"Build ye houses and dwell in them; and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them;" Jeremiah 29:5
This month marks two years since moving into our home in Illinois. First of all, it flew by. Two years of homeschool, "big time gardening", new friends, and new adventures for our family. It's been amazing and we have really enjoyed living in this part of the Midwest.
We made it a priority to plant as much as we could that first summer. From apple trees, to grapevines, to blueberry bushes, to even rhubarb and strawberry plants. I wanted to share the progress. Everything is doing amazing and producing fruit this year. I am so excited to finally enjoy some of the "fruits of our labor":
Last year, I lost a lot of my strawberries due to the drought, but this year a few came back and I was excited to see a few strawberries for the first time. I planted a few more plants this year to fill in where I had lost some.
This is my first season to finally have some rhubarb. We enjoyed some rhubarb crisp over the holiday weekend.
I planted about 40 new raspberry plants (which were given to me by a neighbor and friend), and started a whole new patch around my picket fence. They are all doing very well, and I think it will be a lovely place for a raspberry patch.
We have 16 apple trees so far, and are hoping to add a few more this year. They all are full of buds and I'm so excited, even if the harvest is small. Last year we had half a dozen apples and this year, we should have a few dozen. I know each year will produce even more, so I get excited with each passing year.
This grapevine has very special meaning to me. It may not look the prettiest, but whenever I look at it I remember when I planted it 9 years ago in northern WI. I remember the first time we had grapes and my "little" kids and their tiny hands, picking the grapes and eating the sweet fruit. This grapevine has come with us wherever we moved. It has been from Wisconsin, to Iowa, to Indiana, and now in Illinois, where it is finally again full of clusters!
This is one of my favorite and most decorative. It is along the front walkway into our home and is just full of beautiful clusters. One thing I have found to work very well is coffee grounds. Every single morning we mix our coffee grounds with water and pour it all over and around the grapevines. We also do this with our blueberry bushes. It has been a wonderful, natural fertilizer and the plants are so beautiful and lush!
This has been a good lesson for the kids, to see that it takes hard work, patience and diligence, but in the end, the reward is great!
(all photos were taken by my talented daughter Molly)