Fencing and fermentation

Emily, Dave, and I spent some time in the orchard early this week, after folks had gone home from the cidering.  We focused mainly on locating the fence, which needs to be in place before we transplant the trees in the spring.  First, we dug some sounding holes and found that there is 1.5-2′ of good soil at least on the south and west sides of the orchard, indicating that we have room to grow in those directions.  The plan at this point is to use a combination of electric fence and lightweight deer netting to keep out deer, coons, porcupines, etc.

We selected sturdy trees to act as corner posts, incorporating another row to the west, and picked a spot for the gate.   If we get ambitious we might extend things to the south as well, but this would involve a lot of chainsaw work before spring, and it’s complicated by a gap in the stone wall on the east side, which we planned to leave open for access as a woods road – I’d rather not build a second gate if I could avoid it.    I fired up the Stihl and dropped six of the 15 trees that are within the intended fence line – it’s fairly efficient to line them down with a rope winch but much more fun using the little bobcat excavator to push them over, and pile the brush afterwards.  At every stage of clearing the orchard looks better and better – the clearing we did this week makes the site feel a lot more open at the entrance.  I haven’t decided yet whether to spring for another session with a big excavator to dig out the larger stumps, but I suspect that it’s the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, there are five carboys bubbling away merrily here, four in Somerville, and one back in Maine (I left a five-gallon fermenter with my grandparents so they could see the process continue; I’ll probably rack it at Thanksgiving.)  The leaves are mostly off the trees, but we still haven’t had a serious frost here in Lebanon – global warming is crazy stuff…


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