Archive for October, 2012

Farm hour: quantifying what’s possible

October 30th, 2012 No comments

leaf harvest
One of three tarp loads of oak, maple, hickory and walnut leaves we gathered up for the orchard compost.

composting leavesThe orchard “mulchery” is set up. It’s 20 feet long, five feet wide and about 4 feet tall. If half the space is used, that should be 200 cubic feet of mulch. We added about 80 cubic feet of compacted, harvested leaves to use throughout the winter and started a pile with some of them today in the middle bin.

To start, I used a lot of the leaves, 15 gallons of cow manure from the neighbor’s field, grass clippings from today’s upper field mowing and about 8 gallons of water.

Water is going to be an issue until I can figure out an easier way to get it to the orchard. By the time my two five gallon buckets got there, I had lost about 4 gallons to sloshing.

upper fieldWhat’s Possible? I measured the space and determined if we use the entire space for blueberry bushes and apple trees, we’re looking at around 175 blueberry bushes and 32 apple trees. Using non-organic yields, the potential looks like this:

  • Apple:10-20 bushels per tree is 320-640 bushels of apples, 960-3200 gallons of cider or 13,440-26,880 lbs. of apples
  • Blueberries: 15 lbs. per bush is 2,625 lbs. of berries
  • Market: at current market value: $26,000 – $47,000

What’s Practical? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. We have about an hour of daylight each night and two weekend days of winter farm hours. We can’t eat all that, and we probably can’t process all that for others. Can we do this?

We’re thinking of starting with 8 apple trees and 10 blueberry bushes, but I’m mulching as though we’re doing it all.

Farm hour: garden and orchard chores

October 22nd, 2012 No comments

orchard chores

Vince got the chain saw and took down this dead tree in the upper field. This and a broken branch from the pregnant cedar became firewood. The smaller branches are in a pile to be composted.

The plantable orchard space is growing with every farm hour. It took maybe 30 minutes to get this tree out of the way. Thirty minutes here. Thirty minutes there – adds up to over 40 cubic feet of leaf and grass matter and 15 gallons of seasoned manure from the barn in the garden compost.

We can almost see the entire field as we begin mowing areas from where we cleared rocks and hidden tree branches. Then there’s starting the orchard compost, setting up rain barrels, getting some Shiitake mushroom logs going… the months away are small chores for now.

Categories: farm, food, values Tags: , , ,

Farm hour: harvesting leaf mulch

October 19th, 2012 No comments

leaf mulchThis is one Fall and Winter chore I think will really pay off no matter what we decide to plant in the orchard.


We’re going to need lots of good mulch, and I think we might have enough ingredients on the farm. I’m not really sure, but each evening farm hour gets us closer.

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around how I can possibly produce as much mulch as we’re going to need for the garden and orchard, and then I found gold.

This evening’s haul was a dark, nicely decayed, heavy leaf matter raked from under some huge oak, hickory and maple trees that grow in the upper field fence line. There is no telling how much of this is here.

Categories: farm, food, life, values Tags: , , ,

Short Mountain Distillery launches Apple Pie Moonshine

October 16th, 2012 3 comments

Short Mountain Distillery’s official launch of our Apple Pie Moonshine is Saturday November 10, 2012 at the Still House 9am – 4pm.

Be sure to bring your favorite lawn chair and warm jacket and enjoy a day of mule wagon rides, lite lunch served by The Blue Porch and music from the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. The crew from Hazard Life will also be here with replicas of the entire Dukes of Hazard fleet.

Come join us for free moonshine tastings as well as an opportunity to purchase some of the first bottles of Short Mountain Apple Pie Moonshine!

WINTER SCHEDULE ANNOUNCEMENT: Beginning Nov. 10, Short Mountain Distillery will begin our winter schedule with extended holiday store hours. From Nov. 10, 2012 – March 20, 2013, tours are limited to scheduled charter buses. Our store hours will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Short Mountain Shine now in East Tennessee stores

October 6th, 2012 1 comment