Horrah for Hardy Kiwi! 2011 Report

Kiwi, Issai_9-28-2011_2037 Experimenting with hardy kiwi in the mountains of north central West Virginia has been an interesting experience. Also called “kiwi berries”, Actinidia arguta is a species of kiwifruit that grows a smaller, smooth skinned version of the big fuzzy ones we are familiar with in the grocery stores. As its name implies, it is much more winter hardy and that is why we decided to give them a try. It was in 2006 when, with the help of our good friend and expert welder Neil McHenry, we erected the sturdy trellises on a sunny south facing slope and planted the four kiwi vines under them. We had purchased a fruiting vine, a pollinating vine, and two self-pollinating ‘Issai’ cultivars. There was no way I could find out exactly which cultivar the fruiting vine was, but since the nursery did not advertise specific cultivars, I assumed it was the common ‘Ananasnaya’ – or ‘Anna’ for short.

Kiwi, Ananasnaya 5-13-08_IMGA0619 I had read that ‘Issai’ was slightly less hardy than the typical “hardy kiwi” and sure enough, those two vines failed to survive the winter. However the fruiting vine and its pollinator have never had any trouble with winter survival. In a few years the vigorous vine had spread out over the trellis quite nicely and now the two ‘Issai’ kiwi vines have been replaced with two other cultivars. We hope to report on them in the future.

2011 was a special year! Although hardy kiwi can easily survive our mountain winters, they are ready to break dormancy in the spring as soon as they sense warm weather. As a result, our “Anna” vine would always leaf out in early April, get hit by frost, and have to start over again. Even a light frost would blacken the leaves and shoot tips. In past years, whenever the vine bloomed, the flowers were always misshapen or partly black. But in 2011, the vines narrowly escaped all threatening frosts. Apparently the vines were elevated sufficiently on the hill to allow frosty air to drain away from them just enough that they were not affected by the light frosts that occurred occasionally throughout the rest of April and May! The bloom, which began around May 25 was thick and full and fragrant!

Kiwi, Issai_9-28-2011_2033 One more problem. Due to a setback the pollinator vine had almost no flowers on it this year. I could see no way for the fruiting vine to be pollinated well enough to produce a good crop. I did not expect any fruit at all. But as time progressed through the spring and early summer it became obvious that there was going to be a harvest! How was this possible? Could this vine have been self-pollinating? On August 22 I found the fruits full of little black seeds, just like fuzzy kiwi. They were still very hard and far too tart to be edible.

Kiwi, Issai_9-28-2011_2001

Finally came the day of September 12 when I made a quick check of the kiwi vines and noticed that one of the berries was wrinkled like an empty sack. “Must be rotten” I thought. I picked it and some green liquid oozed out. “I wonder what rotten kiwi tastes like.” I touched my tongue to it. Then I licked it. “Wow” I exclaimed, “that’s not kiwi! That’s lime candy!!!” I just about did cartwheels all the way back to the house. I could not wait for everyone else to taste them. When they did, they were amazed at the level of sweetness and flavor “like a mix of grape and kiwi” they said. The skins were a bit leathery with a reddish blush, matching the description of the ‘Anna’ cultivar perfectly.

With the help of Donald, Jonathan, and David, most of the fruit was harvested on September 28. At that time most of the fruits were still hard, but became sweet as they softened at room temperature. Squishier usually meant sweeter. Refrigeration seemed to slow the ripening process so that we were able enjoy them over a long period of time. October 10 was the date of the last harvest, when most of the fruits remaining on the vine had become soft.

Kiwi, Issai_9-28-2011_2011 Kiwi, Issai_9-28-2011_2027 Kiwi, Issai_9-28-2011_2019

Kiwifruit is an astounding source of nutrition (more links here and here) and we praise the LORD for making kiwifruit a possibility for our climate… “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” – Psalm 103:5

Salem Apple Butter Festival!

IMAG0446 - Copy (2)Earlier this month everyone pitched in to make it possible to have a family booth at the Apple Butter Festival. This year we added cookies and West Virginia Fruit and Berry jellies in addition to the honey, candles, calendars and artwork sales. Just for fun, we put up a little table for anyone interested in origami and had a blast making jumping frogs and all sorts of cute little animals.We are grateful for how the Lord blessed it and opened the doors for a potential business opportunity and for some great conversations.

Our booth"Look what I made!"

IMAG0438Another blessing was outstanding weather for the weekend!















Remember Spring

Most of you know that I enjoy the fall season. It is the middle of autumn now and we have experienced the joys of reaping what was sown, and drying, canning, pickling… and being pickled (in our own sweat!) :) And of coarse we are looking forward to Thanksgiving, when “the frost is on the pumpkin” and we celebrate the completion of the year. But it is never a bad time to remember back to that time when all things were made new. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Are you reveling in the joy of having peace with God; of freedom from the world and its pride and its lusts? Are you resting in the promise that He will come again and receive you to himself? Are you receiving the grace and the power that he gives to enable us to do His will? “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath Day.” Deuteronomy 5:15 Your deliverance from spiritual Egypt is what I mean by spring, for “he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:12.

Spring morning Apple bloomBlooming Alpine Strawberries Lookin down the holler in maple bloom The "far beehives" in April Our house through the dogwoods Hickory Point just before the leaves come out Dogwood in full bloom Sea of buttercups  Tulips in April Yellow Violets Wild Ginger springing up! When Christ Jesus enters the picture, even the littlest things become beautiful!Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself...

Josh and Lisa Wilkes!

We were so privileged to be able to pitch in and assist with the wedding preparations of our dear friends Joshua Wilkes and Lisa Butler, and to witness their joyful union on September 17. Here are some of our pictures from the event.
Emily helping wrap the gifts!It was a lovely outdoor weddingGetting the flowers just rightMichael was responsible for transporting the bridal party in this lovely make-shift limousine!

We were so glad to be there!Robert, Kendalyn and Daniel made it in for the wedding too!

We had so many good friends there! What a joyous reunion!Rejoicing in what God has brought together!

In the presence of the LordThe whole wedding was a beautiful testimony of a new family begun in a God-honoring way!

For more pictures, check out the Wilkes’, and Neelys’ websites!

“And with Thy blessing let the house of Thy servant be blessed forever” (2 Samuel 7:29).

Purchase with a Purpose

It’s October 1: the day for a special announcement!

060411-JAS_7756My brother Jonathan would like to attend
9-weeks of ministry training at ALERT, an academy in Big Sandy, Texas that equips young people with the discipline, character, and life skills necessary to meet the needs of people in crisis. Jonathan is very excited about this opportunity!

As I thought about how I could help my brother raise the funds needed to attend, God gave me an idea. Normally, I do not sell calendars in quantities of less than 10, but for Jonathan I will use the 2012 Calendar as a fundraiser to sell any quantity of calendars for $12.00 each. Ten of those dollars go to Jonathan to pay for his training while the other two dollars will be used to cover calendar production costs.

So, I now invite you to go to Purchase with a Purpose on Lenspiration.com to learn more about Jonathan’s vision and order your 2012 Calendar to support Jonathan today. May you be blessed as you seek to bless others!

A Few Good Links:

Lenspiration CAPTURE Workshops
Daily Success
A free daily email designed to help individuals and families experience success by developing and maintaining the spiritual discipline of Scripture meditation.

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