Jan 31–solar clearings and alt orchards

It’s the last day of January, and my first day working on the journal in a few days.  For the past 48 hours, I’ve been once again laid low by the flu– being this sick twice in one month is basically unprecedented for me, and I very much hope for my sake, and yours, dear reader, that that’s the last of that.  

In the past few years, Twin Oaks has become more serious about solar clearings; that is, cutting back the forests on the south side of our residences so that the buildings themselves are not shaded by tall trees.  This allows more sunlight to reach the buildings, with the ultimate goal of mitigating the outbreaks of mold that render some of our residences near-uninhabitable during the warmer months.  Rather than leave expanses of empty grass and weeds, enterprising Oakers have filled these solar clearings with perennial fruit-bearing shrubs and (short of stature) trees.  These permaculture-style plantings are of course not “nature” in the sense that they were put here by human hands, but they certainly form part of the natural landscape, and I will be noting the seasonal changes in these “alt-orchards” throughout the year.

And to notice change, you have to start by noticing nothing.  And nothing is what is going on in these orchards and gardens these days–just about as dormant as dormant can be.  In these bleak midwinter days, I sit on my sick-bed, look out my window at the plantings in the back yard and think about all the tasty fruits and berries that my kids and I will enjoy this year, if only I live that long!


Come September and October, this arch will be laden with delicious kiwi fruit


Raspberry vines in the Morningstar orchard.  We’ll be munching on those in May and June!Image

Tupelo orchard looks pretty bleak now, but that will change this spring.Image


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