I am definitely a country girl that loves to garden, quilt, preserve, hunt, and read. I love my family more than anything in the world. I live with my husband of fifty years. We have a son, daughter, granddaughter and grandson. We live on a 500+ acre farm in Virginia with about 75 cows & bulls, thirty chickens, and three dogs.
Spring is here according to the calendar but not quite for a gardener and farmer in our neck of the woods.
What a mess! I need to do some research on one end of this concord vine because it has had lots of new growth, huge leaves but no grapes. The other end just started producing two years ago and it’s a red grape. We have several arbors of grapes mostly blue and one small vine that wraps around our woodhouse that has wonderful white grapes every year. They’re not huge nor are the other grapes but they’re all super sweet. I also need to figure out how to get the grapes to grow bigger. All of them now are about the size of a marble. I want some about an inch around. Any suggestions?
I didn’t cut it back as far as I usually do because for some reason the last two years we got a huge amount of new growth and leaves but not many grapes. We’ll see if this thinning is better for grapes than years past.
I’ve been adding fruit and nut trees to our farm for several years and so far, they’re doing well. We’ve added apple, peach, plum and cherries. Last year I even got some almond and chestnut trees going. The cherries are tart and this year I want to find some sweet black heart cherries. Hoping to start some peach and hazelnut this spring. All of the trees need to be pruned but we’ll start with the plum and grapes.
I just don’t understand what is going on with these crazy weather patterns. Ice and rain one week and the next rain and 50* – 70*. It just doesn’t make any sense and it’ll be a challenge to get any fruit in 2023.
We are fortunate to have plenty of forest land on our farm and are able to cut all we need for the coming heating season. As you can tell from the photo we start early and usually right after deer season. We cut while the trees are dormant or dead. It’s faster to season the wood if it’s dormant and we try not to cut when it’s wet.
Last spring, we had lots of green trees that are wild cherry trees. These trees can be deadly to our cattle if they are leafed out. The wind can blow down a tree and when the leaves wilt and the cattle can get to them. They’ll eat every limb clean of the wilted leaves which are toxic. It makes for great firewood and last spring we found a large group of them along a pasture fence, so we decided to take them all down. There were plenty of oak and maple trees that will get plenty of light to grow tall and strong where the cherry wood was taken down.
We fall the trees on one day, cut it into 32-36 inch lengths the next day and haul to our splitting area at the house. When we get a large pile built up, we spend several hours splitting and stacking on old tin sheets. We try to keep it off the ground because the wood will draw moisture from the ground, and it will not dry.
A lot of the trees we cut will have small limbs about 4 inches around that do not have to be split. Six inch and up will be split at least in half, quartered and even smaller. It is easier to get in the stove at this width and it also dries much faster when split smaller.
We have a 1970 4×4 Dodge pickup with an 8-foot bed that we use to haul in the wood. It usually takes 15 – 20 loads to do for the winter and that’s stacked as high on the truck as the pickup can usually handle. As big as the truck is, it still gets around in the woods really good.
We’re late getting started this year and need to get some more fencing repaired before we start cutting again. I love going to the woods to bring in firewood. When you’re in the woods you’re back to nature in a really awesome way and we have together time doing it. Eddie cuts them down, limbs them up and I load them on the truck!!! Togetherness in so many ways!!!