Saturday, March 31, 2007

What An Awesome Spring!

perfect weather if you are a bee...

pea seedling and volunteer chard...

Barlett Pear...

Bear Butte


Darker days early in the week, brrrrr...

I am loving the warm days and cool nights. We had a some rain Sunday, a pretty significant dusting (2"+) of snow and blustery north winds early in the week and rest of the days have been a reliable spring pattern. It has been not too warm, a certainly not too wet or cold, which can often be the case around here in the months of March, April and even into May! We will see what the remainder of spring will bring. The peas have mostly all germinated. I kept the bed covered with a small remay cold frame. This kept the birds away. Last year, there were many grandmother chard plants in the bed I am using, (chard is a bi-annual, it puts out seed in the second year) so, all their offspring think this will be a great home for them! The plum trees have all set lovely little, teeny, tiny, baby plums.I have not been able to take any good pictures of them yet, because they are all wearing their faded blossoms like little windbreakers. SO cute. If we don't get any more harsh weather, it may be a bumper year for plums. The last two seasons were a real flop, when (global warming?) the plums all bloomed really early and then endured two months of snow, rain, hail and sleet! Only the latest blooming European prune style plums did anything of note. I finally finished pruning most everything. The great old granny smith apple was finally completed today. Practically killed myself on the orchard ladder, maybe 8 ft isn't tall enough! I was teetering at times...The pears are in full bloom, and the apples are just starting to pop. According to folklore, apple blooming time is the time to plant your green beans. I'll get right on that....I HAVE planted my arbor day foundation freebie trees that had been babied in the garden for 2 years. They are some sort of deciduous redwood tree?? I do not know. They look like a redwood trees but drop their needles each winter. Yew trees maybe? So those, a redbud, a yellow blooming forsythia, a mess load of bearded iris', and more baby daffodils all found earth for their roots this week. I jammed in the last (I've said this before) two plum trees as well. More plum trees why? (I already have 9!) Oh right, one died, and I am trying to put in all the latest varieties in an effort to outsmart global warming! Private plum passion.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Don't blink, you may miss it, SPRING!!

willow tree
Danjou Pear

Cherry Blossoms just starting to pop
Serious Snoopy
Local Wildlife- Turkey
Cooling Valley Fog blowing over Bear Butte

Fig Bud
Kiwi Budswell
Cresent Moon

The weather has been sweet. It was very warm last week with just a couple days of rain earlier this week. It is hard to believe it has been so many days since I last posted. So much has gotten done, yet it seems the days are moving awfully swift. I've finished pruning the vineyard and hope to erect the end posts and wire very soon. Poor things, they are pruned and ready to hang on the wire, if only there was wire!! No wires without endposts! I am hung up on the exact style I want to incorporate. All of the plums are blooming like mad, like glowing white orbs against the evening sky. My winter vegies have all jumped in the last week. I am watering, weeding and feeding the onions, leeks and garlic. As for the cabbages and other brassicas I am just keeping them wet enough. Up here they tend to want to bloom before they head up, so who knows!?! The north wind is blowing bringing the temps down compared to last week. The cherry trees are starting to bloom and the apples are all starting to showas well. I made a valient attempt to prune them today. I was able to finish all 8 of the semi dwarf that are under 5 years old...easier. I needed the ladder just 2 times. I still have the old Granny Smith, she will take at least 2 hours. At ten years old it is a stately tree with lots of new growth to address each spring. For apples, I remove 40-60% of the new growth. FIRST as in all fruit tree pruning I remove all crossing, broken or dead branches. Next, I tackle inward growing, or sucker like whips that face straight up. Again, spacing 7-9 main scaffold branches 4"-13" apart. Not much pruning on the pears, basically maintaining shape by removing crossing and inward or poorly aligned branches. Pears need lots of branch spreaders. I used nearly 100 for the 8 pear trees I am training right now.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pink Moments

Days have been very warm and clear for the most part. Awesome valley fog in the morning that has been burning off very quickly. The temperature was a balmy 60* up here last night. The pea bed is done. Raspberries have been planted and I did enough pruning to give me a blister. Ouch! I cut so much wood out of the almond tree. It is just 4 years old and is already at least 6 inches in diameter at the trunk. Domesticated fruit trees, by their very nature, create too many branches. The bulk of my pruning at this stage is choosing good form. The books recommend branch spacing of 4"-8". Dan recommends 15"!! He also advocates severe pruning of the poor persimmon! I generally space my branches between 3" and 12".

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring Ahead

Tonight is the eve of the annual Spring time change - spring ahead. It is occurring three weeks earlier this year, I am glad. In my opinion, they should phase out the winter time change all together. I love getting up early. The dogs are very cheerful in the morning and we do a daily walk that sets the tone for the day. It is enjoyable to get out, rain or shine, to check out the day and try to jog off some of the canine sillies. :) The plums, almonds, apricot, and early nectarine are all blooming. The pear blossoms swell. The daffodils are in full show. It is past time to get the first peas planted, but with the abundant snow and rain last month, any peas that were planted on time (Presidents Day) are most likely rotted, because it was simply too cold to even sprout! Peas can be planted through April or May so today I will be preparing a bed for those, and tending to a lot of pruning chores.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

March - In Like a Snowy Lion

I am revived by the warmth and promise of the spring sunshine, and breezes.

All the snow, but for the shadowiest places, and most distant ridges, is gone. Yay!! The dogs have lost their snow crazies and we are diving into the earth with renewed vigor. I did some much needed weeding today, and tended to my rather large nursery of spring bulbs. They are all in 1 gallon pots and have pretty much filled their pots with their vigorous roots. I may need to change my plans on those guys, and stick 'em in the ground this year after all!

The Danjou Pear buds are just beginning to swell...............

The Greengage plum is first off the starting block....praying for a mild spring. This European style plum is very unique and quite delicious.

I love the almond tree. An almond tree lives about 3o years (compared to the long lived apple or pear both can top 100 years...! ). They grow very quickly and bear abundunt blossoms. I've yet to see more than one or two almonds but they have only been in the ground about 4 years.

A morning view of Bear Butte and the hills east of Garberville.

Garlic. My most dependable edible through the years. Tolerant and
hardy. I maintain my own seed stock by keeping back about 35-40
bulbs for replanting. One individual clove of garlic will give you a
whole bulb. Traditionally planted and harvested according to the
fall equinox and summer solstice. It can be planted as late as Feb.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Log Wood Burning Through The Night...

OK enuff is enuff.
OF the fluffy white stuff.
All dripping.
I'm slipping.
Longing for the green turf.

Major damage was sustained to one of our rigs when another large oak branch broke under the weight of the snow. This one happened to be directly above the car, and in its fall it cleanly sheared off BOTH of the side view mirrors!! No broken glass (miraculously) - but the roof, and back door are both rather crumpled, and nary a quarter panel is free from some ding or crinkle.
The perils of country living.
The reason for full coverage insurance.

Lots MORE snow has fallen and the sky hasn't lifted but for a moment or two yesterday morning, when I raced out to photograph the blue.