erection of the greenhouse (and more planting)

What a hugely productive weekend! We finally got the greenhouse frame started.

Here all are of the pieces, organized and ready to go. Spot picked, and everything measured out. This area gets morning, afternoon and evening sun so it’s the perfect spot.

Let the erection begin. Hoops built and staked into the ground. This baby isn’t going anywhere! 

Side and top supports added. We’ll do the cross bars tomorrow, probably, but the cover doesn’t arrive until the 31st so we’ll have a few days at least before it’s fully done. And then we’ll still have doors to do but I’m not thinking about those until I have to.

Today was so sunny and warm it was work in t-shirt weather for me and shirtless working for the husb. Absolutely divine! It’s seriously like May in January here.

Several more trees got planted, as did the last of the rosemary. 

And then our amazing neighbor brough over even more trees because he had an overabundance. I freaking love him and his sweet and beautiful wife!! These are four Osage Orange trees (which will go along the driveway at our main entrance), a Bosc Pear, a Winecrisp Apple which I’m over the moon excited about, an Akane (one of the best early season apples in the US), a Winter Banana (another apple variety, very hardy and sweet), and a Puget Gold Apricot! I see many gluten-free pies and cobblers, preserves, and gallons of hard cider in our future. And quite possibly a side-of-the-road fruit stand for Finn to make some cash from.

Oh, and this Yuzu Ichandrin. It’s a citrus tree, prized in Japan for flavoring, juice and preserves. This variety bears abundant, easy-to-peel, 3″ diameter fruit with tasty, lemon-lime flavor. Yuzu is reportedly hardy to 0°F so grows quite well here we’re told. Even the leaves are tasty, fyi. The thorns on it are crazy beautiful! (I love thorny trees.) 

Osage Orange trees are also quite thorny and resemresemble hawthorn seedlings in their youth. Apparently they lose their thorns, but I love them anyway. I’m planting these alternated with black hawthorn trees for a beautiful hedge along the front entrance, as mentioned (the husb thinks they’re too big, but I still want to put at least two there). Osage Orange is dioecious, forming male and female flowers on separate trees, which I didn’t know, but what I do know is that the wood is amazing! It’s strong and flexible and perfect for making bows (which is a one of Paul’s passions), and is a phenomenally gorgeous natural dye (one of my passions). The seeds are edible and taste like sunflower seeds (but don’t eat the fruit — it’s apparently quite gross).

Most of my day was of this view… digging, digging, digging…. It was great!

I love the balance we already have going on here with fruit and berries ready for harvest during each season of the year.

We also received the gift of three tea bush seeds! This type is Camellia Sinensis and produces oolong, black, green and white teas. They’ll be started in pots this week and available for delectable sipping in two to three years. Come on over for a cuppa!

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trails, a big window and a tiny orchard

We’ve been so carefree lately, enjoying the winter and slowing down. Hardly anything has progressed in the cabin and we’re totally okay with that. Winter is the time of quiet, relaxing and rejuvenation, and we’re growing quite adept at it.

We’ve spent a ton of time walking the trails we knew of…

…and discovering or creating new ones that didn’t previously exist to us.

We’ve spent a lot of time at the creek, in the forest and just wandering whilst planning our far-in-the-future cob guest houses, our bigger personal tiny cob house with rocket stove, the retreat meeting/community yurt, our complex of tree houses and other fun things (like a dock with floating platforms for meditation and watery naps).

We’ve also gotten a bit of work done too. A little bit at least. The texturing of the walls in the bathroom is done and looks freaking amazing (thanks to my freaking amazing husband), and are ready to prime and paint as soon as the last bits dry. We’ve been waiting a week for that, but we’re used to waiting. This is a bad photo so I’ll take another after we paint. Excited!

The rotten window frame was worse than we thought but was a much quicker process to fix than anticipated. The first photo is looking under the window to the front patio, through the missing wall. You just never know what can arise from removing bits of load bearing walls but again, awesome husband banged it out quickly and flawlessly. I think we’re doing the next one tomorrow. Or the day after. 

Our tree order was delivered today. Hello instant mini-orchard!! We got 3 honeycrisp, 3 granny smith and a liberty apple, two kinds of plums, a couple of pear varieties, two types of cherries, two kinds of nectarines and an almond tree for the guys. Lots of impending yummies! 

Most are potted trees so we have time to plant them, but six were bare root so that was our today and will also be our tomorrow project. More than likely, I’ll dig and plant while the husband remodels and repairs.

Here is a granny smith, right on the hill that used to be covered in scotch broom.

And here is a honeycrisp right up the hill from granny. They’re great companions, you know. Honeycrisps aren’t self-fertile so need a pollination partner, so granny to the rescue. They’re two of my all time favorites so definitely a perfect pairing in my eyes.

