Tag Archives: pruning

The Work That Never Ends

The pandemic that we are witnessing is a very real reason to stay home. We stay home most all the time anyway so it hasn’t hindered our life much at all. You see, there is ALWAYS something to do on the farm that keeps us busy during the day and at night we’re usually too tired to much anyway!!

Wintertime keeps us busy with feeding and caring for the cattle and small animals on the farm. Everyday finds us hauling firewood out of the woodhouse into the house or to the front porch when there’s pending bad weather. It’s also a time for restocking the wood stores for the next winter and checking the fencing for downed trees that have broken the fences that keep the cattle where they belong.

Some winters are much worse than others.

This winter we are dealing with a lot of ice and over the last two months we’ve had a total of about 12 inches of snow. We’ve expected to lose power but only had one outage early that was fixed and back on within about five hours, we were asleep during most of that.

Our next big issue is calving time which begins again on March 18th through May. We’re hoping that the bad winds, ice, below freezing temps and snow are over for the most part then or we could end up with a couple orphans like these to take care of.

This was George and Prissy born in 2015, adorable and saved during a winter ice storm on the same night.

A few more work projects coming up are fruit tree pruning, making maple syrup and opening the greenhouse (unheated), building new fence and repairing old, restocking chicks, introducing more ducks and maybe turkeys to the farm, and fixing roads that have developed deep ruts and gulleys wherever the tractor tires dig in. This is all before we start the garden!!! There are no lazy days or boredom when you’re a farmer!!!

PRUNING SEASON

We only have about two 1/2 months left to prune all of the fruit trees and vines.  We’ve lost four of our heritage apples that have been on the farm for years due the wind and ice blasts.  We have a lot of broken limbs in the maple trees which may hinder the amount of sap we will be able to collect in February and March.  About a month ago we had a day that the wind had laid so I started chopping away at the front grape arbor.

In 2018 I covered the base of each vine with litter from the chickens and rabbits and I can’t begin to describe the growth they had but now I know they have superb root systems.

 

A tangled mess but their second season of growth.

 

There wasn’t a lot of fruit the second year but there were a few on each vine.  I’m hoping for a better, bigger crop in 2019.  We need to add more support to the arbor and have the posts ready to go in the ground and the braces to hold everything up.  We’re thinking about buying to cattle fence panels to go on top of the arbor before the leafing begins and I’ll watch them early to place and tie up the runners so they cover the entire top of the arbor.  This will make it easier to cover the fruit before the birds get the ripe fruit. Of course, the bluebird houses will have to be moved to new locations soon.

Last year the Purple Martens got the houses before the Bluebirds did.

I think they look a lot better now that they are pruned.

 

I see lots of grape juice and jellies in the future.

While pruning the grape vines I also decided to prune our new Green Gage Plum trees.  Our daughter bought these for me two years ago and they had a couple blooms in 2018 so I’m hoping there will be a lot in 2019 and that the frost doesn’t get them.  I’ll add a few more strawberries and blueberries this year and hopefully we’ll add some new apple grafts too when I get some root-stock in a good spot where the rabbits and deer can’t destroy them.

Can you tell I’m looking forward to spring??

Last Day of January 2018

Can you believe it’s the last day of January?? I spent the morning do normal indoor chores like, sweeping and mopping the floors, making the bed, two loads of laundry and other minor jobs after having breakfast with the Mister!  I got pork tenderloin out of the freezer for dinner and then saw that the temperature had risen to 40* and no wind.  OUTSIDE I GO!!!

We’re still in for some cold weather and hopefully some snow because our pastures, yard, hayfields, just the earth in general needs a good soak before spring really appears!  I knew I had some pruning to do on some fruit trees but the grapes needed it worst than the others.

A tangled mess of four vines that have been planted two years and I’m expecting big things from this year.

In order to get those beautiful grapes they need to be pruned each year.  Grapes grown on new stems each year!

This end of the arbor holds grapes that we started from an old vine on the farm. They are blue, not real big but so sweet. The vines usually provide a lot of grapes!

I use some wonderful little hand pruners on all of the small vines, trees and my rose bushes.  It’s very important to sterilize them and I use just plain old rubbing alcohol.  It took about an hour but they’re all trimmed and now we wait!  While waiting we pray for no late frosts to kill them.

Hubby thinks I scalped them but from past experience I know I’ll have more grapes and if Mother Nature cooperates they’ll be bigger grapes.

They’re thinned of their old bearing branches and the only thing left to do is tighten the arbor lines that we made from plastic covered clothes line. It tends to stretch each year but is easy to tighten.

After I finished pruning the grapes I went around the garden and trimmed suckers and water sprouts off the green gage, peach, pear and blue plums.  The big job will be trimming the apple trees which seem to get less attention each year but I’m going to get what I can from the ground and hope for some help with the higher branches.

I am so ready to start growing something!!!