About Arcadian Orchard
I find a lot of peace in being surrounded by nature. There is something about a large rock peeking out of the ground, the way the light plays off of the foliage, the sound of birds as they go about their day. As a child I would disappear into nature for hours at a time, running the deer trails, spying on small mammals, looking for berries along the tree line or splashing around for neat rocks in a creek. Growing up I also had chickens and an assortment of other pets. I would feel a twinge of jealousy towards a broody hen, surrounded by her chicks as she showed them around. I learned how to hatch eggs and would take the chicks around the yard, showing them which greens were good to eat and where the best scratching places were, submerged into the flock so to speak, as the other chickens would come to see what was going on.
Plants too were a large part of my childhood, with a focus on Native perennials, habitat preservation, or saving an ecosystem. My mom was a member of the Sierra Club, a very motivated activist. We had greenhouses, no-mow areas and a pond. Once we housed 91 Painted Turtles in quarantine while waiting on testing to come back. They were pulled from a natural pond where houses were to be built, along with the fish, the ducks... everyone we could catch and relocate while the bulldozers stood by. They cut a channel into the pond so that it could empty and we went to work with a series of nets to catch the critters as their home was drained away. The turtles were covered in bumps/lumps, extra appendages... they were not normal looking. Test results came back as mutated. Safe for release, just funny looking from chemical run off reaching the pond. Think of synthetic fertilizers and such. Every time it rains, particulates running down the slope of the land, right into that pond.
I hope that the houses that were built over that wetland didn't have basements. You can pave over top but you can't change the water table.
Anyways. I learned to work with nature instead of against it. It's not a thing that can be forced. Just when you think you've mastered it, some calamity will come along. A drought. A monsoon. A poorly timed cold snap. Everything gone over night from a tornado, a flood or a fire. Nature is a scary place to be at times. Then there is Agriculture. We all eat, so it's a top priority. Right up there with our need for water and shelter. Our aim is to incorporate agriculture into nature with sustainable methods.
I didn't go to school for Agriculture, biology or environmental studies... none of the -ology studies people said I should go for. No Horticulture either. My perspective comes from being IN it, live and in person, from early on. I feel compelled to be a good steward of the land, to be a curator of the environment. It's 2nd nature to spot a potential problem, to see something in the body language of an animal or the color of a leaf. To sense it, whether they are stressed, feeling poorly, when they're happy. A plant will also show it's "feelings". It's foliage may curl or crinkle, or change color to show an issue, or it will be perky, well colored for it's variety and showing good new growth.
I can walk into a forest and "feel" it's health. Or I walk in and feel sad for it, taking in the standing dead trees and the Honeysuckle thickets taking over. The lack of bird song, no Salamanders or Crawdads to be found at all in a little stream. If an ecosystem is healthy, there is a lot of variety to be found.
In our yard space I look for invasive species and remove them. I research plant varieties before placing them into this little "ecosystem" of our creation. We encourage native species and diversity. There are Speckled Black Salamanders that I've found in some flower beds, so we don't use any herbicides or pesticides that may harm them. I had never seen them before and now I've seen multiples, so we seem to have a population of them that are doing well. Box Turtles too have been seen in the back field. The usual rabbits, squirrels and voles, along with a couple of species of birds of prey who keep their numbers in check.
It's a lifestyle really.
My husband has been really supportive, imaginative and engaged in learning about plants and animals as well as the environment as a whole. It's become a shared goal to live a simpler, yet harder lifestyle. To give consideration to small actions such as lawn care, landscaping, making our own food and always doing right by the animals. To create an ecosystem for them where they can thrive and be healthy .
Arcadian Orchard is our home. It's the way we live. It's our shelter where we can put back some habitat and grow some food too. We're kept busy, productive, our appetites earned and rewarded. It's fun, really. There is always something else to learn, it can get deep when you get into the science of it all. When you're the curator, there are a lot of decisions to be made!
The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
~Arnold H. Glasow
Is there even an Orchard?
Yes, down the slope behind the barn we have an assortment of apple trees, in 6 varieties to see which perform the best for our soil and level of care. Liberty, Gala, Fugi, Pink Lady , Winesap and Granny Smith, a couple of each. By the house is an ancient cider apple tree, the diameter of it's trunk base is about 18 inches!
At this time we are not equipped for online sales. Please contact us for local availability. Visitors by appointment only.
Located in Mt. Repose, Ohio, just outside of Milford.