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With all the beautiful weather we’ve been having, we have been spending more and more time up at the land getting things ready to go for the summer. We took out the batter boards that we had originally put up and got some more sturdy ones in their place, extending it out to fit the new footprint of 24’x32′. As soon as we get them all leveled and hung with criss-crossing strings to indicate where the piers will go, we’ll start digging some holes. We can’t start pouring the footers, however, until after our variance hearing on April 10th. The townships of Wisconsin have all started adopting specific building codes, and our home doesn’t fit the one that says all single family dwellings must be a minimum of 1000 square feet. We’re sitting on 770 and don’t want to budge, but we’re pretty confident that our reasons will sway the board and we’ll get the go ahead. Hopefully we don’t have to file for many more variances, since each one takes a $250 bite out of our budget.

We also dug 14 2-3′ holes for fruit trees due to arrive somewhere around April 5th. Here is our order:

  • 2 Honeycrisp apples, semi dwarf
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples, semi dwarf
  • 1 Lodi apple, semi dwarf
  • 1 Cortland apple, semi dwarf
  • 1 Illinois Everbearing Mulberry
  • 1 Blackgold Sweet Cherry, semi dwarf
  • 1 Stella Sweet Cherry, semi dwarf
  • 1 Moonglow pear, standard
  • 1 Seckel pear, standard
  • 1 Bartlett pear, standard
  • 1 Intrepid peach, semi dwarf
  • 1 Reliance peach, semi dwarf
  • 1 Reliance seedless grape
  • 1 Neptune seedless grape

Including shipping, our tree costs came up to $380.82. That’s a little over a dollar a day for a year… for many years worth of fruit. I looked at our grocery bill for two weeks worth of fresh fruit (not including jellies, preserves, dried fruit, etc), we spent $12 for a measly amount. Bare minimum. I can’t wait to be able to walk out to our own orchard a few years from now and pick bushels upon bushels of apples!

I also got a 3’x6′ fire pit dug out, then started a pile of stones to use as a liner around it. There’s one thing we will not lack for on this land, and it’s stones. My husband says if we want to plant a rock garden, there’s lots of seeds right where we want to put the house. Haha! Guess it’s just a fact of life when you are building something and need to dig… insert obstruction. I hope to make good use out of all these little obstructions, though. They’ll work for raised bed gardens, rock walls, and perhaps even an outdoor pizza/bread oven covered in stone. Ah… the dreams!

Check out the wood piles! I’m rather shocked the Holz Hausen stood up all winter without any problems, while the standard rows ended up falling over twice due to high winds and are looking kind of shoddy in comparison. We still have a bit of tree to cut up to add to these piles. We’ve also got to do a fair bit of splitting, but the wood is still pretty wet so we’ll let it sit a bit longer to season. You can also see the brush pile in the background. We had planned on burning it over the winter, but then I started thinking of all the wood left inside there for small projects or fires and couldn’t do it. Maybe this summer/fall we’ll sort it out and cut it up more as we need wood for camp fires.

So that’s my update for now. I hope everyone else is spending lots of time outside soaking up this gorgeous weather!

March 2012

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