The home place has been popping. Santa Rosa plums were productive this year and we were able to share this first crop in spite of early losses to strong spring winds and late losses to the rabbits that live across the fence. After a heavy pruning and culling to cut down on the yield both the Anna and Golden Dorsett apples have all been harvested; eaten, dried, given away or frozen as pre-made pie filling. Mosquito net and Agro fabric cut down on losses to the birds this year for both apples and figs once we got our system down (a lesson from last year). New projects before next season – windbreaks for the west-facing plums, figure out some tree collars to thwart the rabbits, more fabric bags for the fig trees.
Now it’s about 100-degrees everyday with some threats of monsoon storms in metro Phoenix and you can sweat a quart just thinking of work. We are still trying to get at least something done outside everyday. Some days it’s just harvesting the remaining figs or watering but we’ve also cleared the raised beds for some soil updates, started setting up water swales, painted the house and put on some extra rain brakes to stop storm leaking when the monsoon really gets going. We even started laying out one of the newer, experimental beds but that’s a story for another day.
With almost 20 fruit trees/bushes, various shade trees and landscape with plants for the hummingbirds and the first rain capture set-up we were teetering at the limit of what we could really manage when it was just Honey-dear by himself full-time. Now it seems there’s still so much to do and there are two of us. The plan for now, keep a running to-do list, short and long-term, set up some time to look at dwarf goats from a local breeder and just keep moving in the right direction until it cools off a bit.
Homestead, Hobby Farm, or Honey, Have you lost your mind?! Homesteading has both a legal meaning and unique individual meanings for people who use the term. There is a wonderful collection of thoughts about homesteading at “The Easy Homestead”. Romantic, idyllic, wonderful! And I have my own dream too. Author Willy Newlands (Hobby Farm, Souvenir Press, London, 2006), also sums it up pretty well, his definition “would be ‘a smallholder [crofter] tries to make money on his land, a hobby farmer spends money on his land.’ Mainly, it’s a matter of attitude. The nouveau farmer is, above all, enjoying himself.”
When I retired my daughter admonished me not to ‘break’ her dad. I can tell when he’s getting to the end of his rope for the day or thinks I’m just a bit too far around the bend on a work plan when he looks at me and says “So that’s how it’s gonna be, eh?” My response is usually just yes and we laugh.
It’s been about six weeks since I left work, I don’t have a daily/weekly rhythm down yet but I still feel like it’s a real welcome home. Even with all the hard work still waiting in the wings we are still laughing.