My mother grew up on a dairy farm in central California as part of a very close knit Dutch community. My mom’s side of the family has only been in the country since the 1920s where they settled in Minnesota. While my great-grandfather Abraham was away for work, my great-grandmother was tasked with moving the homestead including their 9 young children to California’s fertile central valley by herself where the intended to started a small dairy farm. Eventually the dairy was replaced by almond trees which my uncle still manages with his family today. Despite living 8+ hours away by car, we used to visit a lot when I was younger and I still remember the smell of the trees and how the harvesting trucks rumbled down the dirt service roads on their way to shake the trees. One of my favorite memories is when my uncle would send us a large box of raw almonds in the mail which he did every year. We’d spend weeks boiling, peeling, and snacking on them. It’s been a while since I’ve received a box like that but every time I eat an almond I remember my family and that farm.

We recently did some genealogy work and discovered my father’s side of the family has been in the U.S. much longer. We traced our line back to 1201 to an English Knight named Sir John Babington II (although we’re not sure how much we can trust the information online, but it’s certainly fun to think about). My 11th great-grandfather, John, made the move from Surrey, England to Jamestown, Virginia (by way of Bermuda) in 1635. And later, my 5th great-grandfather Jesse was an Artificer in the Revolutionary War. Here’s his record slip from 1779.

We also found that on my great-great-grandmother on my mom’s side, who lived in Holland, was named Styntje Quak which I think is hilarious and wonderful.

I wonder if Sir John or Styntje enjoyed eating almonds as much as I do.