Monday, May 9, 2016

Holy Orchard, Batman!

Or I could have called it "The Accidental Orchard"
Or "What Am I Thinking"
Or "Good Lord I Hope the Well Pump Gets Fixed Before All the Trees Die"

Anyway, I was talking to my gramma (I'd say "Hi Gramma" but seriously, a 95 year old woman without a computer is NOT going to read this and could give zero craps about a shout out on the internet), and she asked what I'd been planting and I offered to write up a list.  While doing that, I realized I hadn't made an overall list before so best to get on that and make a copy before I sent it.

Here it is, along with a very very bad sketch map of what is where.  If you click on them for biggification, you can read any portions of the pictures that the internet is hiding from you for reasons I don't understand.

 Is it any wonder I have developed a creepy "Madonna" vein in my left arm?  You know, the icky sticky outy steroid-addled-weightlifter type vein also seen on the aging and underweight singer, Madonna
For the record, my arms are not that gross and my boobs do not look like creepy welded on orange-halves.   

Anyway, I've been driving a shovel quite a bit lately.  FINALLY those months of archaeology fieldwork have come in handy.  I can quickly dig a very tidy hole in the ground.  I'm getting better at stuffing a tree in it.  Or a raspberry, or etc.

Did a few minutes of online research today about where to put the remaining trees.  The mulberries will probably go west of the cabin site near the aronia berries.  I'd like them a west and a bit north to shade the west side of the future imaginary slightly larger cabin, but we run into hose length issues.

The lindens probably down in a low area with more soil than the hill sides and more moisture.  Will be a pain in the butt for a few years while I have to water (no hose will reach, dipping buckets from the creek or walking buckets down from the max reach of the hose will be the options), but after that, the trees should be happy and self-supporting.  I may have a couple of these trees already.  Need to check out a tree identification key.  I'm assuming the library has that.  These trees have edible leaves that make a spinach or lettuce substitute.  Nice. 

I'll be getting fruit, greens and protein from trees.  The Siberian Pea shrubs are nitrogen fixing and put out a peapod like thing which you can eat like a peapod and if you let them mature, the seeds can be used like lentils.  The leaves are nitrogen rich and can be spread around nitrogen weak areas.  I may want more of these.

The ginkos aren't picky about where to live and grow.  This is actually making it harder to decide what to do.  Do I stick them up the hill for a spectacular attractive display from the road?  And years of carrying water UPHILL until they are established?  Put them in the wooded area by the creek so that as the other trees die off, these will be established and filling in?  Or down in the lower area with the good soil near the lindens (which are also called basswoods...I remember the basswood from our house on 4th avenue...the one that pruned itself on to the suburban)?

With the chestnuts (heh heh...I said "nuts") and a couple of other things I reviewed what the tree/shrub wanted in an environment, because I never have ALL of that in one spot, how big it will want to grow, and that sort of thing, then picked one up and carried it around a bit until I hit a spot that seemed like a good compromise.  I have decided to call this "Tree witching" (like water witching) and that it makes me a tree whisperer.  But I shan't advertise my services until it's clear that I'm successful in finding just the right spot.

The next steps are:  GET MORE HOSE!  Good hose, preferably drinking water quality as I'm sick of pouring icky chemicals on the planet and down my gullet.  Most garden hoses are full of toxins that are released especially when hot, like say while out in the sun and full of water.  Barf.  I probably have hose poisoning from my childhood when we drank out of them all the time.  I bet we had to do that because Sher wouldn't let our filthy butts in the house (Hi Sher!).

I'm at the LIMIT of what I can hope to keep watered and take care of for now.  So, I'm declaring a tree/shrub moratorium until late fall.  By then I should know what seems to be doing well, what needs replaced, and have some idea of what I'd like more of.  I will also know if I can care for any more in year 2.  

Already I'm noticing a few stupid choices.  I THOUGHT I had planned the open route down the hill from the cabin site, and the imaginary future cabin site, and kept it clear of the orchard plants.   But then this morning I walked to and then got in the car, parked at the creek at the bottom of the hill east of the cabin, the hill with many many of these orchard plants.  On the walk I thought "why did I plant the THORNY black berries right in my walking path?"...those may need to move.  We'll see.  Once in the car, I looked back up at the cabin and CRAP!  A plum is right in the path for deliveries of things like wood, dirt, supplies for the future imaginary cabin.  These things may need to move.  We'll try it through the summer and see how it goes.

The location of the spigot turned out to be more important than I had realized.  It's in a pretty good spot so it's workable, but I do need more hose.  I want to leave lengths of hose strung to the far flung areas and just haul the shorter bit connecting to the spigot around to hook them up for watering.  I will need to water for a year or two.  If this summer is as hot as last (Sweet Bee-sus* let's hope not!), I will be watering one area or another or multiples every evening. 

Let me also thank Sweet Bee-sus* for my realization a few years back that I had to get in better shape if I was going to make a go of this off-grid nonsense.  I lost some tonnage, not a huge amount but every pound off the butt is a pound of water (which is about a pint) or whatever that I can now haul around.  Obviously there is a lower limit to this metric and I'm nowhere near it but do not plan on losing any more weight.  
Then a year and a half ago or so, I decided to fix the bum arm and build some muscle.  Been working out since then (which may have contributed to the icky madonna vein, see above).  It's been worth it.  I made at least 10 trips up and down the central hill yesterday, most of them hauling a plant, a hose, and/or water in a bucket, and once my composting toilet bucket, and I was able to get up today without more than the usual amount of groaning.

So, that is where I'm at right now.   The next blog entry will review the places I've been getting most of the plants.  Both are awesome.  ( I've ruined the ending!)

*Bee-sus is a reference to a text exchange amongst friends and family (not that I'm not friends with my family) about my bees when I got them.  See this entry for an explanation: 
No offense is intended, it's just that since getting that hilarious text, I have this cartoon character of "Bee-sus" in my head.  A shout out to the contributor of that pun!  Hi know who you are.

No comments: