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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tending to Fruit

* another old post I found that didn't get posted . . .

I mentioned in my last post that last fall the rabbits started attacking the fruit trees early. I didn't have much time to hunt down rabbit guards in fear of my orchard completely being destroyed. (My fruit trees are just seedlings and not much wider than the diameter of a pencil.) Not wanting to spend a lot of money or take the time to run into town, I started brainstorming. Somehow the thought of feedbags came to me. I gave a quick call to the Master Gardner's for their opinion on my idea, got an okay, and got to work.

All I did was flip the feed bag over the top of the trees (cutting a hole in the bottom which was now the top for the few tall trees I had), poke a fence post threw the bag and into the soil, and then use the stitch from the bottom of the bag to secure the feed bag to the top of the fence post - to keep winter winds and snow from laying the bag over and breaking the trees. It worked great!

Today, during nap time, I went around and took off all of my feed bags. The trees looked wonderful underneath. And I actually could have taken them off sooner since a few were starting to bud. (I need to find out the exact time to remove winter coverings - when cold weather bark splitting and rabbit chewing are not longer a threat.)

After I was done with the trees, I took the rabbit guards off of my blackberry vines and peeked at my blue berry plants. They all looked good, although I need to do some research on blueberries. I hear they are particular with their soil.

I finished a bit earlier than I had though, so with some nap time left I also planted my black raspberry vines in their permanent location. I have around 25-30 vines now. I'm excited to see what they do this first season. I'm also excited to watch them spread!

Next in line with my fruit is planting my grape vines (that are growing and spreading in our kitchen) and transplanting strawberry plants from my parents' place. Although the holes for the grape plants are dug, there is a bit of work to get the strawberry beds ready.

Can you tell I like my fruit? :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pulling Raspberries

* an old post I found that didn't get posted . . .

Today, while the kids were napping - and after mine, I took a walk with Ethan down towards the woods. He was going to take down some temporary fence, and I was going to get some fresh air and just spend some time with him.

We are in the middle of the spring thaw right now, and we just got another 4-5 inches of snow over the weekend. With the cooler temps from the recent snow, I decided to put on my fleece lined jeans and also my winter boots.

I'm glad I did! Not only for the soppy pasture, but for raspberries!

When we got to the bottom of the hill, I noticed that where he was pulling fence was also where a mini ravine is. Although these ravines frustrate me with the fact that they are eating away at our pasture, I also love them. I love them because they are the only place I have found black raspberries to grow on our farm.

The first summer we owned our place, I hopped into our biggest ravine to pick the berries. I was 6-7 months pregnant at the time, but if you know me you know I love berries. So I got my berries but decided that I didn't really want to crawl into the ravine anymore - and not because I was pregnant.

With the multiple mad outbreaks of poison ivy I have had here, I have also decided that hanging out along fence lines and timber lines isn't the best idea. Even if it is to get berries. So what's a girl to do?

Well, last fall I hopped back into the ravine and dug up some berries to move to by the house. Unfortunately, the rabbits knew what was coming this winter and went on a early rampage of chewing off vines and fruit trees. (Even the master gardeners commented on the rabbits' early destructive activity.) In an effort to save my fruit trees (which I did), I didn't get around to protecting my transplanted berry plants before most of them had been nipped off.

Which leads me to today. And to the mini ravine I started talking about. When I saw it I was excited to see that it held quite a few black raspberry plants. I was almost equally excited that I wore my heavy boots and flannel lined jeans.

So as Ethan was rounding up fence I was down in the ravine pulling thorny raspberry plants, which pull quite nicely in ravines. (If the end of the vine touches a wet spot, it will start to root. Just pull this end out since the roots aren't very established, and break it off from the mature end.)

I was quite happy to get 20 or so rooted vines. Not really enough to fill buckets with berries, but enough to replant and start my black raspberry patch and get some berries to nibble on while avoiding ravines and poison ivy. At the moment, my vines are healed in by the house. I hope to plant them within the next week or so.

Also, by the way, I did have a nice time visiting with Ethan too. One of the things we talked about was getting sheep.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Clean Up

It has been a long winter. I can't remember one that seemed longer. And boy has the mess of winter surfaced around here. Hopefully we can do some spring clean up and get things back in order for the summer. Until then, I think I need to take another blogging break, not that I have been too consistent. :) So if you regularly check in, you can subscribe for a notification of new posts to save some internet bouncing time. Praying you are blessed this spring!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pre-Spring Reminders

Today I saw a lot of snow disappear, a lot of mud appear, and could even see the ground of the garden. You can check out Ethan's blog next week to see a video of what this March melt is doing around here.

One thing it is doing, however, is reminding me that it is garden preparation time. I've have now started my sweet potatoes to vine out and am starting to collect milk jugs to put over my transplants. (I had great plans to keep a vine of sweet potatoes going inside to use again in the garden but lost it in a science experiment last month with our homeschool group - totally my fault!)

If you want to read past posts about these things, head on over to the bar on the right of my blog where you can do a search within my blog.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Corner of the Farm

Lately I've been thinking about my little corner of the farm. I say that kind of jokingly because we both enjoy the whole farm. This little corner is where I spend most of my time, and it is also the area that holds what I love to eat best. So while I've been waiting for the snow to melt, I've been doing some planning. I pulled up and guesstimated where we have put our house, shed, garden, berry plants, and orchard.

After that, I planted my grape vines, yard trees, lilac bushes, some flowers, and set up the kids' swing set/play tower. I also set up our fire pit, put a clothes lineup, made some walkways to the house and storm shelter, fixed up the hydrant area, expanded the garden and added a path, plowed up some strawberry beds, finished the perimeter fence around the yard, put in some gravel to the shed and winter lot gate, and cut some wood and built a wood pile for next winter (by the green electric box).

If only it were that easy. And if only trees grew that fast. Oh well. A little at a time. It is fun to see it on paper (or computer), and it helps to have a plan for our trees in case we ever build a stick house a couple decades down the road. I just need to remember when we lived in town and the only way to see the house we are in now was to pull up floorplanner. (You can check that post out here.)

So for now, I'll just keep dreaming - and enjoying my new grape plants sent from my aunt in Oregon, which came out of dormancy quite well above my cupboard this winter. I think they will be one of the first things to get put in place from my dreaming . . .
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