Snails and Ermine Trails

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This is an ermine- a lovely little animal we saw while visiting a farm near Guelph... very cute, and not too shy.

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Yes, this looks like a chunk of beeswax on a twig- and in fact, that's just what it is! Seb and I have just started learning about grafting (a technique whereby tissues from one plant are bonded to those of another so that the two sets of vascular tissues, also know as cambium, may join together). Ever seen a pear tree with multiple kinds of pears on it, or perhaps a lemon tree with lemons and oranges growing on it? This is the magic of grafting. We came home from a recent workshop inspired to try so we grafted 1 year old growth from one kind of cherry onto a seedling of a different kind of cherry. If it works out- we will have a newly grafted tree. The major advantage of a grafted tree is that it produces quicker than a non-grafted tree, though it has a shorter lifespan. This graft is called a whip and tongue graft.

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We think this graft is working because the buds are growing big, they look like they might burst!

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We are starting a number of trees from seed- this is a Chinese chesnut. We have also started paw paws (the largest native fruit in North America), chums (a cherry-plum cross), artic kiwis, an almond that Seb brought back from Spain a year ago ( this will not survive outside in this climate but we might try growing it inside), a heartnut, american chesnuts, and a butternut. We also just bought some figs and mulberries that now have a ton of new growth.

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This is an american chesnut, a native- many of these have been wiped out because of a blight and we are hoping at least one of ours will be resistent to the blight.

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a few things growing in the window...

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It seems to take a long time to get projects like this done, but with the hot weather this week we were able to take over the driveway, build more bee boxes, and construct this seedling-starting stand. This is built from almost all recycled materials- free lights I picked up from free cycle (a website where people give away stuff for free), skids, wires from the re-use store, some gifted screws and nails from the Ramirez family... the only thing we bought were the panels to plug the lights in. And thank goodness for our friend Sam who helped us rewire all these things safely. For small growers like us we can get away without using a greenhouse- this will be a tremendous help in starting our seedlings, and useful for year round sprouting and tree growing:)

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