Valley Fog Drifting Over Bear Butte...I love early morning.
On the home front I have been resisting the mundane, and am having for all the world what appears to be a mid-life crisis. Dog sled racing, dog driving in any form, and training the dogs, or myself for said activity, is pretty much all I am willingly to do, willingly. The rest? I raise a cry like you've never heard. Actually, I did manage to prune ALL the grapes, and have started on the smaller trees with only minimal whimpering. I did a giant Santa Rosa Plum tree yesterday, that took over an hour... Looks good, but really - must it have SO many branches? FACTOID: we NEED to prune fruit trees because they have been essentially "domesticated" and are freaks that grow too many branches, so they have to be managed!!! If you don't like to prune much, try planting European Plums ( prune plums) not the Japanese plums (Santa Rosa and sweet freestone varieties.) European plums and virtually all pears require very minimum pruning. They are pruned for shape, and to eliminate crossed and broken branches only. Mulberries and Raspberries are also low maintenance/easy on the pruning. Apples and all Japanese Plums are the worst. Peaches, nectarines and apricots (if you can get them to grow) all fall somewhere in the middle. The weather has been very dry and unseasonably warm for all of January. Finally this weekend we have a semblance of a storm that has dropped just under 2" in my yard. It is raining again now...there were rumors of possible snow tonight. Still, in the back of my mind I am planning the "desert mode" revisions that may need to be made to my orchard. Basically, my plan would be to chain saw anything that has failed to produce and mulch the remaining trees generously. I see cherries, figs and a couple other weak and spindly specimens that should have been removed long ago, all falling. I would like to go with established trees, and only re-plant that which has proven itself up here: Golden Delicious and other late apples, the late plums and for sure pears, and maybe more almonds. All the grapes will be spared as they do pretty well under drought conditions. I am mulching everything in preparation for possibly NO irrigation this summer. Watch, come March, I'll be reporting on a flood...we'll see.