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At Yule the Earl gave him a gold ring.

 

Our first planting of the 2017 season was the addition of 6 new semi dwarf fruit trees that went into the ground on a cold day that had brought a light dusting of snow.  It felt good to put something into the ground during a time when we are normally nestled inside among the blankets.  This year we will complete the orchard by filling in a few more empty spots with trees and running a fence around it to protect them from the larger animals.

As with all gardeners, homesteaders and farmers, we never seem to have enough compost despite having many compost piles located around the estate.  Here we are emptying the last of the Kitchen Garden compost to use in the tree holes.

garden compost homesteadI have to admit that we never follow any special formula for making our own compost.  We seem to just always toss on whatever is handy or needs to be picked up, wait a few weeks and turn it over and toss on more plant matter.  Sometimes even turning it over does not happen.  In the end, with enough time it all comes to dirt.

After putting the trees in the ground, I gathered up the final bit of harvest that had been drying in the greenhouse.  So far, this building has been a great blessing for our work on the land as it serves now as multi-use building.  Here you can see that we temporarily stored some odds and ends that needed to be brought in before the mice take a notice to their presence.

Winter Greenhouse Harvest Storage

Winter Harvest Greenhouse Storage

 

Sitting inside at dusk, with the last glow of the sun shining in was certainly a quiet and thoughtful moment.  These moments are the greatest gifts for us.  For our family, these moments are the gold rings.

One of the old traditions that passed by during Yuletide was honoring the orchard and hoping for a productive harvest in the next season.  The elder folk called this wassailing.  If you fancy a try, this song can be used and should always be followed up with a hot cup of wassail to warm the belly and brighten the spirits.

Wassail
Old Apple-Tree, we Wassail thee,
And hoping thou will bear
For the Lord doth know where we shall be
Till apples come another year;
For us to bear well and bloom well,
So merry let us be,
Let everyman take off his hat
And shout to the old Apple-tree;
Old Apple-Tree, we Wassail thee,
And hoping thou will bear
Hats-full, caps-full
Three Bushel bag-fulls,
And a heap under the stair!

To create your own Wassail, here is an old recipe.

• 4 small apples
• ¼ cup unrefined cane sugar
• 1 medium orange
• 13 whole cloves
• 2 quarts hard apple cider
• ½ cup brandy
• 1 tbsp powdered ginger
• 1 tsp grated nutmeg
• 6 allspice berries
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 6 large eggs

 

 

 

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