The Beginning of Our Eden

Ages ago, the summer before we got married, me and the Mr went to an open house. It was a beautiful little rambler, with a lovely lawn full of flowers. The care the owners had taken was obvious. We knew it was out of our price range and headed to the car when the wife ran after us to give us a flyer. We made an offer and somehow managed to get married, honeymoon in Europe, and buy a house all within six weeks.

Well, our little home came with bonuses we never noticed on that first walk through. The next spring we saw three fruit trees loaded with cherries, plums, and pears. Now the birds took care of the cherries before we ever enjoyed one, and I ate a few of the plums, but it wasn’t until I saw the mailman stop and pick a few pears that I was tempted to try some. They may have been scabby and slightly deformed, but oh were they sweet and juicy. That was the beginning. The next year, I was canning jam and pear honey, and the Mr had cleared out a little patch in the backyard to grow peas and carrots. I have fond memories of Sweet Miss as a chubby toddler shelling a bowl of freshly picked peas and eating them while I made dinner.

Fast forward a few years, our little family had grown to four and we moved to a two-story out in the country. It was on a third of an acre, so my garden expanded. As new construction, the back yard was a bunch of dirt and rocks. Over the years, we added plum, apple, pear, and nectarine trees. We lined the garden with kiwi vines, raspberry canes, blueberry and currant bushes. The girls remember the year I planted over 30-feet of pole beans. We had beans for every meal for a month; I even tried drying green bean–not good. Then there was the year that the carrots did so well. We had carrot cake, carrot muffins, carrot salad, and carrots packed in lunches each day. When people say that no one has ever eaten too many carrots, I can truthfully say yes I have.

So after 13 years of putting our little paradise together, we moved here. Last summer, most of my garden remained in planters on the deck. We needed to leave room for scaffolding and ladders when workers replaced the siding and painted the house. Let’s be honest, we got a great deal on this house, but it’s required a lot of work just to get it to a place where it’s not going to fall apart.

Gardens, trees, and landscaping haven’t been a huge priority. We drive by our old house on the way to church, and it killed me to see huge plums hanging from the branches and my artichokes going to seed. I need to give them time; next year, they’ll pick them. And next year, we’ll be enjoying some fruit of our own.

For my birthday, I helped Baby Girl get ready for homecoming and went out to dinner with the Mr, but the next day we went to a wonderful place called Flower World. While they didn’t have the plum trees we were hankering for–I’m a total fan of Hollywood plums with their deep red skin, red flesh, and lovely red leaves, and pink blossoms–they had a wonderful variety of fruit trees to choose from. We came home with two apples, two pears, and an apricot–it’s always good to try something new. We also picked up a few more currant bushes. After I found so many tasty recipes on Tastespotting and Pinterest last summer, I ran out currants before trying them all.

We packed them in the truck, tied them down and headed home.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home carrying quite the wide load.

I’d like to say, we immediately came home and planted everything, but we were still in the midst of our dry spell.  Even after four days of intermittent downpours, only the top inch of soil was wet when the Mr planted some flowers last weekend. Our newly acquired orchard had to wait until the ground was a little wetter.

One night as I was fiddling with the garage door opener, I was shocked to almost wind up in a stand of trees. Nothing grows that fast. The Mr had lined them up under the portico, but the painters moved them out of the way when they were working.

So yesterday when I came home from coffee with the church ladies, I was happily surprised as I looked up from unloading groceries to see a little line of fruit trees making its way down the hill.

From this angle, they look really close together, but they’re actually about 10-feet apart with a nice wide corridor between the trees and the smaller bushes.

I like how the row of trees lines up with the edge of the woods as if it’s a wall keeping out the wild.

The Mr planted the trees close enough to the house for me to keep an eye on them. If the deer visit next summer and tree to steal my apples, they’ll be in trouble. I’ve heard of deer not waiting for the apples and eating the whole tree down to nubs. I hope Bogart will be enough of a deterrent to keep them away. While he has been known to eat doughnuts, butter, soap, and socks, he hasn’t eaten a tree yet, and he loves to chase deer.

While my trees are small, I am looking forward to at least a little fruit next summer. We ate the last apple off one of the trees on the way home from the store. We were careful to choose varieties that claimed to do well in our climate. While it’s been snowing in the passes, it’s in the 50’s today, I’m not expecting frost for a bit. Now we just have to hope they make it through the winter, the blossoms aren’t killed by a late frost, and that the deer don’t eat them. I guess that’s why they say a farmer is the biggest gambler.

I’m excited to see our little slice of Eden coming together. Who knows where this will end up?

What fruit trees do  you have in your yard? Do you grow any of your own food? Have you done any fall planting?


7 thoughts on “The Beginning of Our Eden

  1. You will be so happy to look back on all that has happened in the first year in your new home, in the years to come. Now you are nesting even more by planting food to be eaten a whole year away. Count your blessings, for you have many to count.

  2. We have one Crab Apple – which they say you can make jelly from, but I have never tried. We also have a mulberry tree that may or may not survive the husbands yard clean up. I was quite surprised when he worked on the clean up last spring that there were any mulberry’s. The tree had died we thought, but low and behold. No fall planting, I had asperations, but never made it. Maybe next year.

    • I’d forgotten that we had a crab apple at the last place. Baby Girl went shopping with the Mr, and he just can’t say no to her. That’s why we have a huge skeleton-ghost in the guest room–they went shopping. I never did pick any crab apples.

      We bought fruit trees for Valentines one year. That might be a better time for you. They’d avoid those freezing Kansas winters. There’s always next year. 🙂

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  4. We have two apple trees, I’m not sure if they are golden delicious or macintosh or what variety. The joys of inheriting the fruit trees! I love making applesauce and apple butter, and freezing apples for baking later in the year. The birds get the cherries, those trees are too far gone in size for me to get to the fruit. I want to plant some pear trees and plum trees. Putting in the main garden is on the list for next spring. We have raised beds in the lower yard, but it does not get enough sun there and the water supply is too far away. We’ve left it alone for 9 years, now it’s time to rip those out and move them up closer to the house. Good luck fighting the deer. Rabbits are a bigger, they eat absolutely everything.

    • Sun isn’t a problem around here. I’ve been wondering if floating row covers or tunnel cloches would deter deer and rabbits alike. Lettuce did well on the deck last year, but I miss digging in the dirt. We’ll have to compare notes next year and see how it all turns out.

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