I was raised on a ranch in Southern California and the scent of orange blossoms will always take me back to the long summer days spent amongst the orange groves. Even at a young age, I was very independent and enjoyed my time away from the hustle and bustle and preferred wandering around the farm or watching my mom train Arabians and their riding counterparts. The barn, the orchards, and the fields (not to mention all of the animals who resided within them) beckoned me and ultimately helped form my fundamental personality. I have always been able to communicate with nature in a non-verbal manner that is expressed through feeling. I am fairly certain that it was through these experiences as a child that I first developed my traits as an empath.
After moving to Washington state, where my family raced horses and built a tuxedo empire, I realised how terribly I missed acres of fields so when I was an adult and married with three daughters and a son on the way, I decided that I wanted to give them the same experience I had had when I was growing up. So we bought Fox Hollow Farm. It was actually called Iron Horse Manor at the time (2008) and was a lovely 11 acre parcel just 30 minutes from Seattle. Nestled between two mountains, it lay in a beautiful, fertile valley with a stream flowing through it that salmon spawned up every September. I was looking for certain criteria but there were stables enough for a handful of horses, and the house itself was a 1940's Georgian manor that was reminiscent of colonial New England. We fell in love at first sight!
Life on a farm is predictable in many ways. I follow the seasons and weather (which I chart), to predict as best I can, the times to plant crops or start projects. Indoor greenhouses extend the growing season, and I spend a lot of time cultivating life in tiny pots and on a much grander scale amongst the many acres of gardens that I have planted here over the past 10 years. Our gardens are chock full of thousands of amazing species of plants including giant hydrangea, tulips, lily's, coltsfoot, rhododendron, ferns, hosta, plus we have over 80 apple, pear, and plum trees in our orchard. My children and I have planted over 20,000 bulbs around the farm and have the most amazing display of color in the Spring and early Summer!
One of my greatest joys from living on a farm is seeing the impact it has had on my children. They have been intricately woven into every fiber that makes up Fox Hollow Farm. We have experienced so many births, plantings, harvests, floods, and countless joyful moments together while creating and evolving our farm and ultimately sharing it with so many others!
Over the years, we have had an equestrian school, animal sanctuary, and event center. I remember when we used to get excited if 20 people came to one of our "Open Farm Days" and now we see a few thousand people each day, especially at our festivals! While we are constantly serving our community and expanding our organic gardens, there has always been a heavy focus on saving animals lives. One of my children's fondest part of our farm is the Livestock Auction Days. That's when we hitch up our trailer and head to a local livestock auction where many animals are sold for slaughter. Our purpose is to save them from that fate so we buy as many as we can handle and then cart them all home, introduce them into their new living quarters, and then assess their health. If they require vet care or immunizations, we take care of that and begin figuring out which animals we can provide a forever home to and which ones we can find permanent homes for. Animal care is a grueling, 24 hour commitment but one that is very rewarding.
Over the past decade, Fox Hollow has changed and grown so much! When our neighbors moved in 2012, we seized the opportunity to purchase their adjacent 11 acres, eventually giving us a combined total of 22. That works perfectly for me because all of my daughters were born on the 22nd so it's my lucky number! Not only have we opened our gates to offer good, old-fashioned, family fun, but we also host a number of programs and events for disabled adults, terminally ill children, senior homes, orphanages, and women's shelters. Fox Hollow Farm is a place to feel happy, commune with nature, and tighten family bonds. Our beautiful grounds and friendly animals encourage a sense of relaxation and nostalgia that people gravitate towards. We focus on bringing holiday cheer too and host an epic Easter Egg Hunt in the Spring where we hide almost 100,000 eggs! In the Fall, we see up to 40,000-50,000 visitors who come to pick apples, peruse through our pumpkin patch, roast s'mores over a huge bonfire, and watch the salmon run up the creek. It is a magical time and some of my most cherished moments have been meeting so many families in the Fall who share their stories with me of how many years they have been bringing their children to Fox Hollow. I truly feel honored to share this incredible place with so many others who also enjoy what the great outdoors has to offer us here in the Pacific Northwest!