Friday, October 30, 2009

Starting Over

Starting over is hard. Especially when the job is as big as creating a homestead. But there are fundamental differences that make this time/this space feel right to me.
  1. This is my home. I am not renting anymore. The changes we make here will not have to be changed back when we leave.

  2. We can plan on being here for a very long time. That means that doing things like planting fruit trees, or putting in a huge garden will not feel like a waste or even a compromise.

  3. I know the rules. When I started the homestead in the Red House I felt like I needed to do tons of research just to make sure what I was doing was alright. With landlords, with laws of the city, etc. This time I am outside of the city (by 20 blocks) and I own my own house. It never stopped me before, but it will make the going much easier this time.

I am daunted by this task. I feel like there are so many things to do and research before I even start with the building, digging, moving, and planting.

This week, it is apple tree research. In this catalog above I can get three year old, branched, bareroot fruit trees for $21 each. The man that runs this farm will make an appointment with you, let you try the apples from the trees you are considering, and tell you if your planting location will work. What an AMAZING resource! I am setting up my appointment for next week (our weekends are T/W/Th) and we will go out there and pick our three trees for the spot in the back of the garden. I am looking for semi-dwarfs, native to the Pacific NW. The catalog says that there are quite a few. I can't wait to taste them!

You can't find this type of service at the big box stores. Their products may be cheaper but there is something HUGE that is missing there. Not only are there only three kinds of trees, but the employees refer to the tags for the difference. lol! They rarely know anything about planting, growth, or when they fruit. Not to knock places like Home Depot or Lowes... honestly I am there quite often with requests for specific kinds of boards, hinges, paint, and door knobs. And they do a good job of helping you research while you are there. But for things like fruit trees, it just seems that you would want someone who has tasted the fruit. Doesn't it?




sarah in the woods said...

We ordered several fruit trees and are waiting for them to arrive. I'm so excited about this. The one thing I wished, though, was that we could taste the fruit to help us decide which kinds we wanted. So glad you have your own place now!

Jenny said...

Hey Val~ I'm taking a fruit science class right now. We've been learning about apple trees for the past 9 weeks. If you need help let me know. I can also recommend the book I bought for my class (which is so great I plan on keeping it). My next test is 19 apples & naming their variety. A daunting task but something I look forward to learning.

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Sarah: I am SO excited about being able to taste them! I have to admit though, that I already know what most of the fruit around here tastes like... I do work at a farmers market with a fruit stand behind me. But I love that he does this! And it will be great to taste them with the kids and get their opinions. Next stop, chicken coop! :D

Jenny: Any help you would give me would be great! Although this guy seems really knowledgable. I think I am picking Semi Dwarf Brayburns, Gravinstiens and a Jaunagold (but the blush-red variety). I need to know if they cross polinate well. I also need to know soil conditions that they would need before planting. Because the spot that I am putting them in is currently covered in black plastic. That is all getting torn up, and most of it I am going to use for the walk ways in the new garden come Spring.

What do you think? Will those work?



Val in the Rose Garden said...

Oh and Jen, I use them for sauce, pie filling, and eating. I think all of those could be used for that (Jaunagolds of course are more eating, and the other two more cooking). Am I on base? Did my research give me good info? Thanks so much!


Rachael Hutchings said...

Ok, that's it. I'm coming and moving in with you. I need an apple tree man like that!!!

Sunshine Alternative Mama said...

After a couple of aborted attempts I am once again looking to s-l-o-w-l-y add food production and other sustainable practice to our little city lot. Have you read the Integral Urban House? It is a great book.

Unknown said...

That is going to be great. Such great service! I can't wait to start a farm.

It seems like every time I ask someone a question at a large store I get the person who doesn't know what your talking about and they don't exactly act like they wanna help either. Drives me crazy. You work here right? Find out for me!

Frannie in the Rain said...

Thanks for posting this info Val. I recently started following your blog and now I'm getting more and more hooked. So creative and inspiring. We just bought our first home outside rainy Asoria, OR and are trying to develop our "homestead" doing some of the same things you are. However, I'm glad you're one step ahead of us so we can glean from your research:) You're so on top of things!...thanks for that!
When should you plant the apple trees? We're looking at the same dwarf varieties and I'm going to have to make the trip to this guys farm. Sounds promising

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Frannie: I love that you think I am "on top of things". I feel 'obsessed'. ;) It is nice to know there is another word for that.

When we go pick up out our trees then I will ask him and I will get back to you (or post about it).

Have a BEAUTIFUL weekend!


Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Oh, I am so jealous! That's it, we're moving to be near you. lol How amazing! We don't have any fruit trees, though I would love to plant some soon. We're planning to stay in this house for a long time too, so it makes sense. Can't wait to hear more about how it goes.

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