How to Save on Home Improvement.


thI bought two apple trees on sale last week. Do you all have those grocery-lot nurseries that pop up for a few months in the spring? Well one of our shops had one with a closeout sale, including a few fruit trees, meaning I bought two apple trees for $25. I already have one plum tree – and need to get another or bush or something so the dang thing can pollinate – on the west side of the house, so I thought great, I’ll make a little orchard over there. Except there isn’t QUITE adequate room for three fruit trees when they’re fully grown, much less four, so I played with the layout for a couple of days and decided the best option is a kind of zigzag pattern that would land one of the apple trees to the very side of the front yard. I’m talking thirty feet from the front door and way to the side. This detail is important.

I left the trees in their little bins in the locations I’d chosen for them, took the shovel out of the garage and laid it on the ground, asked my hubby and son to dig two holes for me and I went out for eggs and milk. I came home to planted trees NOT where I’d sited them, one of the them way too close to the foundation (but away from the front yard), all of them too close together. Husband – who it should be said is an exemplary partner and father and I’m lucky to have him – said he didn’t want apple trees in the front yard and would hear no more about it. He put them where he thought they’d be out of the way.

We’re in reasonably good physical health at my house, have a thriving kid, 20 yrs of marriage under our belts and a stable mortgage… and I’m every bit as OCD on this issue as if we were languishing in hardship or terrorists showed up at the door. I got up at twice in the night to research how to espalier fruit trees, and what kind of fences will I need and how will that interrupt lawn mowing and traffic flow on the west side of the house because kids in the neighborhood use the hill next to this space for sledding in the winter and I don’t want them to go kersplat so should I make that whole area into something else entirely with little alpine strawberry plants or some sort of deconstructed formal hedge/garden thing and would I train the trees to go to one side or two and I should have purchased dwarf varieties… Seriously. I woke still thinking hard about these issues. And of course I feel like I didn’t rest.

My husband, it is worth noting, slept like a baby and hasn’t a care in the fruit-producing world.

Today I shall invest in some sort of fencing system and commit a part of my life I hadn’t previously considered expendable to studying and executing the art of espalier. I expect the endeavor will cost far more than my initial investment of $25.