Fruit Tree Pruning

I woke up early yesterday and took this photo of the old elms in our front yard.

In the afternoon Dave and I pruned our pear tree. This is in the front yard. You can see the elm branches above the pear tree. As usual I forgot to take a before photo. We were very aggressive – shortening the tree, cutting off the water shoots and generally thinning it.

While Dave finished taking down the mistake of a fence we put up a couple years ago (below), I started pruning this apple tree in the orchard. It has been very neglected.

Yes, forgot the before photo. The fence just didn’t look good and it wasn’t functional (keeping the dogs in the yard) because we haven’t put up a fence in the back. Plans for any fencing are on hold. Basically, the dogs go where they want. Duke stays on our property – frequently roaming into the brush beyond the pasture and coming home full of burrs. Len visits the neighbors – giving them a look like they are on his property. Given his weight gain I expect he also visits the property behind us where they host dinners and bluegrass dances every Saturday night.

two white pines in the back yard

This is the apple tree when I finished with it. Lots more to do. You can see what I cut off in the foreground.

Sadly, we no longer have chickens. Well, we have them but they are in the freezer and the stock pot. We started having a predator problem in the fall – well, maybe in the summer, we just didn’t notice until the fall.  This week we were down to just three hens. We locked them in the coop and waited for a relatively warm morning. That was today. Maybe we will try having chickens again when Dave retires in a few years.

Getting some much needed rain today. Hoping for a good snow fall in February.

Photos of the Week

I’ll just lump these last several photos into one post. Good to get caught up!

Love the color of the leaves on our little chestnut oak planted a year ago in front of the barn.

Dave was away this week visiting his mom in South Carolina. Len missed him and would whine for him every so often. I’ve learned to ignore it.

Early morning frost on elderberry leaves.

A very old Norway Spruce.

It grows between the house and our two story shed.

Chinese Privet

The end of October we started sawing away at this Chinese Privet. It is a highly invasive alien and we just realized what it is. Hard to see the small red bud tree among it’s foliage.

We also found a small American Beech tree.

So green! When I realized it was a beech I begged Dave to come out with me in the rain to put fencing around it to keep it from the deer. I’ve been thinking about the large beech tree we had in the backyard of our house in Springfield. The wildlife loved it. I’m very excited to watch this little sapling grow.

We also found another small tree but I guess I didn’t get a photo of it. Not sure what it is – possibly (hoping) a native plum.

Here is the mass of privet. I was amazed that Dave took down most of it over the course of a week. As you can see it is in the far corner of our front yard.

Here is just some of the wood from the privet. We’ve been told it makes good firewood.

Strawberry Babies

The tractor just needs it’s driver to start skimming off this area for a strawberry patch.

The strawberries that the landscapers planted early this summer really spread. So I potted the babies for transplanting.

Still attached by a runner.

We hosted an hOUR Economy work party and potluck. About half a dozen people showed up to help us prep the bed and plant the strawberries.

The chicken wire will protect them from the chickens and the deer. It didn’t take long for weeds to sprout!

The Second Half of September in the Garden

I’m very behind in posting my photos!

We had a lot of mulch left over from the landscapers so I edged this bed, weeded and mulched it. In the foreground is foxglove, then wild geranium (a favorite of mine) and the fig bush.

Another view.

These are the lantana and meadow sage I planted in a bare spot of our native garden. I know the lantana isn’t native and it is just an annual here. Not sure about the meadow sage.

Just giving an update of the landscaping we had done. This is blue mistflower. Unfortunately, the 3 other plants died so they replaced them with irises (you can see one of the irises there on the left).

On the left are coneflowers (orange or pale purple, not sure as they didn’t bloom for us yet though I know they planted both). Toward the back are strawberries and lavender is on the right.

Wild quinine

The strawberries really took off.

I love the wild geranium because it is so hardy. It’s doing great here even after being on a tarp for almost a month. It has a very shallow root system so we just raked away the mulch, scooched the geranium off the tarp, and then sprinkled it with the mulch. Two months later and it looks like it was never disturbed.

I think it was late August when the landscapers returned to plant the white wood asters under the yew tree.

An aromatic aster

I took the rest of these photos right after they returned again to plant the “chionoides” rhododendrons.

The asters bloomed profusely late September and into October. They attracted a lot of pollinators.

The Summer of Fruit

Another sweet watermelon

Zinnias in the kitchen garden

purple hulled cowpeas

The pollinators love this Sedum in the front bed.

Little Tansy flowers.

Dried cowpeas

We even harvested a ripe fig this afternoon. We need to move this bush. It doesn’t get enough sun. Just have to figure out where to put it. It will be interesting to see if we get more than just these two figs. The others are still very small and green.

I think fruit has done so well this year because we did not have a late freeze in the spring. They’ve had a long stretch of warm weather. That is coming to an end. The last two nights have been in the 40’s. Very cool for this time of year.

Two Weeks in the Barn Garden

July 4 – Naughty Marietta Marigolds and Scarlet Runner Beans

July 18

July 4

July 18

July 4 – Onions (far left), leeks to the right of the onions. We harvested the leeks last week and have slowly been harvesting the onions as they fall.

July 18

July 18 – a candy onion

July 4

July 18 – a different angle of the tomatoes. The leaves are yellowing and we are starting to get fruit.

July 4 – sweet potatoes and butternut squash, okra (back left)

July 18 – the sweet potato are starting to spread into the okra

July 4 – pole beans on the right and bitter melon on the left

July 18 – again a different angle. Bitter melon in the front and purple pole beans in the back. We are starting to get beans – they are like green beans.

July 18 – This is the purple pole bean blossom.

July 4 – blue corn (back left), watermelon and cantaloupe (inter-planted front) and pole beans (back center).

July 18

July 18 – a cantaloupe blossom

July 18 – I saw a lot of little watermelons like this

July 18 – and then I spied this! See the melon behind the leaves. Unfortunately, I didn’t focus on the melon. Need to work on that. The melon would fit comfortably in my hand. This is exciting. Last year all our watermelon plants died young.

July 18 – Our lone surviving strawberry plant from last year. Something was eating the strawberries so we covered it with chicken wire. We’ve had a couple of very sweet berries. They are an ever-bearing variety so we should continue to get berries through the summer.

First Half of July

Southern Magnolia

I’m reading Seeing Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo and photography by Robert Llewellyn. Enjoyable reading and the photos are spectacular. Click on the arrow in the above photo for a neat video clip.

July 9th was the full moon. I think this was the day before or after.

Some of our harvest.

Pine bark harvested from one of our trees wraps around the sunflower stems in a mason jar. I got the sunflowers from the farmers market.

Emmylou and her chicks. They are on the wrong side of the fence!