Extensive damage caused by Willow borer

Long overdue clearing of this Willow patch

It is such a shame, but after the guy from the environmental agency visited us, he confirmed that these trees all have willow borer damage and need to be taken down. These trees protect and give my “garden bed underneath the trees” a very good microclimate. The coming season this bed will be unprotected from the burning sun, temperature drops at night and the often harsh winds. I will have to think about what I could sow here coming season. Hopefully the tree stumps will sprout again in spring and the willow trees will grow back quickly.

But back to the current problem. The trees have to go, so my husband grabbed his chainsaw and started with the biggest tree consisting out of 4 trunks.

Starting situation:

And down they went.

Our 2 older kids helped with clearing the branches where needed, so my husband kept space to move around safely.

After a coffee break a bunch of smaller trees where cut down and some just barely missed the elder tree.

Finishing of the clearing of this patch with the last medium size trees.

And all trees are cut down, finished before lunchtime. The cleaning up of this mess will take more time than that. The bigger logs will go for firewood and the branches will be chopped and composted.

Here are some examples of the damage caused by the willow borer.

As you can see these are nice size holes. Around these holes the wood will start to decay. On some pictures you can see the darker brown. That part of the wood is decaying. Healthy willow wood is light in colour. Partially the centre of the trees has already turned into pulp and made the cutting down of the trees somewhat dangers.

All the tree stumps are cut of strait so the rainwater can fill up the holes and drown the willow borer to minimize its spreading.

2 days after the trees where cut down a willow borer crawled out of a cut of tree stump. The size of these creatures is impressive. They are much bigger then your normal caterpillar. Very good to see are the jaws with what they eat the wood.

If you are interested, my husband has also filmed this action. You can see this on our YouTube channel Straver Homestead.

Link to the video here

Making rosehip pulp

My son absolutely wanted to make rosehip pulp. He loves it on a slice of bread.

So I told him if he wants that he has to make it himself. I remember very well how unsatisfying it was from doing that the first time last year. Obviously we all assisted him with picking and he washed and cleaned the rosehips.

With stirring while cooking the rosehips he was still enthusiastic, but then the rosehips had to be pressed and strained. This is heavy and for a 6 year old almost undoable. Of course I finished this for him, but I did need some pauses in between. There must be a better way of doing this.

The yield is small compared to the waist.

The pulp was very thick, so I added some water and heated it up again to fill it up in glasses. After the rosehip pulp cooled again I keep it in the refrigerator.

Making apple juice and the birds ate my elderberries

Finally the time came to harvest our apples. We hat just finished our last apple juice from for 2 years, so it came just right. Unfortunately the birds ate most of my elderberries, so there are too little left to squeeze for the juice.

We did manage to harvest a crate of elderberries which where combined with apples to reach the volume needed to squeeze for the juice and this juice tastes amazing. It has a nice colour to.

We have so many apples this year that we divided the harvest over 3 times of picking, bringing away and picking up our juice, but finally we have finished this year’s harvest of apples. We have 231 litres of apple juice, which is a lot and will last us longer than the 2 years we need to store for. (These 3 older trees on our property only have a useful amount of apples every 2 years. The other year there are hardly any apples on these trees)

The apple elderberry juice we have 39 litres and I am very happy for that, since it is very good for your health. Next year we have to try to harvest the elderberries before the birds eat all of them.

The juice we get in these 3 Litre bags with a little tap for which we have a box to put them in. I usually do not like to put food or drinks in plastic, but the advantage of these bags is that the juice, after opening a bag, does not turn bad. While using the bag falls together and no air gets in. This way the juice lasts a very long time without fermenting. The apple juice has a bit lighter colour as it did last year and the apple elderberry juice has a very beautiful colour.

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