We added a nice rock border with the stones we dug up (this hill is pretty rocky in places), and I think it looks awesome! I’m sure I’ll have to enlarge it eventually but for now it’s perfect. I’ll be planting lavender, sage, rosemary and other aromatics on the hill to keep the deer away from the baby leaves and eventual fruit. They hate walking through “smelly plants” because it messes with their ability to scent preditors. Plus lavender et al are so much more lovely to look at than fencing. ♡

Tomorrow’s planting will be the four remaining bare root apples, and the almond which will go near the walnut that we started from a nut from the hundred year old tree at our old house. The rest will go near the existing gravenstein apple and two bartlet pears, making it a true little orchard. Next year we’ll add three meyer lemons, a couple of miniature kiwis (yep, they grow here), a hazel nut tree and then we’ll move back into expanding our berry varieties. Baby steps. (The picture above is a cherry tree budding at night.)

We need to get motivated and creative to get the greenhouse built within the next couple/few weeks. My dream greenhouse is $8k so totally not happening (it’s glass and not practical and honestly nothing I’d actually ever buy, don’t worry). We don’t need anything fancy but will hopefully have a little something put together for our veggie starts by mid-February at the very very latest. In the meantime, our garlic is growing like crazy! The picture above looks like a small piece of grass but it’s about a 4″ garlic top.

This is our new/current favorite place to relax after rock and crystal hunting. It’s so peaceful and lovely to watch the trees reflect upon the water, right across from the waterfalls. I don’t think this part of the creek even exists in summer. Such a treat! (As is the steelhead our neighbor caught, smoked and shared with us from just below this area.) As always, there’s so much to love and discover around here. 

a few edibles and medincinals

We’re still getting to know the land and discovering more of her wonders but we’ve learned that there is a lot more already growing here than we realized. 

We had a hawthorn tree at our old house and I was so sad to leave it. I planted it just over ten years ago and it was easily ten feet tall. It was a different type as this, with black berries (black hawthorn or douglas hawthorn) instead of red like we have here (common hawthorn, thorn apple or may tree). The berries are good (though you don’t want to eat too many) and are amazing for the heart. They’ve been used to treat heart disease for centuries. We found some berries from our black Hawthorne on the hood of our car the other day so we are going to have an abundance of both. We probably already have at least two dozen hawthorn trees here.

We also discovered what I thought were four wooly lamb’s ear plants but it’s actually thirty-eight!! They aren’t big, but they’re lovely. Lamb’s ear has been used to treat wounds both because it absorbs blood and because it has antibiotic and antifungal properties. Awesome! We don’t need to buy bandaids anymore. 

We have an abundance of blackberries. Three or four different cultivars at least. Fat juicy sweet berries, compact tart berries, etc. Yum! I’m going to make an abundance of blackberry jam and preserve next year! And cobbler. And omgosh, blackberry syrup!! We have about a half dozen maple trees or so (we’re going to walk the land and catalog all of the plants and trees… seriously).

As previously mentioned we have an abundantly productive gravenstein apple. A fresh apple a day. Pie. Dried apples. Cider!

I discovered a second apple tree on Monday (which ended up being a no cabin work day*)! I’m not sure what kind yet, other than red… It’s buried behind a serious thicket of scotchbroom, dead queen ann’s lace and miscellaneous vines. We’re unburying her. Apple butter. Applesauce. More (hard) cider!

I already mentioned the two bartlett pear trees. We’ve only ever had asian pears so this is a real treat (though by the time we got here there were only two pears left). I’m not a fan of canned food, but I’m going can my arse off anyway so we have a nice winter stock every year and goodies to share with the neighbors. 

This lemon balm needs love. And to be moved because it’s in the middle of a garden walkway that needs to be mowed. Oops. I love it tea though and will revive it, plus plant a few more here and there.

We also have plantain (but no comfrey!?), horsetail, a possible black currant (I’ll get back to you on that), wild carrot, obviously, four hundred billion acorns (which I’ve never tried yet), and…. I’ll just do another similar post part two soon to fill you in on the rest. We can gloss over poison oak, ivy and sumac, and stinging nettle. Actually, I love stinging nettle.

Does anyone know what this is? Our realtor said it was lobelia but it’s not.

*to clarify, a “no cabin work day” does not mean a no work day. We started our new compost area which we’ll finish building soon, cleared a heaping pile of scotch broom away from the “new” apple, installed a new mailbox which included drilling all new holes and procuring new hatdware because it was for a post not a bar, visited with three neighbors, made too many phone calls for boring business stuff, did dishes, cooking… it seems like I’m mostly cooking and playing.