Bumblebees bring Spring
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We saw our very first Bumblebee yesterday
It's time to get into that orchard and begin our regimen of pruning, amending, and fortifying the future harvest against our greatest enemy, the Codling Moth. Every year the orchard becomes healthier, the soil richer, and the beneficial creatures abundant. I'm talking of course about my beloved pollinators, the bees. Both native, and our domesticated honey and Mason Bees. As long as Mother Nature allows us a promising bloom season, the work of the pollinators will be set in stone.
This year has already provided us with many very exciting opportunities and experiences that will prove to make this our greatest and most fruitful year yet. The Modern Homesteading Conference is a brand new event coming to North Idaho this June and is being driven by Pioneering Today's Melissa K. Norris as well as North Idaho's very own Katie Millhorn. These ladies are a homesteading force to be reckoned with and I'm so honored to be a part of it. I've been asked to not only speak two days of the conference about our preservation orchard and our unique orchard-based business, but we are also catering two of the event's main dinners including Saturday evening's VIP dinner. This exclusive evening will be featuring a true national treasure, country singer and storyteller Rory Feek. If you know anything about him, you know he's lived a blessed and challenging life.
Our Orchard Stay experience is also open and taking bookings for the entire Summer. If you've ever wanted to visit North Idaho, we've got a perfectly sweet glamping experience waiting just for you!
Seeds to start, greenhouse and garden to clean out, baby Nigerian goats on the way, baby ducklings on the way, laying hen chicks to transition outside, and a brand new orchard to plot out, not to mention many new apple trees needing to be grafted. This is the go season and we live for this.
One of our goals is to invite our followers from current social media over to our Youtube channel so we can share in real time (with plenty of raw humor) our lives here at the orchard. Get outside, get dirty and get growing!
He (or she) had just emerged from it's Winter home in the ground and got it's first glorious taste of sunshine. This Spring has been tempting us in more ways than one. We've had at least 3 false Springs followed by a 3rd or 4th Winter...North Idaho. And while we LOVE the snow and the quiet contemplative days of Winter, we are DONE! This humble Bumble can only mean one thing:
Despite a poor bloom this year, several trees
are growing some beautiful antique apples for this Autumn.
The Orchard Barn
inspired by Country Carpenters, CT
If you have supported our business over the past
seven years, you would know that ever since the very
beginning, we've had big plans for this growing preservation orchard and farm.
The first addition was our orchard-based licensed kitchen. Funded by an amazing angel investor, our own savings and a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded right at the onset of the COVID crisis. The success of our campaign was a testament to local community support, and how amazing our customers and friends are despite the uncertainty and unknowns at the time. The funding was completely local, and grass roots.
The next step has been one which has had many set backs but 2023 is the year. We've fought various elements that have been frustrating bumps in the road but we are now gearing up. If you've been out to the orchard for a workshop, event, or just to visit a farmstand for pies and honey, you have seen us set up outside, inside the kitchen in the Winter, or out closer to the road. The kitchen was never intended to be a long term solution for selling our orchard and farm's value-added products. We prefer to keep our kitchen a closed facility to keep public health at the top of our commitments. It allows us to maintain our standards of sanitation and sterilization.
All this to say, I am so beyond excited to share with you the future space at Athol Orchards, our New England-Inspired Orchard Barn. This will be a storing space for all fresh seasonal produce, our Raw Bunco Honey, beeswax products,
raw goat milk products, seasonal North Idaho Maple Syrup, farm fresh pies and more!
The gorgeous red barn you see is our inspiration. It is one of several design styles created by a company back in Connecticut that specializes in New England style Post and Beam barns. When we talk about dreams, this is pretty high up on my list. Our Woodland Mill is awaiting it's brand new blades and Erreck will begin milling the timber needed for this beautiful build.