Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grand opening of the Mason Bee House in our orchard...

 Have I ever mentioned we have a baby orchard?  We do.  Our orchard consists of: 5 sand cherries, 5 wild plums, 5 Naking Cherries, 9 buffalo berry ( I LOVE buffalo berries), 2 apple trees, 1 cherry tree,  5 chokecherries, 3 Red Lake Currants, 2 mulberry trees, 4 riverbank grapes, 2 black walnuts, and 2 hazelnuts.  I don't expect the nut trees to live, but I'll try anything that cost $3. 

 This year my husband and I have slowly made progress on our fancy fence around the orchard.  He digs the post holes and I watch (as you are all aware I HATE digging post holes).  My job is to use the tamping bar to break things up and loosen rocks.  I also measure and hold things as they are being drilled.  You can't see it very well, but there is a wire fence attached to the back of the posts to keep the deer out.  We may have to attach eye bolts and a swaying rope along the top, but so far the deer have stayed out.  We figure if the plants do die, we have a corral for a horse:)  Not a bad idea either.   
I was finally able to put the mason bee house up.  Since so many asked about mason bees I will add a little educational information:  The orchard mason bee is a wonderful little creature. It does not live in a nest like other bees; it lives in wooden blocks, but does not drill holes and destroy wooden items like other bees. It uses holes that are already available. The male orchard mason bee can not sting and the female rarely stings.  Taken from the National Wildlife Federation website.

In case you didn't guess from the contents of our orchard and my last few posts, I'm a berry fiend.  All of my plants were little twigs from the county extension agency.  I got the Grandma's Jam pack last year and when the plants made it through the winter, my husband and I decided the orchard was a go.  Thus, the fence.  I ordered the fruit and nut pack this year.  

My plants are pretty small.   I do have to practice patience, as it will take years before I see the fruits of our labor.  The pun was intended.  I did get currants.  Not enough for wine or jam.  Any suggestions on what to do with 1 cup of currants would be appreciated.  Except, now that I think about it I don't remember where I put them.  Humm? Busy summer.  Still, they are somewhere, probably the freezer, so I'm still entertaining ideas.  Next year I want to add to my raspberries and try some super hardy blackberries.

We decided to put an orchard here, because the past owner just bulldozed the trees.  I guess to make it look like a nice spot for a house.  We did cut a few trees, because here to plant a tree you have to cut two.  Planting trees is in my blood.  Growing up we planted hundreds of trees on the prairie.  I had to put the rocks somewhere.  I thought a cairn would be appropriate.

 I would also like to use this time to sing the praises of our little Snapper mower.  We've had this mower for 17 years.  The first 7 were spent outside, as we didn't have a shed to put it in.  It has never had the oil changed, and I don't remember the last time I put oil in it.  She starts on the second pull every time, even though the string is shot and I have a twig wrapped around it.  The last 10 years it has only been used for extreme mowing.  The orchard may look flat, but it is full of ruts and old stumps.  It has been a good mower. 

That is about all there is to know about our little endeavor.  I have high hopes that 2 or 3 years from now I will add to the berry posts.  If not you will be seeing photos of a pretty paint pony.  Ha.
Year 1 of the orchard endeavor.


  1. I think you're off to a great start!! I've not heard of the orchard mason bee, which sounds like the perfect addition!

    By the way, I'd try anything for $3 too--Okay, just about anything! :-) Enjoy your weekend!

  2. Very nice! You will definitely reap the benefits of this! The orchard mason bee house is awesome! Best of luck with your orchard! Thanks for sharing and Happy Gardening! Mindy

  3. Patience is the key to life. Your orchard is off to a grand start and I can't wait to see all the amazing fruit recipes you'll make. How I wish I lived closer! XOXO

  4. Hmmm... I dream of an orchard sometimes. Your's sounds wonderful-- you'll have lots of berries I hope. We had a plum tree and a couple of years back-- we pruned it a bit too much, it died.
    I'm thinking of planting again.
    We have small peach trees planted and a huge fig tree.

    I love figs...

    came over from the Preparedness challenge #21, nice to meet you,

  5. fun are a very ambitious gardner, i would also try anything for 3 bucks because i just LOVE to grow anything!!!

    i can't wait to watch and see your orchard progress!!

  6. Wow first I have to say your brother is an amazing poet. Thank you so much for the poem I love it. It is truly the way things are around an old farm. B

  7. This is a fantastic idea. I absolutely love the thought of a big orchard with mason (thanks for explaining) bees. This is quite the endeavor I wish I was close enough to see it. I think you will be very pleased with all your hard work in a few years. The fruit and nuts and just the beauty of it all will be worth it. I even like the thought of the horse even though I am sure you will be pleased with the bounty you have planted.
    Great job I have to go and tell My Hero about the mower it sounds great.

  8. I'm jealous of your lawnmower...mine has returned to the shop at the minimum five times this summer. I hate to put any more money into it but can't afford a new one as of yet. Our push works but has busted through the base...we're having such bad luck with lawmnowers, oye! BTW, the photo of the berries above is what I mistook for thimbleberry. What berry is that and is it edible?

  9. The berries above are Red Lake Currants. A bit tart. I guess I'll just stick them in some jam at some point with something else.

  10. Very nice! Thanks for the information about the Mason Bee.

    We are having trouble with the Carpenter Bees boring into our soffits.

    The next time I have to buy a mower, I am definitely going to look for a Snapper!

  11. What a wonderful idea, I'm so jealous of your orchard! Patience is a virtue right?!


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