Sorry for the delay on this overdue update! The orchard is in full bloom right now: full of beautiful white flowers, a sweet, subtle scent, and the constant hum of bees busy pollinating.
The water Luke is using is part of our new orchard water system. We have a small 12-volt diaphragm pump set up at a natural spring about 100 yards behind the orchard. It’s deep enough to pump 150 gallons of water into a big stock tank that we managed to get 15 feet up onto a platform in the trees. From there the water is a simple on-demand gravity feed to the pigs and new fruit trees. Sounds simple, but finding all the hoses, adapters, and fittings, then duct taping all the leaks was quite a time consuming project. Pictures of the set-up to come.
Back to the orchard… Since it has been such an extraordinarily wet spring, we have still not been able to get into the lower field that was first plowed last summer. We have some excellent soil building cover crops to get in there, but we need to turn it before seeding. Enter piglets! Before shuttling the pigs into the woods where they will spend the majority of their lives, we are going to run them down through the orchard and have them turn the field for us. Spots they have already rooted up we seed with rye, peas, vetch, and oats (some or all of these). We are raising Tamworth pigs this year (http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/tamworth.html), and they have already demonstrated some excellent foraging skills.
The goats are out enjoying their pasture, and little Tuck Buckminster is almost 25 pounds now! Preparations are underway for the arrival of chicks next week, and Mother Goose is still diligently sitting on her eggs (three weeks to go!). We stole away for a few hours yesterday to tidy up the “secret shelter” on the Appalachian Trail that we are caretaking this summer… let us know if any TRF friends will be hiking by!