Sunday, April 19, 2015

Getting the Orchard Underway

A great weekend here on the Hoosier Country Homestead!  Friday evening was warm and sunny, and I had some thoughts about getting a boat load of garden stuff done after I got home from the 'day job' and before sunset.  It turned out that De and I both decided it was also a great evening for a date night, so we picked out a somewhat upscale restaurant and made an evening of it.  We did do some internet research on apple trees together when we got home, so we counted that as productive time in cultivating both our marriage and our homestead.

Saturday morning was the usual list of weekend chores in the coop and yard, along with a bit of shopping on my part.  Saturday afternoon, however....

I've mentioned before that this year's big homestead projects are fruit trees, berry bushes, and getting the boatload of unfinished projects from previous years done. We'd picked out a place for our fruit trees some time ago, with one little fly in the ointment:  There was a non-fruit tree growing right where our new orchard was going to go.
I believe it thought it was a Black Locust.  I simply identified it as "in the way".
After only a little fiddling around I managed to get my chainsaw started.  It was time to clear the way for those fruit trees.

This tree really didn't get the "love" it needed when it went in, and had been allowed to fork six ways from Sunday, which obviously made the job harder.  What made it even more challenging is that Mark has been sick to some degree most of the winter (working on 8th round of antibiotics and 5th round of steroids now) and has gotten woefully out of shape.

Getting a start on the first bit of it.
I decided, since I had tree parts poking out everywhere, to take it down a bit at a time, hoping to get it all to eventually fall to my front and right side from where I am working in the picture above.

After lopping off some branches to get in where I wanted, the chickens and one of De's fingers jumped in to help.
Bingo!  First part fell just where I wanted!

By the time I got this far, the wind was picking up, and I was getting whooped.
Part way through, I realized three things:  1) I was in far worse shape than I had considered myself to be, 2) the tree was actually a bit shorter than I thought which meant the house, wellhead, and fence were safe, and 3) I was more than willing to sacrifice style points for just getting the thing on the ground.  This is supposed to be the easy part!

As is often the case, just when I thought I was near to getting done, a complication arises.  Off pops the chain.  It's not a big job to get it back in place, but I was ready to be done.

Don't forget Mark, the front side of that saw is hot!

With the saw back in shape and branches all over, it was becoming a contest of wills.  The wind was picking up even more and even though I wasn't at much risk of falling the rest of it on any of the homestead infrastructure, I was still kind of keen on keeping it off the homesteader.

Getting down toward the end!

Style points: Zilcho.  Manliness points: Maybe 3 out of 10.  Safety points: Probably 8 out of 10.  Just getting the job done:  Nailed it!

I still have to work it up and get it out of the way, but the first step to getting the homestead orchard in is underway!

Col. 1:9-12,



  1. You scored big points doing a date night versus working in the yard. Smart man!

    And I love your chicken helpers. The photo made me laugh!

    1. Sue - The date night was good for both of us! The work will always be there.

      I couldn't believe the chickens were willing to come anywhere near that loud saw. They soon lost interest and wandered away, so I didn't have to shoo them off. Definitely didn't want to drop some part of the tree on the birds.

  2. Mom's finger made me laugh way more than it probably should have. Can't wait for fruit trees!

    1. I've located a place to buy the trees, so I think we're on our way!

  3. Isn't it funny (okay, not so much) how what looks to be a relatively simple little job, turns into waaaay more than we ever dream it will be? I think you did really well considering the whooping your physical body has taken in the last several months. So many unused muscles get used when using a chainsaw! And then the clean-up from such a job takes as much, if not more, than the sawing did.

    Glad to hear you two went out for a nice dinner and then spent some quality time together researching apple trees! We've been looking at some new fruit trees, too, as we have room to add some more and having your own homegrown fruit . . . pretty high on the luxury scale if you ask me!

    1. I felt pretty much every one of those unused muscles, in turn, over the next three days! All in all, it did feel good just get out and do. I still have the clean-up to do, but am kind of looking forward to do it. We're looking forward to getting a start on the orchard, too. Good stuff!

      We do try and take time for date nights a bit more often now that we're empty nesters. Its a bit easier without kid's school and church activities to work around.

  4. Cutting down trees is always a task to take seriously! Very good idea to keep it off the homesteader. :) Do take care of yourself! I know De et al would appreciate it.

    1. Growing up we heated exclusively with wood and coal, so 40 years ago I was pretty proficient at getting wood on the ground and worked up. These days, not so much. De was there to make sure I didn't overdo. (I do have a habit of doing that.) I kind of pushed the limit considering the low level of activity I've had over the last few months, but it felt soooo good to get out and be productive.