Tuesday, December 11, 2012

rotten apples

Here are some hedge apples, being left out for the winter to rot. I got some from brother Tom and some from sister in law Brenda. The plan is to start experimenting with living fencing. I've read a bit about Osage Orange, aka hedge apple, and its history as a windbreak and hedge, but don't know how well it will do this far north. If it works out, the periodic pruning and coppicing will provide excellent firewood, as it has by far the highest heating btu content of trees in North America. You are supposed to let them decompose through the winter, then turn them into a souply mess, and dribble the seeds into a furrow in the spring, thinning as required after they get started. The technique requires close planting, and severe pruning to keep them from getting out of hand and to encourage lower level branch growth. You can then get as fancy as you like, bending over and weaving, and even laying hedge like in England, but I don't know how far down that road I'll go. The other experiment will be Hawthorne. I'm finding it harder to get "free" starts, so may go slower with that stretch till I find a good source. Just fencing the 25 acre field will require about a quarter mile of fence, depending on how much I want to enclose, so this is a long term project.

Of course the other rotten apples are the ones from our apple tree that never did sweeten up, even after frost. They looked good on the tree, but did not taste good. After a hard freeze, they turned brown and softened up, so they will be deer food. Gotta make a cider press. The backlog for my yet to be built workshop is getting longer.....