We were up at the Fedco Tree Sale last weekend, and while we did buy trees (70 trees, to be exact), this year, we selected trees for the homestead. This May is different. This May, we aren't thinking about our one small, intensively planted garden near the beach, we're thinking very long-term and on a much bigger scale. We're thinking about orchards, trees that will grow to 60 feet tall, trees and bushes that will provide decades of sap and fruit for our children and their children. We also selected plants that will add beauty and structure, and in a sense, our taste, our personality to a landscape that is newly ours.
And as this is our first summer with the homestead, we cannot hope to grow the huge vegetable garden Nana grew, while completing work on the farmhouse, let alone dividing our time between two homes. Still, the lure of seed potatoes and seed packets was too much to ignore. So, with Olivia leading the charge, we will have a much smaller vegetable patch up at the farmhouse, and one in our raised beds in our urban garden. Olivia has her heart set on growing squash and beets. Papa, too, was hoping to track down some Purple Viking seed potatoes, but had to come home with some other varieties, instead. Once a gardener, always a gardener, I suppose.
With all our various plants and seeds tracked down, we packed it all into the back of our van and drove the much shorter distance to the farm (than our usual two hours home - well, the beach home, home is getting to be more of a gray area, these days, and both have our hearts and minds).
The weekend was perfect for planting; dry and sunny and just cool enough to make all the digging bearable. One of the (many) challenging things about planning (and planting) at the homestead, is that there is so much that needs to be undone or repaired, that it makes it difficult to know where to begin. We have so much space there, but so much of it is overgrown and needing to be cleared, that knowing where to plant is difficult. One solution was to clear, at least a little bit, which is what Alex did, on day two of planting, by hand. All afternoon.
Farmer Olivia. She is so, so happy and joyful when she's at the homestead, planning and managing.
Alex chose to put his new apple (eight) and elderberry (twelve) seedlings on a little hill next to the old apple trees, but this required much clearing of bramble, first. Adam and Olivia were very helpful, and did a lot of the step and fetching needed for a project like this. After they found Papa's old bike (and later, a pack basket), this task became fun. And just like that, we have the small beginnings of an orchard.
In the lower garden, I did some clearing, too, and I was able to get in all the winterberry. Adam helped plant all the blueberry bushes and we also planted hostas, daylily, sweetspire and forsythia around the house. Farther afield, we planted willows, redwoods, larch and sugar maples. Adam is somewhat more reticent about the doings at the homestead, but maybe that is changing some, too, now that he has a hand in the actual transformation of the house and farm, itself. Whatever the change, it was wonderful to have him by my side most of the afternoon, digging holes and making decisions about where to place plants. Perhaps our Taurus is feeling the land beneath his feet?
Perhaps, as I mentioned, we're all feeling just a little more connected to the land and the place, making it ours, having planted roots in the soil.