We’ve lived on our beautiful farm for about 10 years. We grow our own veggies and I spend most of mid-summer through fall canning and freezing fresh, delicious, hormone- and pesticide-free food for our long winters. We raise our own chickens for eggs and meat, because no chicken should have breasts as huge as those they sell in grocery stores. I mean, I know they’re raised for purposeful slaughter (which is bad enough for them), but how on earth could a chicken with two breasts the size of a grown man’s hand stay upright?
Anyway. Side rant. lol
We also hunt deer in order to have lean, red, hormone-free red meat in our freezer for the year. We fish in ponds we know aren’t contaminated. We do all these things so we know what’s going into our children’s bodies. Even when it says organic at the store, the FDA has some pretty relaxed laws about what makes a food organic, so I’d rather trust my own garden.
But what do we do about fruit? Well, in the past we have relied on our friends and neighbors to provide us with fresh, farm-grown fruit. My uncle has plum trees he lets me raid, my mama has blueberry bushes (thank goodness because we have tried many times and can never get our soil right for growing them), and several friends and neighbors have apple or pear trees they share. We have a persimmon grove that produces way too much for us every year, so our neighbors and family come to us for persimmons.
But do we want to rely on other people for our fruit? Why no, no we don’t. Although it is fun to trade things out with the neighbors and a good way to relate to the Littles how general stores worked in the past, we want fruit of our own. And yes, we did plant fruit trees, all along our drive and throughout the yard. It’s just that it takes several years for fruit trees to… well… fruit. Our grapes and blackberries and raspberries have been providing for a couple years now, but we want apples and pears and peaches, oh my.
Guess what this year is? The year of the fruit. And my Littles are so happy.
Here’s what we have going:
Our grapes have been made into jelly for a couple years now, but here’s proof that these plants are Thriving! And our adorable miniature donkey in the background. He’s like another dog. Definite pet.
Our pear tree has had 2-6 fruits on it in the last 2 years, but this year she is Loaded. Yeah yeah. I can’t wait.
Our 8 apple trees are covered in fruit–I see pie filling, apple butter, and maybe even some cider in my future!
Peaches! This is the first year this tree has fruited period, and there are plenty of peaches for cobbler and compote.
Now, I have to admit, the birds have already eaten more than half of my baby cranberries. I need to get some netting. But I love birds, and they get hungry, too.
The farm provides so many learning opportunities for the Littles, and a fruit year will give us many more. I wonder if the Littles will sit outside all day starting in August and scare the crows away from the trees. Hmm. Probably not. So they’ll have to learn along with me the best way to make the animals leave us some of this amazing stuff to harvest for ourselves.
Mostly, though, I’m excited to let the boys eat fruit we grew ourselves from baby trees. Knowing there is nothing dangerous in it pleases Mama, but I’m betting crunching into that first fresh pear will be their favorite part.