As with most weekends around here on the farm, I find myself planning ahead for the next season. We love keeping busy with projects and the beautiful summer weather has enabled us to spend much of our time outdoors. Everyone and everything is growing and thriving.
We are enjoying loads of veggies from the garden, the chickens and ducks are fat and happy, and the pond is the perfect temperature for an afternoon dip to cool off. Living "in the now" is pretty awesome but in the back of my mind I also know that my favorite season is knocking at the door. Fall!!
Fall has always been my favorite season but ever since moving to this property and opening the Bed and Breakfast it has become a whole new experience. The colors seem more vibrant, and the smells seem more abundant. When we first explored the property we identified several apple trees scattered around, most of them hundreds of years old and well developed.
We soon discovered that the apple trees (some planted intentionally and some not) had not been pruned or maintained in decades. The apples, while delicious, were fairly small. They were fine for snacking but peeling and coring small apples proved to be a pain for such little fruit. Excited to serve our guests super-local breakfast foods, we made up some apple butter and dried some for apple chips, which both turned out amazing. Through the process, we also resolved ourselves to have a better crop of apples next year.
This last winter, after the cool settled in and the apple trees went to sleep, I took out the pruning saw and went to work. With a well-pruned apple tree you should be able to toss a basketball through the tree horizontally without hitting any branches. Ours were (and still are) nowhere near that standard. Over the years they have become so tall and woven into each other that they may never reach that goal. But, by pruning out the dead branches, cutting off the suckers, and cutting out branches that were rubbing on eachother, we are already seeing larger fruit this year than last. The bees have been busily buzzing around the property and propogating the fertility of the trees. We'll tests the results this autumn and when winter comes, we will take out the pole saw again and just keep pruning!
So anyway, back to planning for the next season. Yesterday as we were working around the pond our dog Stout came running up with an apple in her mouth. (She has a favorite tree that she visits with the best fruit!) Once Stout starts visiting the apple trees we know ripe fruit isn't far behind. So this morning I am looking up new Apple breakfast recipes we can try, and find some really good ones for our guests. So not only will our fall guests get some great apple products served up but they can enjoy a walk around the property and pick their own fresh apples while enjoying the fall foliage and views of the mountains. If our guests are really lucky, Stout might even show you her secret tree.
-Luke & Carin McCarthy