Broad Valley Orchard

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Spring at Last !!

Hello All,

The grim and dim weather has finally broken, and warm air rolls in from the south west. We wrapped up our extended CSA season last week, but Judy informs me that we might be able to start our 2008-2009 delivery season next week. No rest for the weary…..

One of the jobs I have enjoyed doing during this ‘weather related delay’, is working to eradicate a decade’s worth of multi-flora rose that has overgrown our absentee neighbor’s woodlot, and is trying to invade our property. I have a property line maintainance agreement with them to go onto their land to clear out this bothersome invasive plant, once mistakenly promoted as a ‘living fence’. I have found barn owls dead, entangled in its thorns. But I have learned to cut my way into the plant’s base, and haul out 20 foot (6 M) compound canes, with out getting torn up. I drag these up to the goat pasture, where their tough mouths happily devour everthing thinner than a pencil. I then toss those remnants into a drainage ditch to slow erosion. One other benefit of removing this plant is that grond hogs often burrow under them, and become a destructive garden pest. By maintaining a hundred yard (98 M) wood chuck free zone around the property, we can keep them from raiding our land, and creating burrows here.

So, today I might plant some more potatoes. I got the parsnip in yesterday, and soon put in our main crop onions for winter storage. Yestre I took our pick-up truck to a local farm that commercially makes a high-quality vegetative based compost, and brought back two truckloads. We will finish and screen this compost, and it becomes the base for our potting soil, as well as a top dressing when we replant the hoop houses with summer crops.

This week-end we stayed at the Heathcote Community, in Freeland, Maryland. Google up their website, and learn their fantastic story in the history of “communalism”. I am most interested in this movement, because my grandmother, Bertha Flueckiger, had been born in the Old Economy Community, in what is now Ambridge, Pa. This summer I will attend their “Descendant’s Reunion”. Since I was functionally orphaned when I was 4 years old, and then adopted at six, I now have a feeling that “he’s going home to a place I’ve never been before“; words which I remember from John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High“.

Thank You
Thom (Dunn) Marti
PS: I just wote “Rusted Dreams – Busted Lives” the story of my immigrant family’s tragic search for the American Dream. I found the research and writing to be a wonderful source of mental catharsis. I recommend that all of you ‘look for your roots’.

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