The Berry Patch

We have been working on getting an area in the orchard ready for berries for some time as we have had the equipment and manpower available.  Rick dug a deep, wide trench with John’s excavator when it was here while they were building our shed.  

It sat for a while until some strong volunteers showed up to help.

This summer, Rick, Brandon (Megan’s boyfriend) and our friend Caleb put a water line in the bottom of the trench.  As difficult as it is to dig around here with all the rocks you want to make good use of the holes you have.  

After the water line was in, the guys took out the big rocks and backfilled the trench by hand which was a LOT of work.  

After they took out all the big rocks there wasn’t enough dirt left to completely fill up the hole.  We got loads of gravel to build our road a few weeks ago, and got a couple of loads of native topsoil as well.  After we raked up the rest of the rocks – yes still more! – we were finally ready to fill the hole and plant the blueberries.   

Once again it was really nice to have our favorite neighbor Roger’s tractor. 

We have five different varieties of blueberries and one gooseberry.  Never had a gooseberry, but they grow well here in our acidic soil and it sounded interesting so why not?

 

The blueberries are in and we have about 2/3 of our bed left to plant raspberries and some other type of berry.  Maybe marionberries or loganberries – they grow well here too.

 Lots of berries grow wild around here.  I think these are blackberries, but to tell the truth I sometimes get all the different varieties confused.  We have salmonberries, thimbleberries, huckleberries, and I’m sure some others as well.

A few days after we planted the blueberries we dug up some raspberries at our friend’s house and transplanted them.

I also planted strawberries in one of the perennial beds we built.  We put down straw and chicken compost this fall so hopefully we will have a great crop of berries this summer. 

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Building a Road

We are working hard to prepare for the arrival of our cattle next month.  We needed a road to be able to drive back to the pasture without all the bumps, rocks and mud holes.  We actually started working on building a road last year.   There were a bunch of scrubby little pine trees right in the way.   

Rick pulled the pines out with John’s excavator.

After it sat for over a year – you don’t want to rush these things – we finally got the road bed smoothed up and ready for gravel. 

The gravel was delivered from the gravel pit just down the road from us.  We are not the only ones around here with lots of rocks.

Six loads of gravel later, we had enough to cover the road.  Rick smoothed the gravel out with our favorite neighbor Roger’s tractor.

Grizzly helped out by sitting right in the way in the middle of the new gravel.     

We also needed to fill in a few holes along the new roadway, so we got a couple of loads of topsoil delivered too.

Hopefully we have enough dirt to fill in our holes and also to fill in the area in the orchard where we plan to plant our berries.  The poor plants have been sitting there in the pots for over a year – even so, we did get berries from them last year!

So now the road is in and we are moving on to fencing the top pasture.  I have to say all this construction is a lot easier in Farmville – just click, click and it magically appears!  For those of you who don’t do Facebook, Farmville is a silly little game where you plant crops, raise livestock etc.  all with the click of your mouse – nothing like real life.

Puppies – The Saga Continues

Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while know that our dogs, Molly and Grizzly, had puppies in October.  

 

The puppies were quite a surprise – especially ten of them, but nevertheless adorable.

  

One of them, we called him #6 because he was the 6th one born, had a little birthmark on his head.

When we last saw the puppies at Christmas they were little 8 week old fluff balls who loved to be cuddled. These two, Cinnamon and #6 were adopted to their new family together.

   

The little ones had just started exploring outside, and Molly had finally let Grizzly close enough to play with them.  Cinnamon is enjoying getting to know Dad.

We found wonderful homes for all ten of the puppies and they were off on their new adventure with their new families.  One of the families who bought two of the puppies – Cinnamon and #6 – is our neighbor’s daughter.  They have recently moved back home for a while – so we get to visit with two of the puppies.     

#6 – now Jake and Cinnamon – now Leela have grown so much and are so big!  They are four months old now.  Their new owners are really spending a lot of time working with them and training them and they are doing really well.  Here Rick is trying to reinforce the training they have had.  

 

Jake is a big handsome dog now; just a little trace of his birthmark is still visible on the top of his head.  He has the very distinctive blue heeler markings.  He weighs 26 pounds now and is a very playful eager-to-please dog.

 

The little puppy I called Cinnamon is now Leela.  She is still a petite little thing – only 19 pounds now.

She has retained her red heeler color.  Grizzly’s father was a red heeler and the markings have passed on to her.  She is very smart and athletic and can outjump Jake.

They are good companions for each other and their owners.  They love to play and wrestle with each other which reminds me a lot of their parents.

It has been an unexpected surprise to get to see the puppies again and watch them grow up.

We are planning to get them together with Molly and Grizzly.  It will be interesting to see if they remember each other and what kind of interaction they have.