The first folks I met in the mountains after I moved here, that weren’t neighbors or coworkers, were two young organic farmers and their very young, very shy daughter.  They are delightful people, that our eldest son had met at the farmer’s market.  I have enjoyed produce from their farm, had several lovely pot luck dinners at their house, and have been the fortunate recipient, thanks to my loving hubby, of a season of their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) flower share of 15 beautiful bouquets of locally grown flowers during the summer.  I am looking forward to this year’s share as well.  They have expanded their farm to growing apple trees, grafting five different varieties.  This was the first year they were selling the trees and we bought five, two Daveys and three Liberty.  Our orchard had been started over the past couple of years with three peach trees, two of which began producing the first fruits.  Last year we added two Asian pears.   Two of the peaches are above the garden and compost bins and define the upper west corner of the garden area.  The third peach and the Asian Pears are to the east of the garden in an area that has been previously plowed, but not used as part of vegetable or berry plots.
     Yesterday the new apples trees were delivered and as we are under a winter storm warning and I am leaving hubby and the pups mid week to go to Northern Virginia to help with childcare for our eldest grandson, today seemed to be the only day in over a week that I could get them planted.  Unfortunately, hubby blew out his knee two weeks ago and reinjured it when we moved and leveled the chicken coop, so he couldn’t help.  Bert, farmer friend, looked over my existing trees and showed me how to prune them and suggested getting the sod away from the trunks.  First thing this morning before we went to the Farmer’s Market, I pruned the peaches.
     The plan involved using the tractor bucket to strip off 4 x 4′ chunks of sod expanding the row that has the Asian Pears and a parallel row 20 feet to the east of them.  Next involved digging by hand, 5 new holes of substantial size, using a maddock and a shovel.  The compost pile was tapped to feed the new trees and also to top dress the older trees after hand stripping the sod from around them.  After the trees were planted, a layer of weed mat weighted down with rocks and more compost was placed around each tree until we can either get tree rings or straw to mulch them.
     The chilly, gray day ended with setting the posts for the electric fence, but I ran out of the electric wire, so I need to just hope that the deer don’t discover the new trees before I can get and string more.

     As soon as our beef stew is finished and eaten, I plan a long hot soak in the bathtub.

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