While we are busy trying to sell our home in the valley so we can permanently move up to our mountain property, we have been able to sneak up to the future homestead a few times these past few weeks to get a few chores done.
One important task to accomplish was feeding our fruit and nut trees. We stopped at an organic nursery on our way up to the future homestead and found a great organic fertilizer. It has kelp and worm compost and other wonderful things in it, providing not just the NPK that you find in chemical fertilizers, but lots of micronutrients such as boron and copper that are essential for tree health! We also raked away the last of the leaves and pine needles to prevent any pests from over-wintering in them, and widened the watering berm a bit because the drip line has expanded with the ever-growing trees. We did a drastic pruning this year, so the trees are actually shorter, but we need to make sure that the trees have a strong scaffolding shape for the future. Unfortunately we got a borer in the largest cherry tree last year, so we cut out as much of the damaged wood as possible and are keeping our fingers crossed that the tree will survive.
Another necessary chore was to put a rain cap on the outhouse vent. When using a composting toilet (which is essentially what an outhouse is), excessive moisture is the biggest enemy! Instead of human waste composting with minimal smell, excessively wet waste will stink to high heavens and become a putrid sludge instead of compost.
If you are eating right now, I apologize.
We found several caps at our local hardware box store and decided on the one in the picture above one. It appears that it will do a great job allowing for air flow, yet keep rain out of the vent pipe. Just what we need! Though we haven’t had much rain here in California this winter (we are in our fourth year of drought), the weather report said that quite a bit of rain was expected in the next couple of days, and they were right! We got the vent on just in time!
Speaking of the weather and the orchard trees: it has been just too warm up on our future homestead! Our almond tree is blooming and the pomegranate is starting to leaf out! This is way too early. We shouldn’t see this until at least the end of February and more often well into March. Unfortunately, this probably means we won’t get any almonds this year because a freeze or very heavy downpour of rain will either kill the blossoms or knock them off of the tree entirely. Oh well. The tree is only starting it’s third year in our orchard, so I didn’t expect much of a harvest anyway. Last year it had two almonds that fell off the tree mid-summer.
Last, but by no means least, is our new wood stove! Isn’t she cute? It’s a little tiny thing, but just perfect for cooking on! We decided to fire her up right away to burn off that new paint smell. Boy did it stink! Phew! According to the instructions that came with the wood stove, we will have to do this a few more times before the burned paint smell is gone, but that’s not a problem. So now, when our home in the valley is sold and we move up to our mountain property and start building our new homestead, we will have a great way to cook outside without having to use up a lot of expensive propane!
While bringing some wood over to the new wood stove to burn, I found this mushroom on one of the logs! Isn’t it beautiful? This wood has been piled up for a couple of years and there were several other types of fungi growing on the wood – slowly but surely decomposing the cellulose – adding nutrients to the organic layer of duff on the forest floor. Mother Nature at her best!
Thanks for coming over for a visit!
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