Andrew's Blog


A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
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My Apologies

We’ll it’s been some time since my last blog post. The main reason:

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Also, I forgot my password and for some reason was having some real struggles getting it re-set. But here we are – back again!

Baby isn’t going to keep me in the corner. We’ve had a lot happen over the past few months. We’ve had new arrivals to the farm, we’ve lost some friends, and everyday new experiences are greeting us.

Today, the sheep were sheared. Yes, it’s late, I know. But shearers are few and far between. Today, I asked my old thyme man about it and he said it’s a dying breed. Of course, Don instantly suggested I learn the trade.

Be assured, our blog is back up and running. And now it’s I who is running, the escape the lightening as I feed the animals tonight.

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Autumn’s just arrived and I need to think about winter?

It seems like the leaves have just started changing this week. The colors are amazing, the pumpkins look great, and the temperature is just lovely. And soon it’ll all be gone. These days, it’s almost like we can’t live in the moment. We prepare for what’s coming and then, once it arrives, we immediately start getting ready for the next big thing. Our celebrations are premature, anticipatory, and always forward-looking. Christmas decorations are already for sale (and have been for a while). And we haven’t even celebrated Halloween yet.

I’m taking a stand this season. No Christmas decorations are going up until after Thanksgiving. I will live in the moment. I will respect autumn, knowing full well that winter will be here soon enough. Although, I really should get out there and gather up that bittersweet. It’ll look great in the holiday wreaths!

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Cider Season

It’s cider season – and this year, I’ve attempted to make my own. Below are some hard-learned lessons about home cider production.

1) To make more than a thimble full of cider, you need a lot of apples. A lot.

2) You have to core (and if you feel like it, peel) all those apples.

3) Again, to make more than a cup of cider, you need a lot of apples. Like a lot.

4) You need to strain your apple mush through cheesecloth (or strainer should you choose). That’s work. And energy.

5) A gallon of cider in the store is about $4.

6) To make more than a gallon of cider, you’ll need a massive amount of apples. Like an orchard or something.

7) Our cider will become hard cider – you need yeast for that. And someone that knows what they’re doing.

My intention is not to scare you away from making your own cider. More importantly, I just want to make sure you have enough apples; and know what you’re getting yourself involved with. There’s a lot of peeling, pulsing, squeezing and straining. In the end, maybe you should just grab that gallon jug at the store and spend your time carving pumpkins and celebrating the season with friends and family.

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It’s Tree Planting (and planning) Season

It’s that time of year again, time get some new trees in the ground. Not too hot, not too cold, the air, soil and environment are just right for planting. At Orchard House, we try and plant 4 or 5 new trees a year. Not only is it good for the environment, but it helps to reclaim a little of this farmland back for Mother Nature.

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This year we put in some poplars (that were destroyed by the mowing company – 1 remains), replaced an apple tree, put in a crabapple and a redbud (one of my favorites) and today planted 2 more. The real difficulty, as I’m not a great planner, is to think longterm with these trees – how tall will the grow, what’s their width, what do I want to do in the area around them? So I’ve tried as best I can.

But even the best planned intentions can run amok. Last year I planted some wonderful heirloom apple trees, and a few weeks ago one of the goats escaped, tried to reach the leaves growing on one, and snapped it in half. Destroyed. Hateful. Re-planted something new. My gardening mantra: If at first you don’t succeed, Lowes is just down the street.

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Nothing is unique.

Nothing is unique. Here I thought I had a vintage, pretty animal trailer and then…Facebook. It tells me there is another. Living happily on the east coast. It warms my heart though, to know that a twin exists outside of my realm. In a world were it’s hauling livestock and doing good for a farm. And uniqueness is over-rated. (Thanks to our lovely friend Sally Hamidi for sharing the photo with us.)

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