Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I haven't made a contribution to the blog in awhile, but I'd like to share that the combination of growing apple trees and then writing about the experience has to be just about the the most rewarding activity.....so much to learn. Mother nature is an ongoing miracle, and we are so blessed to be a part of this experience! I am struck by the power that a human being has to be able to partner with an apple tree and help to shape that little being through grafting, pruning and nurturing into a full grown fruit bearing tree. It is a wonderful Universe.....
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It is a lovely day, and no, I am not at Bell Springs......somewhat of a miracle, I'd say. No, other things have taken priority, like going to the dump, tearing out the old sink in the garage along with the ancient rusty metal cabinets that where cast offs from the kitchen remodel. They were the original cabinets installed in the house in the year of 1952! So I enjoyed the day here in Willits, running to the hardware store getting plumbing supplies. It was a good day and I am hoping that by tomorrow the new sink will be in the preferred location, and our garage will be on the way to becoming organized.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
It's been a long hot dry summer, but as of today the season is officially finished......the last apple was picked and now we can take a break. No more water worries as the seasonal rain is taking care of that need, and about half of the leaves have already fallen. The variety that just got ripe is an antique tree from the east coast. It looks somewhat like a large Granny Smith, only it has the most beautiful red blush over part of the apple. They are juicy and crisp and have a spicy flavor....yummy! Today was a magical day in terms of completing projects. First, I have been working on burying conduit from the generator/power shed out to the lowest water tank on the hill. This is so that in the summer, when this tank fills, the excess water can be pumped higher up the hill and the water will then flow by gravity back down into the orchard area where it feeds the drip system via the emitters. Now that the power is all installed, it will be ready for next summer. Then, a second project that left me feeling quite satisfied was organizing a load to the landfill....simple pleasues for simple minds I guess! It is quite rewarding to dispose of materials that have been spent and are of no further use or value. I took my skill saw and cut up two six hundred gallon fiberglass water tanks into pieces small enough to pack neatly in the bed of my pickup truck. Who would guess that in the back of that truck was an entire water system that had been disassembled and along with it many memories of a time gone by? There were also hundreds of feet of one inch "Poly" pipe that used to be the mainstay 25 years ago for transporting water from one location to another. Now that PVC Pipe has replaced this older remedy, it was fun taking my loppers and cutting this poly pipe into 3 and 4 foot sections to be hauled off to the dump. As I say, sometimes it is the small things in life where one finds ultimate satisfaction!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I've been busy @ Bell Sprigs, just not so busy on my blog...bad, bad bad! It is important to me to describe some of the activities that are unfolding. Notice the perfect sunset to the west of the apple farm, taken by my friend Bruce.....nice job! This would be standing out on the deck in front of the living area. I have been upgrading the water system, including installing two new water tanks and replacing piping that was installed over 25 years ago. It's a big job, but when completed will not only serve the apple trees, but also supply well over 50,000 gallons of water daily in the winter time to the hydro generator that can create the necessary daily cabin power in the absence of sunlight. This has been an ongoing project, and I sincerely hope to have all in place for when the big rains come in December, and beyond. Today I am also hoping to receive delivery of up to 15 yards of base gravel for the drive way. With all the trenching that has happened, the drive way has gotten pretty muddy. That can be an ugly thing....car stuck in six inches of gooey soft clay....let's not go there!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
There are four things a plant needs to survive and thrive.....fresh air, sunlight, water and the nutrients that are in good soil. Sometimes farmers try to cut corners on the soil and maybe take a "shortcut" by the use of chemical fertilizers rather than natural compost that has aged over time and is rich in worm castings. Plants have an immune system just like we humans. They can resist disease and harmful insects if they are healthy and strong plants. We can help plants to become strong by careful pruning, ample water, direct sunlight and developing a good bed of soil around the tree. One small way we feed our trees is by taking the kitchen compost and placing it in a round cylinder and rolling the cylinder every few days to allow the waste to quickly break down and become soil again. We then spread that compost around under a fruit tree, and not only does it provide trace minerals but it also acts as a barrier between the hot sun and the water underground. The compost keeps the water from evaporating and allows a rich environment to grow where worms and other creatures carry on nature's program. So, our philosophy the apple farm is keep it real and keep it natural. We'll leave the chemicals to the auto mechanics!