New farm project

Parking area at the base of the farm. On a clear day you can see the ocean. Today you can see the fog bank.

I have a capacity for renovating neglected land.  Having just spent three years bringing life to the TESLI property in Phoenix, it was only a matter of months before an abandoned orchard in Sonoma County asked for my contribution.  After some thoughtful consideration, which included the realization of just how much labor would be required, I opted in.

The property sits about five miles from the coast as the bird flies.  It is atop the first coastal ridge off the ocean and sits just above the fog line.  About half of the 10 acre property is enclosed in 10 foot deer fence.  Within the confines of the fenced area are plums, plucots, peaches, apples, Asian pears, mulberries, walnuts and more.

The majority of the orchard is engulfed by blackberry brambles. The brambles reach over 10 feet high in places and completely cover fruit trees.  The trees haven’t been pruned in years.  Many of them have broken branches from the weight of excess fruit.  They are also overgrown with Usnea and lichens.

Some parts of the property are covered in brown grass with an occasional black berry plant.  In contrast to the main orchard that is overtaken with blackberry brambles.
All geared up for a day with the weed-wacker.
Day One:  Beginning to clear some paths.
Road up to the top of the farm is blocked by a huge bramble hedge.  I am unable to break through with the weed-wacker.
Plum tree: Unpruned and overburdened with delicious ripe fruit.
More paths through the fruit trees.
Day 2: Ready to attack the brambles with my pruning shears.











Apple tree completely covered in Usnea and lichen. Even young trees are infested.















Before: Row between asian pears, plums, apples, and peaches completely overgrown with blackberries.
After: Five hours of work with pruning shears clears the row. There has got to be a better way. Need to go home and ask Google for help.












Weekend at the farm with the entire family.
Andrey sporting out new bramble weapon: Brush Cutter attachment for weed-wacker. Serious enough to slice through trees!
Before: Andrey begins to clear the road of the bramble fortress.
After: Two hours later the road is clear. Still need to liberate the trees covered on the right side.
New brush cutter allows for rapid clearing of brambles in orchard!!!
Asian pear tree ready for a trimming.
Shaking off the excess pears to save the branches from collapse.

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