Archive for fruit trees

Our Little Orchard

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My goal is for our family to be capable of feeding ourselves – completely independent from grocery stores for anything other than toilet paper. (Well, maybe coffee, too). Some days that goal seems insurmountable.

Today however, we are surrounded by abundance. We have a super tiny orchard- just under a dozen dwarf apple, four pear and two cherry trees. We picked up *buckets* of windfall apples earlier this summer and made apple sauce and apple cider vinegar. Then the tree branches were so full they were bending to perilous angles and we picked *buckets* of unripe fruit to keep our trees from being damaged.

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As the real harvest approaches, I am overwhelmed with the blessing of the bounty! Apple pie filling for the freezer, cider, sauce and fruit leather for school lunch boxes, dehydrated apple pieces for oatmeal and granola… And to think I wanted to plant more trees!

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Cherry tree owners: you must own this!

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MyGirl processed about 1/2 gallon of cherries in about 35 minutes with this little gizmo. It is super simple. You push the metal arm down into a divot that holds one cherry at a time. It pushes the pit through a rubber mat with an “X” in it. The pit falls into a plastic, removable cup. On the up swing, the cherry falls off and rolls down the spout into your bowl. After each child tested it, it was determined that slapping and popping it does NOT work well. Splashing and squirting and giggling might happen, but it does not make the job go any faster and moms generally frown on cherry juice spraying all over the kitchen. Even if it does make the work more fun. Pushing it firmly works just fine.

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It cost me $20 from a local hardware store. It has a nice sturdy suction base, very similar to the base on my cast iron apple peeler. This is cherry pitter is made of plastic and imported. If I can find one made in the USA, or made of cast iron, I will buy it before next spring. What a time saver! Now I just have to get my apple cider press ready before the apples are ripe.

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Spring Honeybees, Summer Fruit Trees

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A handful of our honeybees congregated on the lid of their hive as we were racing the sunset to finish our work. DearHusband had split some of our hives to prevent them from swarming and we were “re-queening” at dusk. The newly split hive hadn’t had time to rear a new queen, and we were providing them a darling in a box. She arrives in a tiny screened box, 1/4 the size of an Altoids box, with a couple caretaker bees. This new queen is held captive in her tiny windowed room by a plug of bee food that will be eaten away in the two or three days necessary for the hive to accept her. Once she has begun laying eggs, we will breath a sigh of relief and begin to enjoy the view of our tiny orchard being pollinated.

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