I'm off this afternoon to take a hands-on class on pruning fruit and nut trees, courtesy of the county Agricultural Extension Office. The cost? Eight dollars. This is great since the guy who said he was willing to barter some of my bread for the pruning of our old apple tree has never followed up. For $8 I can learn how to maintain the tree myself.
It's an outdoor class of course, and our temperature should peak just below freezing today. Add to that a stiff 20 mph wind, and this will be a test of my fortitude. And my long underwear. Good thing my sweetie got me some lovely fleece-lined leather work gloves for Christmas last year. (Yes, they've already seen some service.) What a great present!
If you live in the US and have any interest in gardening related topics, you should get to know your county's Agricultural Extension Office. There are a lot of resources (such as the Master Gardeners) for your immediate area under that roof, and your tax dollars are supporting it. In many areas they offer classes such as the one I'll be attending today. My county offered a free class on composting last year, with a free compost bin given away to each attendee. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend. Maybe they'll offer it again this year; I wouldn't mind a free extra compost bin. Our county's Extension Office also offers bare root tree and fruit seedling sales each spring. This year I'm getting four blueberry bushes (two each of two different varieties) for $32, with no delivery charge since I'm picking them up myself. Hard to beat that.
Check your local Extension Office out. You might be delighted at the resources and values you find!
I live on a 2/3 acre homestead in a residential neighborhood. A major goal is to demonstrate how much food a non-expert can produce in my particular climate and hardiness zone, with the soils native to my immediate area. We have gardens of annual and perennial plants, keep laying hens and honey bees, and regularly bite off more than we can chew. Another major goal is to pay off our mortgage as fast as possible. Here I blog about frugality, self-reliance, gardening, cooking and baking, food preservation, practical skills, half-baked experiments, and preparing to thrive in a lower-energy future.