It is ever so true. The older I get, the faster time seems to pass me by. It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since we first fell in love with the creek valley.

It feels as though I can barely remember what our city lives were like, and I find myself believing that this valley has always been our home. There are other times, though, that it seems that we have only just set foot in the fields and have only just begun to learn of country ways.

I had planned early on to start a fruit orchard, and we did. The pear tree is now easily 30 feet tall, and every other year it has given us luscious fruit that is impossible to eat without streams of sweet juice running down our chins. I have boiled our apples down into delicious apple butter, and the purple plums fall from their branches and into our mouths tasting almost like wine. Our peaches are the best I could ever imagine.

And every year I have planned to plant nut trees, but for some reason, season after season would pass us by, and we still had not started our nut grove. This year I found myself sitting back with a heavy sigh. From seedling to nut-bearing tree, it takes both almond and pecan trees at least four years to bear nuts, a chestnut tree about five years and an English walnut tree five to eight years.

We are not getting any younger, and my hair, though once colored salt and pepper, is decidedly more white with each passing season, but as I read further, an almond tree will produce nuts for up to 25 years, walnut trees will live for 150 years and pecan and chestnut trees will produce nuts for as long as 300 years.

Without any doubt, any nut trees that Greg and I plant at the farm will live far longer than we do, so even though 15 years have passed us by without planting our nut trees, the time was still right.

We would still be able to harvest some nuts, and our progeny and creek valley creatures would be able to enjoy the nuts for decades, if not centuries, to come.

I went online and ordered two almond, two English walnut, one pecan and one chestnut tree. They arrived as long spindly twigs with healthy tangles of pliable roots. I watered their shipping containers and waited for the valley’s waterlogged ground to dry. Within a week, the weather turned perfect.

The sun shone brightly as Greg and I set out stakes to mark the location of each little tree. As we worked, the cattle watched curiously from their pasture. We dug six holes, added compost-amended soil, buried the roots, carefully surrounding them with crumbled soil, refilled the holes and finally topped it all off with a healthy bucket of water from the frost-free spigot. Finally, we tied each tree, barely as thick as my finger, to a stake and set a tomato cage over its top to discourage any passing deer.

We stood back to admire our diminutive nut grove. In 10 years’ time it should be thriving. By then, today’s curious cattle will have long been relegated to the deep freeze, but with grace, Greg and I will still be living and loving our creek valley life but better yet, perhaps on down the road, a century or two from now, someone might just stop on by the creek and reach up and enjoy a meaty walnut or chestnut.

I smile with the thought. Life is good.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them at