Debbie's Blog

Van Till Family Farm & Winery

A Tribute to Our Mothers and Fathers


Early this month , I enjoyed pruning and transplanting in the greenhouse Patio Pavilion.  It was so rewarding

to be able to dig in the soil, and work with plants that have blooms ( geraniums),  foliage ( boston ivy),  and fruit ( naval orange

and Meyers lemon trees) when most of the ground all around was  just beginning to defrost!

Frozen ground and 7 inches of snow didn’t stop me though,  from harvesting in the farmscape.   I collected cuttings of  pussy willows ( Salix Chaenomeloides, Giant Pussy Willow),  curly willow ( Salix Matsudana Golden Curls) and a bright orange one (Saliz alba  Britzensis,  Coral Bark Willow).   I made these  ‘ornamental woodies’  into  dry arrangement decorations for the Patio Pavillion and the Tasting Room.  And compared to a  snowy day  like yesterday,  the Patio Pavilion temperature stayed near 62 degrees most of the day, such a taste of spring!

I had gotten behind in my maintenance this winter and spent the last few weeks trying to  catching up.  As I was working with the plants in the sun, I reflected on why I hadn’t done this earlier, because it should have been done a long time ago.  We like our patio and farmscape to look relaxing and  inviting and we aim to set a stage for our guests to enjoy the plants and atmosphere while they visit here at the winery.  We certainly don’t want them to  feel like they  must jump up and clean out dead plant material from the flower beds!

We are a farm family, though,  and when my Dad passed away early December, all of the load shifted to Cliff and the staff as Brian and I went to California for a few weeks.

Deb's Parents: Ted and Louise Scott

As expected, shifting back into gear takes time and I couldn’t get to these plants.

But as I stopped and reflected on the events over the last few months, I realized how much both Cliff and my parents had contributed to who we are.

My mother loved to garden, and I think I inherited the love of plants from her.  I had seen her successfully start plants from cuttings that had been discarded on the ground.  Is that a green thumb?   And what did I do today?  Why I picked up a broken branch from a geranium plant growing in a container near the patio door, got a mason jar filled with water and stuck that green branch in the water. Did I think twice about it, no!  I just knew, that was what needed to be done and I am quite confident that it will grow.  That must be an “inherited green thumb”!

My father kept very good records and loved history.  He would keep records of phone conversations for years and actually refer back to them to verify some facts.

I remember my brother telling me he had talked to  Dad regarding some business transaction and had told him the details.  Months later, my brother couldn’t remember the details, but he called  Dad, and Dad found the yellow legal pad which he had taken notes on and gave the facts to my brother.

I keep  a lot of records and have a lot of pictures of plants on the farm.  I must admit though, I don’t have them organized well and they get lost in a pile on my desk!

So, where do I get the ability to take care of the plants on the farm and keep records and enjoy writing?  I probably caught it from my Mom and Dad.

They devoted a great deal of time to us seven children and I am grateful for their dedication to us.

Cliff's Parents: Jim and Verna Van Till

Cliff’s parents enjoyed people  and were always having someone over to their house for dinner or coffee.  His Mom had a real gift of hospitality, even keeping  notes on what you were served so she wouldn’t serve the same thing the next time you came to dinner!  Cliff thinks of the farm as an extension of our home and we try to make our guests feel

welcome and comfortable  as if the Patio Pavilion were our home.   Cliff’s Dad was an honest man and a man of  integrity and  Cliff  shares those same values too.  Cliff’s parents devoted a great deal of time to raising their six children too, and for that we are also very grateful.

So, it is our hope, as you read this blog and if you can visit the farm and winery, that you will enjoy your time spent here and  that you will enjoy your  visit to the farm and winery.

Though my husband and I have some  God given talents and abilities, it was our parents that helped guide us and never told us we couldn’t achieve our dreams.

Thanks Mom and Dad.


6 thoughts on “A Tribute to Our Mothers and Fathers

  1. Nice job Deb, I hear mom and dads words echo in my mind often, the pic of them is at hemet where we all have fond memories and years of good time to remember. Much of why I grow what I do is because of uncle Alvins love of growing things. Cliffs parent were great people too, even thou I met them just a time or two, our parents have given us great opportunities in our lives. Love to all Lon

    • Hey Lonnie, thanks for reminding me about how much our Uncle Alvin, who grew citrus and avocados in Hemet, Calif. and who
      was a craftsman in grafting avocados, was so influencial in our lives, too. Is it a surprise that I have avocados and citrus on our
      Patio Pavilion? Not quite the same as you growing them on the side of a hill in Southern California, though!

  2. Hi Deb, What a great website! And yes- I too must admit that mom and dad left a big imprint on me. Every time I cure olives or make jelly- in one respect, I am doing it to keep the traditions that I grew up with alive. I only wish I had paid more attention to how mom made her pie crust so good. At least one of the Scott kids know how to bake!

    • Hey Meg, thanks for the compliment! Sorry I haven’t responded sooner, but when it is good weather, I am outside
      and even when it isn’t good weather, I am outside! It rained today and I am inside! I wish I had paid closer
      attention to what Mom and Dad made too! Next week though, I plan to make an orange cake with the
      oranges and lemons from our trees, grown right here in Missouri, in the patio. I thought I made that kind of cake back when I was in
      high school, and yes I found the recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook with the red and white cover that Mom used
      in the kitchen!
      We are celebrating Cliff and my birthdays this month and hope to treat the Friends of the Farm to dessert at our
      next work day, if the weather would cooperate. We are going to build a rain garden and cistern and capture the rain from our
      greenhouse patio, build a wall around our Secret Garden with renewable, farm generated materials and other projects. Keep you posted!

  3. Very great post. I siply stumbled upon your webog and wanted to mention that I have truly loved browsing your
    blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing in your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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