Broad Valley Orchard

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Long Silence

Hello All,

I apologize for not having added anything this winter.  I guess my best reason was that I was so busy fixing up the damage of last year’s record rainfall, that I had to turn off my ‘writing function’ to get this place ready for another season.

But we are now making progress.  The soil has dried, and all the trees knocked down by the early Autumn blizzard are neatly stacked in piles to dry as firewood.  I also have cut  back the trees overhanging the site of what will soon be our third hoop house.  One interesting tree, a 80 foot high pecan (rare for this northern latitude, is now trimmed of three large branches, 35 feet up).  This lovely and fragrant wood is as good as hickory – its cousin-for hot winter fires.

I’ll venture into the orchard today to spread some wood ash, and then start moving compost, around the trees.  I sure hope for a good apple season.  Last year’s harvest rains made a mess; local growers (whose families have been growing apples here for a century and a half) report it was the worst in their records.

I can report that our emergency ‘hugel kultur’ really saved the day.  The flowing water from last years’ newly opened springs in our lower garden, were stopped and the bit of flow remaining directed into hugel drains.  I am even planning on planting some potatoes.  Last year all our potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other root crops rotted in the mud;  it was the first time in 40 years I’ve not had any potatoes = and I had always prided myself on them (my Ukrainian roots, I guess).

So, I’m back!  I’m still daunted by all the house and outbuilding repair work I still have to do here, but I am after all a fairly good carpenter.  And I knew I was getting into this when 28 years ago we bought a beat-up Civil War era log house with a falling down barn and outbuildings….

thom marti

PS:  At least this winter I really scored on my genealogical quest to re-find my lost families.  I have found them, and now have seen the old-timers from photos sent by my newly rediscovered cousins!  For details, check out category Rusted Dreams – Busted Lives

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