Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The spring of fruit

The spring of fruit...that is what I'm calling this one.  We completed the raspberry bed, dug holes for currants and gooseberries and are awaiting the arrival of the bushes  Now the grape arbor is completed.

This time Goldie is supervising.  Until she gets fired from the job.  Soon.

Disclaimer:  We have no carpentry skills.  Just determination and a circular saw and hammer and a drill.  This project is simple enough for such skill-free people such as the hubster and I.  I'm sure you could do a much better job.

The entire project cost less than $80, and was financed by money from selling goat's milk soap.  I try to make the farmlet finance itself whenever possible.  This way I figure the resulting grapes will be free.  This is one of my favorite words, even more than "clearance."  Here is how we did it:

It started with a couple of impulse-buy vines.  One survived in spite of severe neglect for two years.

Working off existing fence posts, we set four more posts.

The size was based on a cattle panel, $20 at TSC.  With a coupon.

Filling the post holes once the posts are level.  We did two at a time, securing them with the top boards before back-filling the post holes.

After the frame was secured, the cattle panel was stapled in place.

Enough for a Sunday afternoon.  It is looking like an arbor.

Two innocent hens in supervisory positions.

An argument breaks out over which employee deserves a bonus.

The employee deserving the bonus steps in to separate the squabblers.  Supervisors are both fired and escorted to the coop to clean out their desks.

Monday:  Install the grape vines and finish some details on the arbor.

Add boards under the panels for support.

Move the Concord grape vine from the front yard.  There is a small sign of life, and where there is life, there is hope...of grapes one day.  This vine was given to me by an elderly woman for whom I was raking up acorns to feed my pigs two falls ago.  We had a great time chatting about many things.  I went home with acorns, walnuts, and a grape vine.  Her very simple arbor inspired mine.

That original Catawba vine put down roots everywhere that the vine was touching the ground.  I divided it up and got four from the one.  I hope they all survive.  If not, I have grape insurance in the numbers.

Two of the four vines, Catawba if I remember correctly.

The finished and planted arbor.  I completed the project by sprinkling the bare mounds of dirt with white clover seed to crowd out weeds.

Why are we going through all this effort?  I am becoming more and more disturbed at what passes for food in the grocery stores, and all the chemicals that are sloshed onto the whole foods.  I got a book from the library a couple of years ago that was written to teach aspiring organic farmers how to get through all the rules and regulations, explaining each one in real farming terms.  I read it hoping to learn some methods.  It left me disturbed at how many loopholes there were....for example, otherwise toxic items can be used to fertilize crops if they are composted first.  Composting doesn't neutralize all chemicals, and no testing is required to see that any bad stuff remains.  Although I will still purchase organic foods over non-organic, they are still far was quite eye-opening to see that what I pictured as organic farming is NOT what is happening, especially on a large scale.

And the large scale is scary, too.  I just don't trust the huge Food Giants integrity when they offer organic items.  Sorry.  Can't do it.

The solution is to grow as much of our own food as we can, adding some items each year.  The care and maintenance gets easier each year and becomes habit.  The savings in our food bill are enormous.  The health benefits are incalculable. 

To complete this project, I'll still need to move some of the perennial flowers that are under the arbor....bee balm, purple coneflower, and a butterfly bush.  Simple enough.  Our backyard makeover is almost complete.  Whew!  Can you fit a food bearing plant or two in your yard?


  1. Looks great!!! I see a lot of grapes in your future....We too have a grape harbor...and my girls love sitting under it in the summer, waiting for the birds to drop grapes on them.

  2. what a great project! and i love the idea of the panel as the top. but um.. you gotta crack the whip on them employees.. once word gets out you've gone soft its nothing but work work work to get them back in line.

  3. I hope there are grapes in my future, but even in a bad grape year, I look forward to sitting under the vine-covered arbor and even just looking at it in all its leafy glory.

    OFG, notice the hammer in one hand as I scold those two hens! They went at each other like fighting roosters for two days. I could just walk up to them and pick one up, they were so intent on each other. I'd toss one over the fence into the goat's pasture to chill. Later, I'd find them fighting again. Sheesh. I need to hire your troops to get these employees back in line.

  4. You had me LOL over the supervisors. Clean out their desks, hehehehe. I showed my DH the supervisors part, but didn't say anything about the arbor. This is because I WANT ONE!!

    I was just saying how I had to figure out how to make the wild Concord grapes around here more prolific, so I'd have enough for a year's worth of jam for DH. This would be coool, an arbor.... Hmmmmmm

    I'm afraid it will be next year's project tho, cause he's set on building a smoker this year.

  5. Yep, can't wait for that arbor to be covered in vines and leaves. This project was just an extension of fence building, so not too hard. Our mistakes barely show!