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Harvesting Plums

29 Aug

I spent the morning harvesting plums from our tree. We planted it about 8 years ago, and it was supposed to be a dwarf, but it won’t stop growing. We had the same problem with the cherry tree that we planted at the same time – it is huge! If I had known, I would have planted them in the front yard. There is a lot more space out there, but we had rabbits at the time, who had the run of the yard – and rabbits and baby trees don’t mix.

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So we planted them in the back, and our neighbours (who are advanced gardeners – which makes me anxious, and stops me from trying most of the time, but that is another story) asked me to cut off the parts hanging over our fence.

I guess that worked out as many of our plums were growing on their side, and I couldn’t get there to pick them. So I just cut off the branches, and pulled them over to my side, harvesting them as I went. If he told me to cut them off this time of the year, and he knows what he is doing, it should be okay… right?

There were a lot of spiders – and I don’t like spiders. I know they do good things, eating so many insects, and I am not the kind to kill them (most of the time.) But I would prefer it if they never came near me. Some of these spiders were huge! – okay, I am not talking bird eating spiders from Australia huge, but for Canadian spiders, they are too much.

There were also several bees happily feeding (or whatever they do) on the raspberry bushes. I don’t mind bees, they are friendly, and so good for the environment – and it makes me sad that people use pesticides and things that are killing them off. In the plum tree, however, there were a lot of wasps. Wasps I could do without. So every time I cut off a branch, I had to run away as a swarm of wasps came flying out of it. Then I could go back and pull it over to harvest it.

We don’t spray any of our food. I really don’t know what I am doing for gardening, anyway (though I would love to learn) so I wouldn’t know how. So all of the food we bring in has to be cut to check for worms and things.

The plum tree isn’t too bad. I haven’t found any yet. There are a lot of ladybugs laying eggs on them, but they are on the outside, and I want to encourage them, so I just left them out there. The cherry tree in the back is pretty bad. We really should spray that one. The cherry tree in the front is okay, though.

Every time it comes to harvest season, I procrastinate in getting to it. When I was working, I often forgot, the time went by so fast – but now I need to find ways to save money, and harvesting our food is a good way. However, every time I actually bring myself to do it, I remember how much I enjoy it. It feels really good to grow and bring in my own food – like that is exactly what I should be doing.

I don’t know how to can my foods. I would love to learn how – but I am not good at asking, or learning from people that I know. I would like to take a class, but those cost money… I would also love to learn to garden.

I can grow some of the basics – pumpkins, sunflowers, potatoes, tomatoes, raspberries, plums, and cherries – but I don’t know what I am doing even with these. They are just the ones that seem to grow for me. In fact, one year my dog replanted our potatoes for us. He isn’t a digger, but I guess he thought that was important, and he dug away at the soil where our forgotten potatoes had been planted the previous year, and we had a whole new crop (is that what you call it?)

When it comes to passion, and the way I would like to live, I think this would be it. Back to the basics, grow and preserve my own food, heat the home with a wood burning stove, dry my clothes on the line, knit and sew the things that need to be new, and buy the rest at the thrift store. I am a traditionalist – a pioneer/farmer/country person by heart – but I was never taught how to live that way, so all I can do is dream.

Today though… today was a good day.

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