fall haskap

…still hangs on the bush…

…two unpicked rows of haskap bushes remained when we finished our formal picking…a small group of cedar waxwings lingered long after the majority moved on…in spite of this and it being nearly three months after we began picking, berries still hang relatively heavy on these bushes…much has also dropped…but it amazes us to see this amount still on the bush…shrivelled, but tasty…we sat in the orchard today with our dogs and just ate…

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6 weeks in…

…and we are still harvesting haskap…and there is no end in sight when it comes to berries hanging onto the plants…they have lost some of their firmness but are still quite good…sweet…savoury…juicy…full…heat and high wind have done nothing to deter them from still calling out to us…’come and eat!’…

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…and our dwarf sour cherries are now succulent, hanging en masse, easily harvested, and running riot on our tongues!

…we froze 60, 6 cup bags of haskap berries, which will be sent off later today to recipients, free of charge…

twenty eight gallons…

…picked, washed, cleaned, bagged, and frozen yesterday…on their way this morning to privately supporting those who have less access…all for free…all from hearts of compassion…workers who set their lives on hold to meet the needs of others on their terms…

stepping up and taking responsibility

…yesterday we canned five dozen jars of haskap jam destined for CW houses of hospitality…this came from some of the berries we harvested the day before, which amounted to less than two rows of haskap…we have a dozen more rows to harvest….and that’s in the old orchard alone…this is all bound for independent communities that feed, and clothe, and shelter the homeless…

laughing

…there’s a line in christian scripture that has always intrigued and appealed to me…in that verse god invites people to come and buy and eat for free…the words are from the mouth of isaiah…the name isaiah means god saves…and this is how god saves…it’;s whimsical…economically playful…refusing to take life too seriously…so playfully it’s our delight to freely share the natural bounty of this orchard…most people pay something…it’s up to them…but none have to…we cracked up recently when we saw another local orchard advertising their berries for $25/lb…like whoa…that’s $150 per gallon…i bet those must be some damn-good berries…i’ll have to go give a pound of theirs a try…

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…we get more fun out of watching people enjoying themselves
than any amount of $ we’d never make…
…and laugh ourselves to sleep at night at the simple notion
of homeless people enjoying this $150/gallon food…
🙂

these dogs…

…are probably the only ones in all of Canada, or North America, or would at least be some of the few in the entire world who had haskap in their dinner bowl tonight…which they most definitely relish!

it was a ball field…

…an acre of ground for my children that we seeded to perennial rye grass and mowed…they played soccer and practised baseball there…but by 2008 they were grown and gone and i asked them if i could convert it to an orchard and they said yes…so i disced it with a discer and then worked on it with a field cultivator and finally used a 3-bottom moldboard plow to cut furrows from east to west for each row…we laid plastic over this and tucked in the edges and then i used a snowplow on the front of my pickup truck to thoroughly cover the edges of the plastic…it was a thoroughly wrong way to go about planting an orchard…but at the time it was the best we could do…

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…we picked up our plants from prairie plant systems…1,000 of them…and worked at hardening them off for a week…and then we loaded them onto a flatdeck along with a water barrel and went down the row using a sharpened spade that i modified, cutting L’s into the plastic, prying out wedges of clay, inserting plants, covering them over, and watering them…it was way more work than we now do…but that was the best we could come up with when it came to equipment…and we watered them almost every day using a 55 gallon drum and a short watering hose, one plant at a time as we drove down each row…

…the rows were set on 20 foot spacings, not optimal for pollination, but was a width that i could drive our hay equipment down in case the summer turned out wet and it became overgrown…all of our plants survived and looked like this by august…we were on our way…

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…by the end of the summer our original EBH non-varietals from the u of sk also looked great…

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…so this is what our field looked like in early july of 2008…and what it looks like as of today…

…it’s a beautiful transition!