Saturday, April 10, 2010

Falling Together

Sometimes things go very slowly and all you can do is prepare and try to be ready when the inevitable big stuff happens - because sometimes things fall together very quickly.  This weekend feels like a "quickly" weekend.

I went to a workshop today, given by Lee Reich on how to prune stuff.  This guy wrote the book on pruning (or at least a book on pruning).  He taught us all we need to know - heading cuts, thinning cuts, equipment - and then showed us how it works on all his stuff.  And he's got a lot of stuff! Mountain laurel, hyacinth, pears, prunes, apples, kiwi, grapes, lilacs, and lowbush and highbush blueberries.

I'd been reading about pruning, and tried it a bit on some of my trees, but didn't feel like I understood it.  I wanted someone to give me a lesson, but so many other things seemed more important last year. 

This guy was exactly what the doctor ordered!  I'm ready to make some big cuts to rejuvenate my old apple trees, the old lilacs and a few of the highbush blueberries.  I'm going to do it tomorrow, after I go look at 2 baby goats, the possible future baby mommas of my dairy herd (or weed-eatin' herd)!  A commenter made a good point (sorry anon - I don't know your name!) about using purebred mommas for dairy, to make it easier to sell the kids.  Tomorrow's goats aren't pure (I'll skip the comment about original sin), but I am emailing with an owner of purebred Nigerian Dwarf  and Nubians who would have some available in the near future.  So either way, this summer is the summer I lose my goat-owning virginity.

This picture is what Lee's highbush blueberries look like, and this is what I gather they are supposed to look like.  They are about half the height of mine, and maybe 20% the size of mine at the ground.  I saw drawings in books, but I just couldn't get  a feel for the scale.  Now I know.  And now I have a feel for how much work it would take to get my 50+ huge blueberry bushes under control.  Not going to happen!  I'll focus on the apple trees and a few of the blueberry bushes this year.  But I am SO excited to have learned this!  Pruning is like a mystery revealed, and something I could actually do.  That and the goats,  - it's all falling together!


  1. Now when you come over, you can give me all kinds of advice on how to prune the monstrosities I have over here!!!

  2. Do you know about crop mobs?

    I learned about it first in this article in the NYT:

    Seems to me you've got several tasks that could use more hands than two. An opportunity for people to get fresh air, exercise with a purpose, and new skills. You could sweeten the deal with an invite back during blueberry season.

    Or if they've helped you move dirt, you could offer them a selection of veggies during peak season.

  3. I hope to get some Nigerian Dwarf goats this year too(or by next spring for sure)! They're sweet little animals. I agree with anonymous about the purebreeds. I think they're worth the extra cash, as long as they have the characteristics you're hoping for. I hope all your plans work out for you. It will be so much fun watching things develop, and learning along with you! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I remember a 'gift' of some I can't spell that today, check with me tomorrow!! anyway, they had been too close to the salted sidewalk and horrible dead spots. I took them home and planted them toward the back of the house, where they weren't too visible and chopped half of the plant WAAAYY back to nothing. They started growing great. The next year I cut the other half mostly off and by the 3rd year, they were the best shrubs! Good luck. Often we do much better with discipline and restrictions.

  5. Uh oh Melanie - what monstrosities? Sounds like it's whatever survived the winter!

    nagoonberry - I am thinking up ways I can get more life up here in the hills. Spoke with some permaculture folks about exchanging work days at our various places. Invited the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism - I'm beginning to play a bit with them) to use my place for archery practice. Something like crop mobbing may be possible. Unfortunately I'm about 15 minutes farther out than most people like. That's what wilderness is, folks!

    Hey Patty - welcome! now that I see your blog, I'll be following along with you as well!

    Karen Sue - I love the thought that we often do much better with discipline and restrictions! It really is true.