Spring ’18

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted because I broke my left wrist. I slipped on some ice in the driveway. It has slowed me down quite a bit. Good and frustrating at the same time.

Above is a spice bush we discovered back in March. I’d been keeping an eye out for one. This poor thing was engulfed by honeysuckle vine and bush. Dave came to it’s rescue.

You can see where the honeysuckle vine was wrapped around it’s trunk in the above photo.

It has a pretty little bloom.

A bloom on one of our Paw Paw trees.

The chokeberries we planted last fall finally bloomed a couple weeks ago. I was expecting more pollinators enjoying it. Instead, the ants seemed to love the blooms. Will have to investigate if that is normal.

They had a faint, sweet scent.

Samantha and her boyfriend, Luca, helped us unearth these willows back in February and March. I showed a photo and mentioned identifying them in my Feb 20 post. Fortunately, the honeysuckle that was on the tree hadn’t reached strangling proportions but they had to beat back a lot of it to reach the tree itself. Here, I caught a photo with it’s new leaves. A pretty yellow green that we can now identify in the distance when we look out the family room window.

On one of my walks around our property I found some blooms reaching out from a honeysuckle bush that I knew wasn’t honeysuckle. A couple days later Dave came to the rescue again and freed this Blackhaw Viburnum.

A beautiful white flower. I can’t wait to see this in bloom next year.

Another Blackhaw underneath honeysuckle. We’ll go after this another time.

Can you see the Blackhaw behind all this honeysuckle? Another that will have to wait.

These beautiful mushrooms arrive earlier last week.

Among the flowering Woodland Stonecrop

Len enjoys the cool grass on a pretty morning.

We’ve had a lot of rain this week. It started off with a bad storm Monday evening when we got over 2 inches of rain in an hour. The next day Dave noticed that our brick wall had finally tumbled. Fixing the driveway has just become a priority. It’s a good thing the plasterers finally came on Thursday and replastered the parlor ceiling and one wall in the front guestroom and patched up the walls in the dining room.

Afternoon of Pruning

Our daughters boyfriend, Luca, finished pruning this apple tree for us.

Luca, Samantha, Dave and I spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon hacking away at the honeysuckle between the pasture and the creek.

Forgot a before photo. This tree on the left was covered with honeysuckle.

We have so much more to do.

Above is the pile we created for the honeysuckle and the big tooth aspen we cut down some time ago. We are taking down the aspen because it is spreading into our meadow and most of it dies once it reaches a certain size anyway.

Once we clear, oh, another 20 feet or so of honeysuckle we will reach this tree. I can’t wait to get closer to identify it. It looks like it has an aspen growing through the middle of its many trunks.

I took all of the above photos this morning.

Took this photo this afternoon after I finished taking all this honeysuckle in the foreground away from the tree, top center. We’ll just keep chipping away at this invasive weed. Some of it is vines and some the bush variety. Many places on our property have both type. I also cut some out around the pines in the backyard and the maples along the road. I’ll need some help getting the roots out. Luca is coming back out later this week to help and Damian will help too once he recovers from a head cold.

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.

Pines Along the Road

We had 17 white pines growing along our road and the electric company comes around every few years and tops them. It looks awful so we finally took them down over three weekends.

Before

After

Before

After

September 30 – a view of our two paw paw trees on the right and a crabapple tree on the left. Pines are behind these trees.

October 14 – two weeks later. The photo is taken later in the day and season but I think you can see how it has opened up the space.

another before with the pines behind these trees

and after although not quite the same view. The trees on the left are some of our very tall pear trees.

lots of branches to shred

Our pear trees are so tall we can’t pick the fruit. Dave gathered these from the ground. I cut out the good parts to eat and they were pretty tasty.

Dave got to use his new tractor.

stumps left behind

We planted 11 red chokeberry bushes along the fence.

This one is particularly loaded with berries. These shrubs have pretty white flowers in the spring, berries form in the summer and the leaves turn bright red in the fall. Berries are edible for humans and birds though not very tasty. Even the birds leave them until late winter when other food sources are scarce. I also read that the chokeberries are a good urban shrub and don’t mind road salt. We aren’t in an urban area but we do have a school up the road so we get salted at any sign of inclement winter weather.

So nice to have this done.

Some Fall Color

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I had trouble photographing these hawthorn berries. My friend and herbalist came over last weekend to harvest some of them. They make good medicine for the heart. We made sure to leave plenty for the birds.

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The paw paw tree is showing beautifully this year.

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Wood we stacked late last winter.

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A small stand of trees between the stacked wood and the paw paw. Not crazy about the pines – we have so much. In the undergrowth is an oak and what we think are some cherry trees. We pruned out the honeysuckle bushes.

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See the little brussel sprouts on the stalk at the base of the leaves. We had such a hard time with bugs this year. So hoping these sprouts remain unharmed.

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A little color from our serviceberry tree.

More Pruning

It was in the 60’s today so we took advantage of the warm temps and spent the afternoon pruning the gooseberry bushes, butterfly bush and elderberries. We also cleared some of the applewood we cut a couple weeks ago and stacked it on the wood pile.

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Gooseberries and butterfly bush before pruning

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and after

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another view

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Makes quite a difference. The gooseberries were extrememely overgrown. We did a harsh pruning. Hopefully, we will still get some fruit from them this year.

Fruit Tree Pruning

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Last Saturday Sue, Norm and Marc helped us prune some of our fruit trees. The trees are quite old and haven’t been pruned in years. Sue recommended that we cut at least some of them down and plant dwarf varieties. We’d have fruit in three years rather than trying to bring these old trees back to bearing fruit.

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On Monday Damian, Dave and I did some cutting up and stacking of apple wood.

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