Happy New Year folks!! Who's having collard greens and black eyed peas today for good luck in the new year? Here's an article if you don't know what I'm talking about.
I hope that the past year was a good one for you, and that you have the same sense of optimism and expectation that I do for the upcoming year. I have a feeling this is going to be a very, very good year!
I changed my mind about the fruit trees after I filled out the order form, wrote the check and sealed the envelope to St Lawrence Nurseries. Why did I change my mind? First - I'm allowed to change my mind any time I want, hee, hee. I got nobody I have to negotiate with. Second, I reviewed the handout from a workshop I attended last January, which caused me to change my mind. (In January I went to a NOFA conference in Rochester with a coworker (NOFA = Northeast Organic Farmer's Association). The main purpose for going to the conference was a full-day workshop on management intensive grazing, but there were lots of other sessions as well, crazy not to go to some of them!) The presenter has long-term fruit orchards and recommended some apple and pear varieties I just HAD to have.
First, he said that there is no such thing as an "all-purpose" variety of apple. He went through the strengths and weaknesses of a dozen of the most common varieties and at the end said what his favorite was, Esopus Spitzenberg (great flavor, amazing juice, great cider, best drying, best in group pie apple, reliable, even bearing tree). With a strong recommendation like that, who wouldn't want to get one of those?
He went through the same discussion with pears and recommended Seckel (sugar pear, he says, and I'm all about sugar!)
Needless to say, Miller Nurseries carries them both and St Lawrence Nurseries carries neither. Those are the only two nursery catalogs I have.
Sooo - I tore up the order form and check for St Lawrence, and ordered 2 pear trees, 2 apricot trees, and 1 apple tree from Miller. It was a bonus that I could place that order online, where St Lawrence requires a check in the mail. I think that's all the trees I'm going to get this year...
PLUS - on the way home from work on New Year's Eve, I stopped at the local homebrew supply store and got a small beginner's kit for making hard cider. I'll get the apple juice later this weekend and get rolling on checking that item off the list. Sweet ... and in a month, yummy!
Today the Heritage Spinners are having their weekly get-together. They meet on Friday afternoons, and since it's a holiday they're rightly expecting more people than usual (including me). For those that are newer to reading this blog - this guild meets at a coffee shop that's, like 4 miles from my house, which is amazing because there's nothing within 5 miles of my house. Downtown (my small town) is 7-8 miles away, depending on which way you go. This coffeeshop is a concrete-block building on a rural highway in the middle of nowhere. People come from Vermont, Massachusetts, everywhere, here to ... nowhere ... to spin and chat, every Friday. One lady I met works part-time, just so she can participate with this group on Friday afternoons. In June, I was having huge trouble spinning, as in I couldn't do it at all. I took my non-spinning self and my wheel over there (first time meeting these people) and in an hour, one of the ladies had me set straight.
I'm looking forward to taking my spinning wheel, some roving, and some chips and dip over there, participating in the show-and-tell, spinning a bit, and asking them if they know someone who has dairy goats that I can buy milk from. You see, I'm a task-oriented person, and learning how to make cheese is on my list. If it's goat cheese, that much the better!
You can see that the new year has barely started, and already I'm knocking those list items over like so many bowling pins! This progress is probably going to come to a screeching halt sooner rather than later, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts. This last year was difficult in some really humbling ways, but I've come through it feeling both empowered, and vulnerable. Maybe this is what getting older feels like. If so, I'll take it!
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