Summer in Colorado, Our New Fruit Orchard, and Planning Our Next Pilgrimage

Summer in Colorado, Our New Fruit Orchard, and Planning Our Next Pilgrimage

From my bedroom window, I can see the lovely green meadow that our neighbors cultivate.
Their horses are rolling on their backs, luxuriating in the green grass.
I never knew horses loved to lay down so much.

I can hear the songs of birds, the gurgling of the creek, and the warm feel of the bright sun.
The sky is so blue…. it reminds me of the blue skies above the high Himalayas…..

A few puffy clouds dot the cobalt blue sky, and everywhere there are tall mountains jutting up, into the sky.

It has been a very busy summer for us.

The roofers have finished installing the new roof on my studio, which is in a separate building from our house.

The hummingbird feeders have attracted lots of tiny hummingbirds.
The summer selection of flowers, herbs and vegetables that we plant in big bucket planters, including cherry tomatoes and a variety of lettuces, have done well, although we have had to share some of them with the little chipmunks who have eagerly eaten some flowers and juicy leaves.

After years of talking about it, we have finally planted a small orchard of about a dozen fruit trees behind our house.
The reason we did not plant this orchard earlier is the dry summer conditions in Colorado, and the fact that we have no water rights to the Sweetwater Creek which runs through our land.

Even without water rights, those who live on land with a creek or a river that runs through their property, are entitled to irrigate a non commercial garden of up to two acres.

But because we travel so much, we felt it was wasteful to go through the expense of building an irrigation system and planting fruit trees that might bloom and fruit while we are away for months at a time.

Our love of plants and my desire to live on a beautiful land full of fruit trees and wild flowers, has prompted us this summer to plant fruit trees.

We planted Aspens, flowering cherry, sweet cherry, a variety of apples, and hybrid trees that combine on one tree a peach, an apricot and two kinds of plums.

I heard about the “tree of forty fruit” on National Public Radio one day.
The tree was created by New York-based artist Sam Van Aken, who used the technique of grafting to create a tree that produces 40 types of stone fruit.

When I saw similar grafted apple trees combining several varieties of apples on one tree and peach-plum-apricot grafted trees in our local nursery, we bought them and started our orchard.

Jules dug the holes and carried up bags of rich dark soil and mulch to give the trees a fair start, while I installed the irrigation system.

The irrigation system I installed does not use any creek water.
It is so efficient, that all we need is to give the trees fifteen minutes a day of our regular well water.
No water is wasted, as the tubes release water right at the base of each tree.

Some of the trees have needed bracing from the wind, and my hope is that all will survive their first winter and grow up to bear fruit and flourish in our garden in the years to come.
We welcomed and blessed each tree into our garden as we planted it.
This autumn, we will spread wildflower seeds around the house and between the trees.

Beside the studio roof and our new orchard, this summer I have had my teeth repaired at a holistic dental clinic.
I replaced all gold and porcelain crowns with a zirconia and porcelain crowns, getting rid of all metal in my mouth.
It has been a long and painful journey, which is not yet completely over.
I am hopeful it will be mostly over before we head back to France to continue our Via Francigena pilgrimage.

On the first leg of the pilgrimage last fall, we walked from Canterbury in the UK to Reims, in France.
In a few weeks we will walk from Reims to Saint Maurice in Switzerland, and then spend some time in some of the cities in Switzerland.

The last leg of the pilgrimage, which we plan to walk next autumn, will be from Saint Maurice to Rome, and if we will have extra time, we might continue on to Naples.

I am so delighted with our new orchard.
Jules who is a natural gardener and loves working with plants, is truly in his element on days he works in the garden.

We have not done any training in preparation for our upcoming walk.
In order to provide for more time at home for my many dental treatments, we did not allow for any extra time to adjust to the time zone in France, so we will begin walking the morning after we arrive in Reims, by way of Paris. It will be interesting to see how we adjust to walking all day, every day.
I hope all will be well…..

Summer is a wonderful time in the mountains.
We shop for our fresh fruit and vegetables at the bountiful farmers’ markets, and make delicious summer dishes with the tastiest Colorado peaches I have ever eaten.

It is so easy to forget the world, work in the garden or paint in the studio and slip into the silent embrace of the beautiful tall mountains around us…..

Wishing you a wonderful day,

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