Took stock of the orchard and found that 27 trees had died or were otherwise missing. Decided to replenish, a much bigger job than I anticipated. Dug the holes with an auger on a bobcat loader, that ended up being the easy part.
Bought the trees from Stark Bros. nursery online, a mixture of various apple types in a semi-dwarf size. Planting them ended up being back-breaking work over about 3 weekends. Then I put up a 5′ diameter fence around all 27 trees to keep the deer out until they grow large enough. Way more then I had bargained for, but it should be plentiful in a few years. We now have an orchard that has 55 trees, mostly apple, some peach, pears, and cherry though.
Digging the holes, the easy part
Last tree in, note the rock pile
Uncle Sonny, my Mom, and brother Mark help put up the final cages
The melting snow has really saturated the ground. In the three years that I’ve owned it I’ve never seen the ground so saturated. The ponds are all handling it ok, even though none of them were constructed with proper drain pipes and even more problematic overflows. The picture below is the pond over by the barn. The overflow is the only way for the water to escape, and it isn’t really low enough because you can see that there is water topping part of the dam…not good.
Went down 7 days after the big snow, no one had yet traveled up the driveway as you can see in the shot below. I originally thought that most of it would have melted on the gravel driveway and the minivan could have made it. Tom Bledsoe suggested I borrow his 4wd pickup and drive up and down a few times before taking the van over. Luckily I took his advice as the minivan would have never made it back up the hill to get out. After driving over it twice in the truck I had a very hard time getting back up the big hill in 2wd.
A foot of snow that had compacted but not been driven on since it fell a week ago
Third one! We shot and blew up lots of things, might be why the deer were a little scarce later on. We shot pistols, skeet, and long range rifle shots, which only one person actually hit the target.
Check out the video of Patrick performing the annual pumpkin explosion:
We all got into position by 4pm, very exciting, the ladies were monitoring our texts from the warmth of the kitchen, busy making rum cider. My nephew got a few shots off but missed, Michael came very close to bagging one, and when I was driving the UTV to pickup the hunting parties I ended up running over a small deer, but even it got away. Evidently the ladies were having quite the laugh inside as they received the updates via text messages.