Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

black and blue


We have 4 apple trees.  The two oldest are King and Gravenstein.  The Kings are great for eating and cooking. They are best picked last perhaps after the first frost..  Gravs. are earlier and don’t keep, but are very tasty.  The next oldest is a Jonagold  and the last is a newer tree, Bramley’s Seedling, reputed to be the best cooking apple ever and an old variety.

The first year we were here, we had a great harvest of apples. DSCN2255Last summer it was a disappointing yield. We had barely touched them in our pruning as we were hesitant to make mistakes. Not many apples at the farm last year but they had a problem with caterpillars which we didn’t have… It has been suggested we had a pollinator problem.. but I figure it is probably simply explained as something I did wrong….Not enough pruning….???

I decided that mistakes or no I was going to get the trees pruned before the end of February… So this week I jumped upon the back of the pick up truck  and gave it a go. The bed of the pick up truck is safer for me than a ladder.  I not so much jumped on the pick up truck as sat on the bed and swung my way up. But I got there none the less.IMG_0622

Then I followed the basic tenants of apple tree pruning… cut off the cross overs, the branches pointing down and  top the tall leggy ones. Short of learning to fly the only ones benefiting from the tall branches are the crows and I am usually not generous to crows. But  I am also not that tall and there are still some branches I couldn’t reach so the crows will still get more than  one or two.

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My friend brought over a big bag of gardening magazines. It is raining today and I have decided to satisfy my inner gardener pouring over the magazines and dreaming of spring flowers. The great thing about gardening magazines is that the information never gets old. If it was clever to save space in your vegetable garden growing cucumbers up a trellis in 2002 it is still a clever idea in 2014. 

Lots of cool ideas in the magazines. I am setting aside some interesting projects as I read along. Unfortunately for E, this usually means projects are added to his to do list… ie.. a bee house…. they look pretty simple to make and encourage pollinating bees to the fruit trees.

E is working on the kitchen floor and we take breaks to watch Olympic hockey games.

You might wonder how I prune trees with one functioning arm.. I use my left arm to hang the long clipper at the branch and brace the lever against my body…. Then pull down on the lever pressing against an available body part until the branch cuts. I usually accompany the motion with a great loud grunt similar to Serena Williams at a Wimbledon tennis match. I won’t include a picture but trust me when I say that my stomach, thighs, hips and chest are

black and blue

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

6 thoughts on “black and blue

  1. Go team Canada ! Great game (this coming from someone who knows nothing about hockey except you have the get the puck past the big guy in front on the net).

  2. Whoa, you are the go to girl for pruning. May the apple yield surprise and delight you. Oh, how I miss those kings!!! Enjoy the catalog browsing!

  3. Maybe we’ll invite ourselves over to the R’s for MaiTais to watch the game. It might be worth getting up early for! Good luck with your apples.

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