We enjoyed a warm spell this past week, and the 60 degree days have been delightful for working outside. It's tricky, because although it's only January, it was easy to feel like spring had arrived. Things are starting to bloom around the yard much earlier than last year, and I spotted a few honeybees buzzing around the witch hazel flowers. I have to keep reminding myself of the Spring Equinox snow a couple years ago and that winter is not over yet.
What are you to do when presented with such a fine weekend? For us there was no question; demolition and fruit tree pruning. We really know how to have a good time around here. Don't get too jealous. In the background, you may notice our balcony is missing from this picture. We knew it was going to have to come down at some point when we bought the house, but a leak and some termite sightings were a powerful motivating force on this fine weekend. Corey and our contractor friend, Dan, spent Saturday on demolition, and it looks like it came down in the nick of time, because damage to the house went no farther in than the siding. Homeowner disaster averted. Now we are planning out our new back porch where I have big plans to sit and play the banjo in my rocking chair. Mostly this is my plan for my old age, but hopefully sooner than that if I can find some time!
After all the heavy pruning we did last year, the fruit trees were not nearly as involved of a project. In retrospect, I realized we were a little conservative on how much we cut them back, and still ended up with almost more fruit than we could process, so we really went for it this year. The fruit trees will thank us later.
Our three apples, two Asian pears, Italian plum and Espalier trees are all looking much tidier now and pruned back to a level where we can reach the fruit with our ladder for picking. The two cherries and one pear we planted last year seem to be putting on decent new growth, and now we just need to plan out what to plant this year. I am thinking of more cherries and heirloom cider apples.
It's a good feeling to have pruning done.
The very best part of these sunny days is taking a moment to sit back and appreciate all our hard work and progress around the homestead. I look around at all we have accomplished and couldn't be any more pleased. The balcony is torn off of our house and the fruit trees are cut back to their bare bones, but all I see when I look at them is beautiful possibility. I think it is important to note that the first part of the word "homesteading" is "home." In a society where less and less people put down roots anymore, where housing developments and business chains create a homogeneous landscape allowing a person to move from one dwelling to the next with little difference between them, I am grateful for this unique place that is constantly shaped and shaping me through hours of hard work. I am getting to know this parcel of land intimately and in doing so it becomes more and more my home. I can say with certainty that there is nowhere I'd rather be on a sunny day than right here, working side by side with my partner, and I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. Home.
I sit content.
“I exist as I am, that is enough,
I sit content.