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As I write this post, I am sitting by the fire in the log cabin next to my family’s farmstead in Northern California. I have been spending a lot of weekends here over the last few months working on the heirloom fruit orchard. It is cold and crisp outside (snow is on the way) and I am mapping out where we will be placing some new fruit trees in the orchard.
Oh, I know what you are thinking, “What? MORE fruit trees?”
Well, yes. More fruit trees. We are going to be making cider and numerous canned goods in the upcoming years and we needed a few things to balance out what we already have here. But I will give more details on all of that in an upcoming post.
In the meantime, I wanted to share several great resources I have been using for my mini-orchard adventure. [click to continue…]
If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I am managing the small orchard on our family farmstead in Northern California. Well as you can imagine, we’ve had literally hundreds of heirloom apples to deal with over the last few months. We have baked, canned, slow cooked (into apple sauce), dried, given away and eaten as many as we could.
So, I decided to “root cellar” the remaining apples from this season. Except that Oops!…I don’t have a root cellar. Ha!
No Cellar? No worries!
There are plenty of other places you can store apples. You just need to know a few simple tricks!
[click to continue…]
All of the fruit ripening at the Farmstead Project has made life a SWEET ride the last month or so. Every visit brings new discoveries in deliciousness and new challenges on how to preserve the bounty. (Thank goodness I am certified as a Master Food Preserver, or we would be in BIG trouble!)
Our daily breakfast while at the Farmstead.
I have been spending a lot of time traveling back and forth between my 1/10th of an acre city homestead here in Los Angeles and my family’s 14-acre Farmstead in Northern California. Managing both properties has been a joy and a challenge. Now that it is harvest season, both gardens are bursting with flavor, but it is hard to keep up and preserve that flavor for later.
Of course this can be a challenge no matter what size garden you have. So I thought I would share how I do some of my preserving in stages – especially with berries.
There are several areas of the farmstead that we are working on right now. But the area I find most fascinating is the orchard.
It sits right next to the main farmhouse with an ancient and rusted wire fence running along the perimeter. Brambles cover much of the fence line and the remnants of an old chicken coop can be found towards the back.
They must have kept the chickens close to the house so they could be monitored for predators. And it also made it an easy walk from the kitchen to collect the eggs. Oh yes!
I remember the first day I walked through this place in early spring and saw these ancient fruit trees.
With no leaves, you could see their bare bones – all gnarled and brawny. Somewhere in the past, several of them had been butchered. You could see the scars and wounds where errant pruning had all but killed many of them. [click to continue…]