We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The problem with growing fruit is that it all ripens at once. The reward is the emotional satisfaction of walking outside and harvesting with friends and family.
Canning etc is a foolish, uneconomic, messy, mindless, homey chore. We all do some of that anyway because it feels good and is a link to the past.
Peach trees to plant this fall (most trees prefer fall planting): Stark Bros.
I have to remember to prune the heck out of my peaches this late winter. My Seckel Pears are still too youthful to bear fruit. My fig shrub died last winter due to global cooling but they often can survive northern winters if wrapped in sheets of polyurethane or garbage bags.
I have a fig shrub that dies back every year (Oklahoma winters), but I might try wrapping it to see if it helps. You might try filling the wrap with fall's leaves. I bury my bonsai trees in leaves and a wall of cinder blocks. I've never lost one to winter since I started doing it.
You mentioned the problem with growing fruit is it all ripens at once. I agree. AND...this year a HORRIBLE new problem.
We had such a dry August. My hardy fig and my raspberries all ripened around Labor Day. And were devoured by angry wasps the following week. It's a scene from a horror movie, just thousands of them eating the fruit and leaving their mess. I've built a couple of wasp traps but to little avail. Next year I will test a homemade spray weapon using Palmolive soap if they return. Any ideas for trying to get some figs and raspberries for myself instead of the pests?