We went up to our future homestead this past weekend to work on our road, check on the fruit and nut trees, and enjoy a peaceful afternoon relaxing in the screened gazebo. It was a pleasant, cool weekend and true to the weather report we got a few sprinkles on Sunday.
The walnut trees are doing well. In the picture below you can see the 300 gallon water tank behind them that we picked up off of Craigslist for a very good price. The 300 gallon tank lasts about 3 weeks, which means each tree gets about 50 gallons of water each week. I suppose this is quite enough because they look really happy!
The gooseberries are forming quite well. I have never done anything with the gooseberries on our property because, unfortunately, we have the VERY prickly type. I have heard these can be made into jelly, I just haven’t tried yet. Besides, I have been informed that gooseberries are the intermediary of a fungal disease that attacks white fir trees, so we are actually considering pulling them all out. Perhaps I should try making a batch of jelly first to see if there would be a reason to keep them!
The blackberries are also starting to size up. Blackberry cobbler is a favorite of mine – warm out of the oven with a large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. YUM! This year I may try making blackberry leather or I may try my hand at canning some blackberry pie filling. Well……. maybe I should just live it up and try both!
I checked on our resident toad who has made a home under the apricot tree. Yup – he’s still there. Judging from the picture, he seems to have grown quite a bit as he now fills out the entire hole in the ground. Gee, no wonder I don’t see any insects around the orchard area! But wait – you don’t think he’s stuck in there now, do you?
Speaking of critters, we found this critter nest along the side of the new road we are cutting into the north side of our property. We haven’t seen anything coming or going, but whatever it is seems to have built itself a pretty cozy abode. We haven’t had the heart to tear it down yet. Actually…. well you see…….. it’s just that……..truthfully we are a little afraid of what may really be in there! A friend of ours suggested it’s just a wood rat’s nest. If it is, that’s a pretty big wood rat!
The mystery plant in the compost pile has revealed itself as a cantaloupe, which is very cool because my hubby and I adore cantaloupe. It has curly tendrils now and I know that I have thrown plenty of cantaloupe seeds on that pile in the past year. Actually, we like just about any kind of melon, so if it turns out to be a watermelon (it’s possible) we will be happy with that also. In our backyard garden at our home in the Sacramento Valley, we are growing two different kinds of melon (intentionally) that we have never tried before, both heirloom cantaloupe type melons, so I certainly hope they are good. The potatoes in the compost pile seem to be doing well also!
The peaches are getting bigger and look quite healthy – except for the holes in the leaves. I wonder what is causing that? We inspected the leaves and couldn’t find anything, so we are hoping that whatever creature caused these holes has gone away now. This is only the second year in the ground for this tree, so I’m not sure if we should leave all of the peaches on the tree. We may have to thin them again next week.
This is the purple thistle plant we have growing here and there around the future homestead. I have read somewhere that a certain purple thistle can be used instead of rennet to make cheese. I am going to have to do some more research into that, because if it is true, wouldn’t that be a great find! Another way I would not have to depend on a store, which is another step toward self-sufficiency!
I actually took quite a few more pictures, but I think this is enough for one post. However, thought I would leave you with a picture of the mess our friendly neighborhood squirrel left behind on part of our driveway! Actually, at the time I took this picture Mr. Squirrel was up in the tree eating another cone, with the pine cone bracts raining down on us below. We stared up at him – he stared down at us. Then, just out of the blue the squirrel dropped the remainder of his cone and nearly hit me on the head! I am quite certain he did that on purpose! 😉
Thanks for taking a tour with me on my future homestead!
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