When you live on a farm and deal with so many living creatures...
both plant and animal...
you learn through experience, mostly.
Oh sure, there are always great guide books out there,
but the best lessons seem to come from trial and error.
I can tell you I have learned a whole lot living here in the country...
I've learned a lot about the creatures to whom I am responsible,
and I have learned a whole lot about myself, too.
My hope is that each day teaches me something new about this big, beautiful world.
Writing this blog gives me a chance to share some of what I learn...
but I don't ever expect you to take what I say as gospel...
it's just how I see my world and what has worked for me.
As for you.... well, you will have your own trials and errors...
and I hope you share them with me, too!
If you have noticed that today's pictures have nothing to do with what I am saying,
you are right!
But, I know how you like cute animal pictures,
and I hate to disappoint!
Now for the point of this blog post....
We have tried for 5 years in succession to start a second orchard.
We have one apple orchard with quite mature (old) trees.
What we wanted was a second orchard with a variety of trees.
We began this new orchard in the middle of the field behind our goat pens.
Up until 5 years ago, this field had been "leased" to our neighboring dairy farmer as an alfalfa field.
We have had a hard time getting trees to survive for more than two years.
So, after reading about soil composition and how nutrients are taken from the soil by plant roots,
we came to the conclusion that farming had removed
the natural nutrients, fungi, and microorganisms from the soil.
It is these microorganisms that facilitate the roots' absorption of nutrients.
So, in a last ditch attempt to grow fruit trees in this location,
we removed a large amount of the "dead" soil...
(gotta love that heavy equipment!)
Then we took the backhoe to the woods and dug up soil from the forest floor...
very rich in nutrients and microorganisms.
We replaced the dead soil with supercharged virgin soil,
and planted our new fruit trees in that nutrient rich, loamy earth.
We will spend the summer faithfully watering and nurturing these little trees along
in the hopes that some day in the near future
we will be able to enjoy the "fruits" of our labor...
peaches, apricots, pears, plums, sour and Bing cherries.
I'll keep you posted!
I cancelled our order for new bees this Spring
They were to be delivered May 16th.
With the early Spring we are experiencing,
I fear there will not be enough of a nectar flow available for these new bees
by that time which would seriously affect the robustness of the hives...
making overwintering difficult.
New bees will have to wait for next year.
The good news is, though, we will soon be harvesting our remaining hive,
as it is overflowing with honey!
And after the honey harvest...