fixing equipment that has been broken over the course of the year, tending to the trees, preparing to graft (which -at a very basic level- is a small shoot of one tree inserted into another) and planning the marketing & business aspects of the ranch for the upcoming year. The land is very bare, trees skeletal and last year the mud was a four wheeler's dream. My very first visit I photographed a lot of the details around the property and the land. Ray walked and drove me all over and explained what was what and what they do. Sometimes I feel it's better to give in to the conversation versus being so adamant about taking a photo. I'm glad I recognized that early on, because it ends up over the course of the year I would fall into such interesting conversations and really get to know Ray & Vicky. All the while having plenty of time to make photos. 

     This year, promises to be a different year for the ranch with the looming threat of drought here in California, so the photos I made last year reflect the ranch under a different set of conditions than you might find this year. But in speaking with Vicky and Ray, they both share the same sentiment - it's all about adjusting and continuing on.

To see all months from my 2013 year long project click on the month: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember

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