Wednesday, July 25, 2012


This has been a strange year for homesteading.  First, the wacky warm winter weather that made for no maple syrup this spring.  Then the entire week of hard frosts at the exact time all the fruit trees were in full bloom.  And now the drought going on three months, or is it four?  April was unusually dry too.
All this, and I declare that this little place here is officially fruitless this year.  Of all the blossoms I had in my orchard this spring (see my post "Recent Sights" from April), I have not one single cherry, not one single peach, not one single apple, not one single pear.  Of all the blossoms on my blackberry canes, I have berries that dried to a crispy brown before turning from the green to red to black stage.

I was hoping those blackberries back in the woods, the cooler, shadier, moister woods, had fared better than my volunteer-turned-cultivated patch next to the garden, so last week I took a walk back to see what I could see.  What I could see were canes with abundant leaves, and very, very few berries.  What berries there were, were all hard and dry, looking like they would suffer the same fate as the ones by the garden: death before maturity.

Knowing that about 75% of Michigan's commercial fruit crop was wiped out by the same frosts that did in my own orchard blooms, I fear the price fruit will be this year.  If I want to eat fruit--and I do,  we need fruit for a healthy balanced diet--I will have to buy it.  Buy it in larger quantities than I have in the last five or six years, since there will be none grown at this little place here to start my cellar stash with. 

Knowing that I stopped buying peaches by the half-bushel for canning when they rose to $18 per 1/2 bu, I wince when I think of what this year's price will be.  Time to tighten down the budget again so I can squeeze out more money for the grocery portion.

Fruitless is not a desirable state to be.

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