The other day when I got the currant and four almond trees into the ground, the big reason that I got so little done was that I decided to prune the photinia in the back corner. I wanted to let more light hit the Dublin Bay rose, which will get sun in summer when the sun is high overhead, but is still in the shade right now. Its buddy Courageous is taking off already because it's getting a steady diet of sunlight. I also wanted to get the pruning done before I planted the almonds because I didn't want the falling limbs hitting young trees.
The photinia are currently the only thing in the yard creating shade, and even though they are pretty crappy (they're supposed to be a shrub not a tree), I'm loathe to remove them because they are the only shade. It occurred to me that the only way to make them useful for this little homestead of ours is to plant the chickens and possibly rabbits underneath them.
Pruning the photinia opened up the space underneath them nicely!
You can see that there will be plenty of room for a hen yard.
I'm still not decided on whether or not to raise rabbits for meat. They are supposed to be the quintessential livestock for raising meat in the city because they breed like you-know-what, and they are quiet. Actually, they are not quiet- a rabbit will scream when it's terrified, so you have to make sure that nothing scares them. It would be easier if we could go vegetarian, but Steve can't handle most of those foods that make up the correct amino acid replacement for meat, i.e., grains and legumes, so I have to feed him meat. The plan is to eventually be getting most, if not all, of our food out of the yard, so I have to come up with something for a meat source, and rabbits would probably be the most sensible choice. I'm just not sure that it's in the cards yet. At any rate- I have a nice shady spot to put them if we do decide to do rabbits. They need shade.
Speaking of getting all our food out of the backyard, we are nowhere near that yet. I'm still building planter boxes and picking up after the previous homeowner, as well as planting the things that take a few years to start bearing, like trees and asparagus. But I do hope to get food out of the yard year-round in the future, which means we'll be eating by the seasons for sure. I expect that we'll still need to go to the store for things like oil, and hemp milk, and Steve's coffee, and toilet paper and baking soda, and all that. Lately, we have taken to walking the mile and a half to the store instead of getting into the car, which is part of the whole simplify, simplify, simplify strategy. We've been to the library on foot a few times, which is the same walk as the library and store (and post office, for that matter) are right next to each other.
But the walk to do the shopping is a new step in the right direction.