Tuesday, May 22, 2018
It looks like my grafting was pretty successful this year. Some very rare Limbertwig varieties and some local unknown varieties will be planted here on the homestead, but many of these will be (hopefully) sold this fall. I seem to be stirring up some interest in heirloom apple varieties as I sold all the trees that I advertised last fall and have several people on a waiting list.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
The Bliss taking so much of my time I haven't been taking my daily walks in the Back40. Today I slipped away and here's what I saw.
The Chestnut Crab was one of the first apples to bloom and now the applets are growing.
This Bluebird hen was determined to protect her eggs.
A Hoover apple tree is one of my last to bloom thus escaping any late frosts.
I should have been cleaning my bird boxes out earlier. I'm still finding nesting mice in many of them.
With the unusually February the wood frogs laid their eggs early. Then came a very cold March. As a result I've seen only a few tadpoles in the vernal pond.
So far this year I have only one Tree Swallow nest. Usually I have 2 or 3 nesting pairs.
This Brown Thrasher has some kind of large bug for lunch.
Only one Chickadee nest this year. The mice have taken over many of my woodland boxes.
That's the end of my Back40 walk, hope you enjoyed it.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Sunday, May 6, 2018
I started grafting apple trees just 4 years ago, when I retired. Not knowing anyone who knew how to graft I relied on YouTube videos to learn the art. My first year I had over 50% of my grafts "take" and was pleased with the results. Those first trees are growing strongly in the Home Orchard, the Back40 Orchard, the Locust Field Orchard and Mam & Pap's Orchard. A few of them set fruit last year and I enjoyed the taste of the old heirloom varieties Myers Royal Limbertwig, Virginia Beauty, Aunt Rachel and Keener's Seedling. Right from the start I knew I didn't want to grow apples varieties that I could buy at the store or at the local orchards. It was the heirloom varieties that "peaked" my interest. Through internet searches I found orchards that sold scion wood of these old varieties. Big Horse Creek Farm, Hocking Hills Orchards, Maple Valley Orchards and John Bunker's Fedco website all provided scion for my grafting adventures. I also found on Facebook the North American Scion Exchange page and the NAFEX (North American Fruit Explorers) page where like minded people were trading scion freely. I now have over 200 trees of over 100 varieties "in the ground" and I'm seriously running out of prime places to plant here on my 66 acres. So now I'm entering into my next "phase" of grafting, selling trees in an attempt to keep these heirloom varieties alive. I took a dozen trees that I had wintered over to the Uniontown "animal swap" this spring and sold out in minutes. I also sold a few "deer apple" trees on Craiglist and other local internet sale sites. So hopefully I'll be able to keep enjoying this hobby that I love and introduce people to the taste of these old apple varieties that have survived for hundreds of years.