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    The Microhomestead Report {Feb. 2010}

    March 1, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    I haven’t done one of these in a while, and I have a handful of decent photos, so I suppose that means it’s time. I can’t believe how far we’ve come since we moved to our own little forty-five-hundreths of an acre. For those of you who don’t remember, we bought a barren wasteland where even weeds feared to grow.

    Good news: we now grow weeds.

    Bad news: we have an extraordinarily difficult time growing anything else.

    I have never seen such infertile soil. Good thing I read Wendell Berry’s essay on the recovering of a strip mine. That’s about what it’s going to take.

    The Orchard

    I love our little orchard. It is finally all in, though it took about half a bag of compost per tree, just to make sure they didn’t die of malnourishment. We added another four trees, bringing the total to eleven. We have: peach, white fig, almond, orange, lemon, three types of apple, walnut {Idaho, for those who care}, cherry, and pear. Right now, the earliest fruiting trees are already in bloom.

    Here, we have our gorgeous peach {which was bred for good fruit and is also considered ornamental}:

    Here is a full view of my Anna Apple tree:

    Who knew apples could mature in July? That is what we are looking forward to in a year or two, when our trees grow up a bit. Here is a closeup so you can enjoy the blossoms with me:

    Weed Eaters

    Some folks use Round Up. Some folks use a hoe. We…well, I guess one could call this a lazy biodynamic method:

    These girls are currently being moved around the orchard to eat down the weeds. As long as I move them every couple days, they require little in the way of supplemental food, essentially turning weeds into eggs for the price of water. Plus, they are giving the children a full education as far as waterfowl go.

    Latest Project

    On Saturday, my sweet husband was not deterred by wind nor rain nor birthday parties. As soon as the guests departed, my husband grabbed a sod cutter and began clearing the land for his latest project:

    Can any of you guess what this is for? Here is another view:

    If you guessed future patio, you are correct:

    In our area, it is said that we have ten months of outdoor weather. However, without a covered patio, the summers can be quite harsh. Thankfully, my husband thought of everything in regard to this project, and it’s going to be beautiful.

    I can’t wait to show the finished photos. And also explain the injustices of zoning laws, now that I am familiar with them.


    A Room with a View

    For now, I’ll leave off with one last photo. My husband planted the peach tree in the front row, so that I could see it…and it could see me.

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  • Reply Rahime March 2, 2010 at 9:00 am

    And also explain the injustices of zoning laws, now that I am familiar with them.

    They’ll make you crazy!!

    I love your orchard, and I would LOVE to have a little flock of ducks someday like yours. (though I somehow doubt it’ll be in the near future)

  • Reply Kansas Mom March 2, 2010 at 12:14 am

    What a wonderful orchard! Ours is still a few years off. This summer is the summer of the outbuilding. It’s literally falling down and absolutely will be fixed even if we don’t plant anything at all.

    Our chickens are still winterized, but we’re already considering ways to let them into the garden without letting them destroy it. More so they’ll eat the bugs than the weeds, though.

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