Broad Valley Orchard

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Spring Arrives at Last!!

Hello Garden Enthusiasts – Happy Earth Day!
Last year during this time of vernal awakening, I had the honor to speak at Hundred Fold Farm, one of the two local co-housing projects that we have the honor of associating with. I was supposed to speak on “Sustainable Agriculture.”
But I have been delivering presentations on that topic for 15 years, and I notice that only real Earth folk are inspired by it. I wanted to get to the non-gardeners, to that majority of folks who are so far out of touch with Nature! So I said:
I have two very important ideas to tell You! First, you need to do everything you can to get out of debt. Second, you need to tear up your lawns and start growing as much of your own food as you can. You have to do this because this consumer-based, throw-away, frivolous life style that has been foisted on us, is going to come crashing down, soon!”
Well, I ain’t no prophet, but I sure saw this New Depression coming. Judy and I never plugged into this debt-driven lifestyle. In fact, we have no credits cards, and no credit history. I must say that brings on a certain security in these Hard Times.
We also put in our first garden in 1973 (modeled after our great -grandparent’s small family farms (now called “micro-farms”), and our grandparent’s backyard garden patches. Even though we put 10 years on the road, and on the sea, earning the money to buy BVO for cash, we learned a lot of needed farm job skills while working for carpenters, geologists, surveyors, navigators, biologists, carpenters, and especially as apprentice junkers.
This all allowed us to do most of the building and repairs on our own. I thought about that last week, as I was topping a tall hemlock tree (too close to our house and hoop house) that had lost its fight against those damn adelgids! I used my high construction experience, along with a rock-climbing friend’s gear, and topped it! And am here to tell the tale.
Now we have to plan shingling the roof again. I did that 20 years ago, and am amazed how time flies. This current roof hasn’t leaked yet, but some of the old 20-year shingles are losing corners. Sigh, now that I’m in my 60th year, I am starting to feel the effects of gravity; as a kid I could climb like a monkey!
Well, we had a very wet April, but now it dries out. We had our killing frost 4 days ago, and our last light frost 2 days ago, and now it is 82F (28C). Whew, talk about adapting in a hurry, but I got our first beans planted this morning. Our Asian pears are in full bloom, with the pears and the early apples pushing hard to catch up. It even looks like our apricot tree might put out some fruit. The blueberry bushes buds are swelling, and the brambles are putting out leaves on the floricanes, and new primocanes push up from the roots.
Soon we will take a walk in the woods to monitor the progress of the Pink Mocassin flower patch. I built a quartzite ‘cairn’ last fall; I am a frustrated primitive stone mason. I have been informed that other folks are now building cairns up on state land. I want to check them out! A century and a half ago miners worked the quartz dike that marks the Wenksville Fault, which runs through the Wenksville Anticline. This billion year-old geologic structure is what gives us our semi-artesian shallow well, even though we are at 1100 feet (approx. 360 meters). These old meta-rhyolite, and meta-basaltic rocks give us our incredibly fertile silt loam.
Better living through geology, meteorology, and pattern-making…
thom marti

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