“The Merry Blueberry”

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Life is taking an exciting new turn. I am opening a u-pick blueberry farm. I know it sounds zany seeing as before last year, I had never successfully managed to grow anything in my life. Well, (she says confidently) things change! The past two months I have been doing extensive online research; I have visited blueberry farms around here, Oshawa, New Brunswick, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and spent hours speaking to the growers. My life has revolved around blueberries and I think I can do this. It’s only occasionally that I grab my head with both hands and start to rock – I can get kind of overwhelmed – but I am deeply enthused and mostly confident.

I am starting small while I learn. This season I am amending my first acre of field. The space has been bush-hogged, my rows have been laid out, plowed and tilled. By hand I have spread 700 lbs of elemental sulphur to organically decrease my ph and 400 lbs of a potash/nitrogen mix to fertilize. I have gotten my import licence and ordered 1000 guaranteed, disease-free plants from a licenced blueberry propagator in Michigan. I will pick them up early next April and plant each one in saturated peat moss before installing a drip irrigation system and overhead bird netting.

A cultivated, high-bush blueberry plant takes 7 years to mature but I am buying three-year old plants so I should have a limited harvest the year after planting. “The Merry Blueberry” will have a pilot season open only to family, friends and of course, faithful blog readers in the summer of 2016. I will keep you updated and posted.

I will continue to maintain my massage practice combined with my acupuncture and hypnosis. But after almost 34 years of massaging, if at some point my hands pack it in, I will be ready. My plan is to eventually have 5-10 acres of blueberries, a cut-your-own flowers section, my shop converted into a seasonal country store where I sell pies, muffins, syrup; basically all things blueberry (and naturally, cool crocheted stuff). I want to have my own label of blueberry and fruit wines and get my manufactures and onsite retail licence so I can sell them in my store (Jim and I are having some fun adventures making wine that I will tell you about next post). But who know what will be; in the meantime, my little one acre u-pick patch will be fulfilling a long-time dream and if thats how it stays, that’s just fine – I don’t know anyone that loves blueberries more than me.

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16 responses »

  1. Your are such an inspiration to get out and make the most out of what life has to offer and chasing your dreams. I will buy stock in your venture…with a granddaughter that thrives on a pint at a time I can’t think of a better investment…:-) And of course a wine taste testing will be a must. Let me know when you get your plants and I will gear up and come out to help…BIG HUGS!!!

  2. Ah sounds so exciting Arlene. I can’t wait to come apickin’. Blueberry wine would be awesome, along with everything else. Just love the idea of the store. Can totally see it. What will be will be eh. Ttys.

  3. Hi Arlene – you never cease to amaze me. Best of luck on your new venture. I hope Brian and I will be among your first customers ;-). Linda

  4. Hi Arlene – What can I say – you are the most amazing person I know – with your “go for it”, fearless outlook. You can do anything! Except my jaw still hurts! … Bye xo Di

  5. I’m thrilled that you have a new venture. I’m sure it will be a great thriving business and best of all, it’s seasonal!!! All good!! I am also glad to hear about your new hobby- crocheting. Good choice. I think occasionally about taking it up but I have too much fabric in my stash to even consider it. I’m trying to get some quilting done but just have enough hours in my day. Figure that one out. I can’t. We have had a fabulous summer and fall and I have produced a very nice grassy yard. It was so scrubby I thought we’d have to rip it out and start from scratch but wow! what fertilizer, water and sun can do! Too bad the previous owners hadn’t figured that out. Roy bought a ride on mower so we don’t have the boy across the street cutting it anymore. It’s me and I don’t mind at all. I have otherwise no news. We are both well and I love living in Magrath. Roy’s grandson Thomas (13) says he may come from Calgary to help us give out Hallowe’en candy. That’s the big event on our calendar. Glad to hear all your news and hope you, Sabrina and all the boys are well too. I think of you often, believe it or not!! Love you, Sue

    • Hi Sue, So glad to hear from you. I will love to see your quilts when I visit at some point, whenever that will be. I am sure that they are gorgeous. The crocheting has been fun for me. I love watching a movie and clicking away. Combining R&R with productivity – makes me happy.
      Sounds like all is well in your neck of the woods. Nice when the “grass is green” on this side of the fence :D.
      The kids are growing and getting along and Jim seems to be enjoying his job at public health. I will look forward so much to seeing you and visiting you and really catching up; I miss you terribly. lots of hugs, Arlene

  6. Hi Arlene, I will definitely be over to enjoy picking with the kids. And when your store opens, it will help me do my Christmas Shopping.

    On another note, I gave your phone number to a very nice young man who works with me. He is potentially looking for a room to rent just for the winter. I told him that I wasn’t sure if you would be interested or not. He is awesome, so if not no worries.

    Mom knows him and his family, or if you want to ask me feel free to call.

    Thanks Erin

    • Hi Erin, look forward to you and the kids coming to pick.

      And for sure have the fellow you work with give me a call if he is interested. See you at the halloween festivities! Cheers, Arlene

  7. Hi Arlene,

    I have been meaning to drop you a note and today decided that is long overdue, but for some unknown reason you have vanished from my Contact list. Can you drop me an email, please.

    Sincerely,

    Mike O’Connell

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