In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


What Came First: The Apple or the Seed?

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall is the very best time to buy trees.  Not only is the weather alot easier on the newly-planted, but most nurseries have amazing deals to try to clear out as much as possible to make room for next year's inventory.  So Sunday we took a drive to Elmore Roots Nursery who was advertising $20 trees and $10 shrubs.  These guys have been around for 30 years and trust me, if it can grow in Elmore its got to be hearty.

We packed the fifteen trees and three grape vines into the back of the pickup, covered them with a tarp, and headed to Stowe for an early birthday party for my friend, Ali.  Kyle and I planned a vacation day for Monday so we carved pumpkins, ate and laughed the night away with good friends.

We woke up on Monday to a clear sky.  After bringing the dogs and Elvis to their appointment with the vet we grabbed some breakfast sandwiches at DJ's and headed home.  By now the sun was high up in the sky and we set to work.

First we had to decide where exactly we wanted to plant our trees.  They would take up a considerable amount of space, needing about 25' between them, but we didn't want to take up potential grazing or garden space.  It was a debate between a nice little hillside behind the house where there are currently three birch trees and a beach tree in residence that faces west, or the flat section near the road that faces south.  It was a long debate but in the end we decided not to choose either spots. 

Instead we looked to the front yard where there is plenty of grass but unsuitable for grazing or gardening.  Not only would this be a beautiful spot for an orchard, it would also provide some great privacy from the neighbor across the road and people driving by.  And I love the idea of sitting on our front porch someday, enjoying the beauty of apple and pear trees in bloom.  While we debated on the layout of the apple orchard we planted the lone cherry tree (self-pollinating according to the orchard) in the front-right yard which gets some great southern sun exposure.

We set out the eleven apple and three pear trees and began placing them along our yard, twenty-five feet apart.  Kyle dug the holes and filled them with a bit of mineral mix, then I'd give them a big drink of water laced with some seaweed juice (highly recommended by the orchard) after we planted each tree.  It took some time, my hands were solidly brown from the soil which is always a good thing, and when we were finished we stepped back to enjoy our new landscape.

I painted all the trees with some special tree paint to protect them from sun and wind damage and we even clipped on some garlic-oil deer repellent to each tree.  I liked the end result- each tree was more visible with the white paint- at least Kyle will see them and not hit them with the lawn tractor.  Someday these trees will become a beatiful orchard and we'll cover their branches with white lights for Christmas and in the summer we'll have birds nesting in their branches.  But those days are far away, when our future-children are grown.  I like that; good things take time.


  2. Melissa, you really have a knack for writing pictures. Your writing paints pictures we all can see like looking through your eyes.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. Melissa Says:
  4. Beth, so nice to see you again. And thank you SO much for your comment, I think that is just about the nicest compliment I have received. I really appreciate it. :)