Rural Survival




Fruit Trees

Fruit trees are just plain wonderful to have around. The particular micro climate and geology around here seem to favor apples, cherries and plums. I've been meaning to try growing Bartlett Pears, they should also do well here.

Blue bird on apple tree
Bluebird on apple tree, spring 2011.

Nanking Bush Cherry

A neighbor prunes fruit trees for orchards professionally and he says if you want one apple tree, plant three. The point is one has to expect attrition and consistantly plant replacement trees yearly if a certain level of production is to be expected.

Apple Blossoms
Apples blossoms
Summer ApplesSummer apples

Timing the harvest of plums can be tricky due to their increased sensitivity to rain as they ripen. Rain will cause the fruit to split open and cause spoilage within 24 hours from mold.

Because apples and plums generally ripen in October, too late for sun drying, a large capacity dehydrator is needed to dry any significant amount of fruit. A large capacity dehydrator can be cheaply and easily built at home. I'll post pics of working units soon.

Plums ironically dry better whole than halved and pitted. Drying time is about the same and less spoilage is noted perhaps due to the intact skin that acts as a protective cover during the drying process. When hundreds of pounds have to be delt with quickly, it's the only way to go.

Plums close up
Loaded plum tree
Plums ready for picking. October 2011

Pictured below right is a native blue elderberry bush I planted about 20 years ago, a small cane the size of a pencil. I got lucky because it apparently liked the spot. It's grown really big and provides many good things on many levels. The water trough in the picture is 7' diamter.

Golpher trap by apple tree
Golphers damaged the roots of this apple tree
over the winter. Tried the trap in the spring but it was too late and the tree died.

Big native blue elderberry
Big native blue elderberry bush over 25w'x25'h

Home made wine
Home made elderberry, apple, plum and rhubarb wine
Dried plums and apples Dried plums and apples

Surplus home made wine and dried fruits make great bartering items.


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