I am constantly amazed by the amount of food we receive from the earth.
There is the garden, full of fruits and vegetables we’ve planted; but there is also the food that simply grows, totally independent from humans. On our little farm alone, we have found countless wild blackberry bushes, and an abundance of raspberry bushes.
Every time I go out to pick berries, there is more ripe fruit available to me than I can pick. Every time I am picking berries, I am amazed that the earth just simply offers this beautiful food for the taking.
And then there are the apple trees. When we moved on to this farm, there was already one mature apple tree here. Sadly, due to the early warm weather last winter, followed by a late frost, our tree didn’t fruit at all. This year, however, there are more apples than I think we’ll be able to harvest. We are looking forward to pressing cider, baking pies, and simply eating these wonderful gifts. We also planted five more apple trees along the driveway leading to our house. It will be several years before these bear fruit, but the knowledge that there will be a bounty for decades to come fills us with a special kind of joy that only food we grow ourselves can bring.
Our friend JB visited a few weeks back. While we were walking around the farm, he noticed grape vines among some of the wild bushes that dot our property. Having walked past that spot hundreds of times, we’d never noticed the vines that he saw immediately. With the help of our friend, Tess, we extracted them from the bushes one rainy day and built them a little trellis on which to grow. We think they may be scuppernongs, but we won’t be sure until the fruit starts to really take off. It could take a year or so, now that they have been freed from the confines of the undergrowth, for them to really thrive.
Just a little beyond the vines are two American Chestnut saplings. We planted these last year around the same time as the apple trees. We planted pear and apricot trees as well, but those are much closer to the main house. The Chestnut trees will someday reach up to 80 feet high, so that too is a story for a bit down the road.
When we started to dig the holes for the Chestnut trees, we did it way up by the chicken coop. As we read about the trees’ future height, we quickly realized that our beautiful view would someday be completely blocked by a beautiful tree if we continued with our plan. One of the holes was already dug by our friend Sean and we couldn’t put all that hard work to waste. Thinking fast, we ran out to the local feed store and found a lovely young peach tree that was already in its second year of growth. This year, we have got the start of our first, and only, peach from that little tree. We look forward to next year’s likely crop of juicy, delicious peaches!
Berries, apples, grapes, pears, apricots, peaches, and the list goes on. We are blessed beyond measure to have these gifts growing for us on this small homestead. We will treat the earth and these foods with unwavering respect and make the most of the gifts we are given.