Pennsif’s Progress #574 – The apples are coming & my dog loves blackberries

The apples are coming, the apples are coming…

Finally our pruning work in the old orchard is paying off. This year’s apple crop looks like it is going to be a bumper one.

Our old orchard has suffered badly over recent years through goat attack, a domineering holly tree, too much chicken attention and a good dose of plain neglect.

Two years ago we started on a much needed programme of restorative pruning and clearance of competing and heavily shading competing trees.

We opened up the trees, brought down the height and generally got them in better shape.

This year the frosts stayed away at blossom time, and the sun and the rain came in the right amount at the right time.

It looks like we are going to be gifted with our biggest apple crop ever. And the plums and greengauges are making a good showing as well.

Not only is the old orchard going strong, the new fruit trees that we have been planting over the last 3 years have started coming online this summer as well. We have even had a few figs and peaches – not bad for a usually wild, wet and windy west Wales.

Just in time for a good old apple and blackberry pie, the blackberries are plumping up nicely with the recent rain.

And there comes the dog. I have discovered she loves blackberries. When I am picking blackberries she follows me along and will sit patiently at my side waiting for her share.

She does try to bite them off the bushes herself but the prickles make it difficult.

Anyone else got a blackberry loving dog?

Pennsif’s Progress #611 – Letting nature do its thing

I hadn’t visited the old orchard for two or severathree months now.

I moved the chickens from there to the new compound before Christmas.

We did some winter pruning in late February then I left it.

This old orchard has not been very productive for a more than a decade.

It was overcrowded, rather shaded, poorly situated, and suffered badly from a goat attack several years back when we were out one day.

We had rather abandoned it as fruit producing territory and been busily planting new fruit trees in more favourable locations around the homestead.

But there are still around 18 fruit trees in this old orchard – mainly apples but also a few plums, pears and greengages.

Two winters ago we began a program of restorative pruning. The big old holly tree that was blocking so much sunlight getting in was cut down to size.

Then we left this old orchard to its own devices.

This evening we happened to be walking with the puppy around the area and wow…

All the apple trees are heavily laden with fruit, there are greengages en masse, the plums look promising and only the pears have failed to prosper this year. But to compensate for the lack of pears we did find some blackcurrant bushes bursting with ripe and juicy blackcurrants.

Now we just dearly need some good rain to help swell up the fruits and we will have an orchard of true abundance.

The place looks abandoned and unkempt. I have not done my gardeners duty to keep it in good order.

But nature has done its job.

Nature is wonderful, nature is resilient, nature is what we need, nature is what we must respect.



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[ all images by @pennsif ]