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Pottering in the Orchards

Is there anything better than a hot shower after a day spent working outside? Pure bliss, I say. It’s so good to be warm and cozy again after spending this winter day working in our orchards.

I started with a tiny harvest, our very first oranges. We honestly didn’t expect any harvest at all this year, so these five beauties are treasures indeed. They’re two different varieties, so Bear and I are going to have a taste-off tomorrow to see which one we like best.

Then I headed to the Big Orchard to check on all the cuttings I planted a few months ago. The poplars are amazingly tall and strong with good, deep roots. Our driveway is lined with poplars, but a few of them have been knocked over by fierce storms, so we planted about a dozen cuttings hoping a few would take so we could fill in the gaps. They ALL took! Now we have heaps of poplars to choose from, and will get to scatter them around the farm as well.

Then it was time to really knuckle down and work. I hauled load after load of rocks in a wheelbarrow, piling them near our fruit trees to create mini-versions of talus garland community, also known as stone mulch. It’s a brilliant idea for a dry, hot climate like ours. The rocks keep the ground cool and moist, and collect dew which trickles down to the tree roots. It’s a technique that’s been used for centuries, but we only started using it a few months ago. So far so good. The trees with rocks around them rarely need to be watered, but flourish just as well as their oft-watered counterparts.

After I got the rocks hauled and placed, Bear took a break from making a medieval shield to help me prune all three orchards. It is so great to see all the trees pruned, with plenty of space in and around the branches for light and air and optimal fruit production.

When that was done, he showed me how to use the pump spray and I mixed up the pest oil spray and made a good start in spraying all the trees before it got too dark. I will finish the rest tomorrow.

Although I’m a bit sore and tired tonight, I’m so happy to know our orchards are well on their way to becoming healthy, strong, and productive.

We also taste-tested our apple wine today – sweet and dry – and were delighted to find both of them delicious. We are excited to make it again in a couple of years with our own apples.

Do you have a favorite apple drink? xo

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Ken Powell - I’d love to try the apple wine, Krista 😉

Maureen - Your apple wine sounds wonderful. I’m sad to say I don’t have an apple drink but if I did, it would be your apple wine. 🙂

Nagi | RecipeTin Eats - I love reading about your life because moving to a farm (on the ocean…) is my dream. You just be so fit from moving all those rocks!! And your home grown produce….sigh. So jealous! 🙂

Tracy A. - There is nothing like a lovely shower after a good day of work! Your oranges are lovely, as are your poplars!

mlleparadis - gorgeous picks! wow, you had a couple hard days work there – i’m impressed! we’re having an argument about rocks here about tearing up lawns and replacing them with rocks. you’ve made a good case for them – did not realize about the dew factor.


Joanne (eats well with others) - So much hard work! You’ll have to update us on who wins the orange battle. 😛

Cathy - I don’t mind an apple cider. But I am also a fan of fresh apple juice. Sounds like you’ve been really productive Krista, apple wine sounds really good 🙂

budgetjan - I can imagine how lovely that shower felt after carting rocks all day. Your muscles will be aching. Rocks are a good mulch – they’re never going to disintegrate 🙂 I love straight apple juice, although I’d love to try your cider!

Anna Johnston - How rewarding to be able to sip away on your very own apple wine. What are you going to do with your oranges?

Tandy Sinclair - That type of sore is always good, when you have worked hard for it!

Jackie Smith - Love your tales of working in the orchard. We are hoping to have a lemon harvest, along with olives this fall when we return to our Stone House on the Hill. I must ask, where did you find those delightful boots you are wearing in photos? I need to get a pair before ‘harvest’ this year and those dull green/gray things look dreadful.. .I’d love to find something to brighten up my work ‘gear’. (And I plan to try that stone mulch!!!)

Hotly Spiced - Congrats on your apple wine. I wish I could pop in for a glass to give it a try! I do love poplars on country properties – they look so good lined up on either side of a driveway xx

MyCustardPie - My Mum makes us do taste tests with her home grown tomatoes! You obviously enjoy what you do – this post glows.

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