Homesteading For The Future
Apple Tree- planted 3 years ago
As we planted a pomegranate tree that my grandma gave us today, I wondered, as I always do, how long it will be before we see any fruit from that tree. Assuming it survives, of course. And a thought came to mind that has been reasserting itself to me quite often lately, that is the realization that a good portion of the work we have been pouring ourselves into over the past four years will probably be more for our children than for us.
Sure, the garden and animals provide for our immediate needs, but the fruit trees, the berry bushes, the grapevines, all of these things will take many more years of growing before they are mature enough to provide any substantial amount of fruit.
I am reminded of this every time I look out of my kitchen window at the apple trees we planted three years ago. I guess I figured we’d have a larger tree by now, but they have only in the last year begun to really take a growing spurt. I can tell just by their size it’ll be a long way down the road before I’m able to get enough apples to put up for the winter. Although both trees have produced a couple of blooms last year and the year before, I picked them off as it is recommended to do the first three years, so we haven’t had any fruit yet.
There have been a lot of learning curves which have set us back as well. Since we started this place completely from scratch, we’ve had to experiment with the best location for certain plants, and have done a lot of digging up and moving of trees, bushes and vines, hoping for better results in a different part of the yard. Every time we transplant something the roots of the plant need to get reestablished, and its energy goes into that instead of setting fruit.
It’s funny though. I don’t find the wait the least bit discouraging. Because I know we are investing in our children’s futures as much as our own, and we are teaching them the importance of these plants so that they will appreciate their abundance as they grow into adults themselves.
I envision my grandchildren coming to visit, and strolling with me around the yard, picking ripe blueberries from the bushes, and gorging themselves on fresh grapes from the vines. I dream of canning bushels of apples and pears with my daughters, and maybe even my daughters-in-law, and being filled with the satisfaction that all of our hard work has finally paid off.
If I knew we would never have a chance to enjoy the yields of what we’ve invested in around our property, if I knew I wouldn’t live long enough to see the beauty of ripening fruit all around, I would still continue to plant. Because I don’t know what the future holds, and if I can do something now to ensure that my children have food in the years ahead, I’ll plant as much as I possibly can for their sole benefit.
Every dollar we spend on improving our land, every back breaking day we work to make a sustainable home, is an investment in the future. If not ours, our children’s. And that makes it all worth while.
… Having said all that, I totally plan on Jerry and I growing very old here and living long enough to completely enjoy the labor of our youth. I’ll be 90 years old, with a long, white braid down my back and soft wrinkles that only come from years of laughter. I’ll walk slowly, and bend gingerly, but I’ll still be out in the garden tending my plants every Spring.
And so, we’ll continue homesteading for our future, and for future generations. Because you never know what’s in store.