Broad Valley Orchard

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March Is Here – We Survived the Winter, I Think

Hello All,
This last three weeks has been brutal. We have logged 11 ice storms this winter, and we missed a few that went North of us. I am two weeks behind on winter pruning the orchard. My back and legs are sore from slogging thru the snow and ice, climbing ladders and trying not to fall. But, I should finish the job this weekend, and some warmer weather should be on its way, ermitting us to finish up the winter work. I have screened a barrel of wood ash, and will soon spread it around the orchard, to give the trees their annual mineral supplement.
Judy has new seedlings sprouting in our attached green space. She has cleared most of the rows in our two hoop houses, and is also direct seeding them. We have one row of greens left from last November’s seedlings, and we are still delivering salad bags to a few of our hard core CSA members. Our root and fruit cellar is down to a few pounds of apples, potatoes, and carrots, which are a wonderful addition to our winter diet.
This coming season will find us gardening much less. We have returned our 16,000 square foot (0.2 Ha.) leased West Garden to pasture, which cuts our outside gardens to half of what they were. We are doing this in accord with our latest Five Year Plan, which will see us preparing to sell our farm in three years, and move to an intentional community, where we can pass our methods and skill on to a new generation of farmers. Sometimes I wonder where our youthful energy went when we were keeping over 2 acres (1 Ha.) of fruit and vegetables. My aging back really appreciates growing dwarf fruit trees, and trellised blue and bramble berries. I remember when I used be able to stoop and squat all day weeding. Sigh!
I have been hearing from quite a few hopeful young farmers, who want to follow their own farm dreams. I was so happy to see so many of them at the PASA conference! In a nation and a world that seems to have its priorities so topsy-turvy, these young folks give me hope.
I have spent much of the winter writing “Rusted Dreams – Busted Lives”. This documents the journey that the five families that contributed DNA to me made from Europe, to Ambridge, Pa., to seek the American Dream. Sadly, it did not work out very well for them. A series of wars, health, and economic tragedies crushed their dreams. I have no idea if any my relatives are still alive. This journey into my past was quite painful. It was like a self-inflicted regression therapy. But now that is written, I feel it was very cathartic. I recommend that all of you work your way back to your own roots. It makes it easier to face the future, and hopefully not repeat the mistakes of the past,

Thank You

Thom Marti

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