Happy New Year! Yes, we're alive and have survived Peter's poison oak exposure! And incase you were wondering about the title of this blog entry we do not typically speak German but all will hopefully make sense as you read on.
The last few weeks have been busy with holiday preparations and enjoying our family. Now that life is settling down a little, we are planning on being more regular with the blog posts (fingers crossed).
As time has allowed, we have also been continuing our quest of taming the land here in the Sierras. One of the first areas we have been planning is to add an orchard and after some exploration of the property, we decided that the orchard would go on a sloped area behind the house.
Although the soil in this area looks to be dark and rich with naturally composted material, I wanted to be sure to implement a system that would continue to feed nutrients back into the soil and also retain moisture so that we wouldn't need to install an irrigation system during the dry spells.
A few years ago our son-in-law introduced me to a podcast on hugelkultur (pronounced hoogle-culture) and while living in San Diego I had the opportunity to see a property using this method. Basically it’s a pile of decaying logs and soil that creates a raised mound or bed.
With all of the trees around here it made sense to give hugelkultur a try, plus it’s a fun word to use! Hugelkultur, hoogle-culture, who-gull-culture! Ok, I’ll stop.
Our daughter and son-in-law were instrumental in getting the first area set up and I've posted images in the gallery from that afternoon. As you'll see there's lots more to do before the fruit trees can be planted but hey you have to start somewhere!
In the next few weeks we'll be ordering the trees as we continue to prep the planting area. Fencing will also be installed to prevent deer from getting to the trees and since we are planning on setting up our first hive in that area, we'll need to figure out a way to electrify the fence to keep the black bears away. I suspect that we'll have to try different methods until we get a system that works but as the German saying goes...Übung macht den Meister! (Practice makes perfect!)