Growing Raspberries Year 2

How wonderful it is to see everything coming alive in the spring. Last year in February we planted 4 bare root raspberry canes. Along the trellis you can see how much our 4 raspberry canes have grown.

Raspberry Canes - Year 2. #SecondYearRaspberries #RaspberryCanes
Raspberry Canes – Year 2

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Clearing Land the Hard Way

Back in January our son rented us a bulldozer to clear an area of the land. As exciting as it was to finally feel like we were making some progress we quickly realized this job was bigger than we had anticipated and we had already anticipated it to be quite difficult. After seeing just how many trees we had to clear after they were dozed over we had decided to try to get someone to come and chip it for us.

One of Four Large Piles of Trees
One of Four Large Piles of Trees

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Bulldozing a Patch of the Land

Since the purchase of our land in February 2013, we have accomplished a few small tasks. However, we have mostly been in a stalled holding pattern until we could get some of the land cleared. Our first priority is to clear off a tear drop shaped patch of land that is about 2+ acres. There is already a logging road cut that goes all the way around this tear drop. Our goal is to build a permanent deer fence around the tear drop and plant our fruit tree orchard leaving a space for our future garden.

Luckily, our oldest son is a diesel mechanic for caterpillar and is able to rent equipment at a discount. We had planned on clearing this section months ago, but it fell through. Since we are depending on the employee discount we are at the mercy of when the equipment is not in use by other “real” customers. Finally, this weekend he was able to rent a D4K Caterpillar bulldozer.

He started pushing at the “tip” of the tear drop. It was about 20 degrees Saturday morning and there was still some residual snow on the ground.

Bulldozing the Tear Drop Starting at the Tip
Bulldozing the Tear Drop Starting at the Tip

 

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Making Crab Apple Juice for Pectin

There are several varieties of crab apples. Most people do not use the ornamental crab apples because they are so small and tedious to use, but since we had them we thought we would not let them go to waste. Last year we tried making a batch of crab apple juice. I thought it was tasty, but everyone else thought it was just way too tart. Since it was not going to be a preferred beverage in our house, we decided to try making it unsweetened this year and store it to be used for its pectin for later use in making other jams and jellies where pectin needs to be added.
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How to Make Crab Apple Jelly | Canning Crab Apple Jelly

Jon and I are on vacation from work this week and decided to try our hand once again at making crab apple jelly. Last year was our first attempt at any jelly and it was a fail. Then we made it in November so we were worried that the crab apples were too far gone on the tree this year. There were more overly brown and rotten crab apples than in November, but still the tree was loaded down and Jon was able to pick about 1.5 gallons of crab apples from our ornamental crab apple tree.

There are tons of varieties of crab apples. Most people do not use the ornamental crab apples because they are so small and tedious to use, but they are perfectly edible and since we had them we thought we would put them to use.
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Peak at Our Garden Progress

It seems the weather in April in May has just been a bit bi-polar and our garden is not as far along as we had hoped. But we are finally having some consistent warm days and our garden is starting to improve. Here is a little bit of what’s going on in our garden.

Contender Green Beans, Carrots, Tomato Blooms, Top-Pick Crowder Peas, Leaf Lettuce, Potatoes Plant, and Oregano

Garden Fence/Grapevine Trellis

Being on only one acre of land, we are always looking for ways to maximize the usage of our space.  As we were needing a new fence around our expanded garden, we had a revelation that we could also use this as a trellis for our grapevines.

During the first year of our garden, we needed a fence to keep our family dog from digging up our plants.  She is wonderful dog. A little hyper and friendly as can be, but she loves to dig.

We made a trip to Lowe’s. Luckily its only a 10 minute drive since we seem to go there quite a lot.  We had the measurements of our garden but were unsure of just what type of fencing we were going to use.  After much discussion we settled on rabbit wire. Smaller holes on the bottom to keep out small critters and it also happened to be the cheapest.  We purchased some of the little green metal posts to support the fence.

The idea of this fence worked perfectly.  It went up fast, kept the dog out, and was easily moved when we expanded our garden for this coming season.

The Arbor with the first year grapevines.

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Crab Apple Jelly – Take 1

Wednesday I decided I was going to try my hand at making crab apple jelly. This recipe, Mary Wynnes Crabapple Jelly, looked simple enough. Surely, I could do this. Jon decided to help me after I got home from work that evening.
We had our son pick a 3 gallon bucket of crab apples before I got home. Jon had the day off and got started on the process of removing the stems before I arrived. Now, he understands what I meant by tedious.  When I arrived home there he was in the kitchen still removing stems.
Crab Apples
Crab Apples and Their Stubborn Stems!

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Winter Onions

My Mother-in-law gave us a bag of a dozen small onion bulbs.  She called them winter onions.  We did not have any luck with our onions this past year, but that is another story.  We had never heard of winter onions before, so we set out researching these things on the internet. What I read about these little gems make them seem to be rather amazing little plants.

As it turns out, the little bulbs she gave us are called bulbets. They grow out from the top of the little green onion stalks that grow up out of the ground from the onion bulb.  From the looks of the ones we were given, you get one to four bulbets in little bunches.
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