Archive for April, 2007

Joanna’s coming!

April 27, 2007

Got a call from my sister Joanna today. She lives with her husband and two little kids in a valley in eastern Idaho that’s full of spuds and Mormons, with a sweet view of the west side of the Tetons. They’re putting in some new garden beds, and she wanted to know the conversion to use from tons per acre to smaller areas. (An acre is about 44,000 square feet, so one ton per acre corresponds to about a pound for every 22 square feet.) All four of them are coming out in a few weeks, just in time to help turn over the new orchard ground and plant the peas/vetch/oats cover crop. They enjoy the mountain scenery and skiing in the Rockies, but the growing season is short and frosty, and I suspect that they will find their way east at some point in the next few years.

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In the ground!

April 21, 2007

The first 22 fruit trees of the new orchard were planted on Saturday the 14th.  We were joined by 8 friends who came up to help with the planting.  A storm had blown through mid-week, but fortunately only about an inch of snow fell in Georgetown.  My folks had tarped the nursery bed before the storm, and when we pulled the tarps the soil was in good condition despite the snow and rain.  So, on Saturday morning I disked down the bed and ran the spring harrow over it a couple of times, then everyone set to work digging holes, planting the trees, and watering them in.  In addition to the fruit trees we also planted twenty of the Cornell maple cuttings, which will hopefully provide us high-octane sap in a few decades.  We also did some clearing, moved some brush and manure, gathered seaweed for mulch/fertilizer, and stacked some firewood for my grandparents, who aren’t quite as spry as they once were.  At the end of the day we extended a nearby fence to protect the young trees from deer.  Here’s a photo of the action:

planting-trees.jpg

A big storm was scheduled to hit late Sunday, so everyone took off mid-day for Boston, after a walk on the beach at Reid park.  As it turned out, the coast got mostly rain, while Alexis and I headed for New Hampshire through the slush.  The storm knocked the power out on the North End for several days, but they are pretty much used to that.  And, finally, spring has arrived, with sun and temps in the 60s.  The new orchard site should finally dry out, to the point that we can hopefully work the soil and plant the cover crop when my sister comes in May.

Hearty thanks to everyone who lent a hand; we should start getting apples around 2012.

Trees Arrived; Slow Spring

April 10, 2007

It’s been a slow, cold spring.  Alexis and I are just back from a long weekend in Maine, and it never broke 45 degrees the whole time we were there.  A late-season snowstorm dropped 10″ of snow middle of last week, and much of it was still on the ground when we arrived.  The snow fell heavy and wet, and the wind was nearly calm, so it built up on trees, and falling limbs caused minor damage to some buildings.  It killed the power for three days – when there’s a big storm the power crews take a long time to get down the back roads.  The maple sap is usually done flowing by this time of year, but almost 60 gallons flowed on Sunday.  Another storm is blowing in on Thursday; hopefully it’s rain but they say it might be some snow as well.

Despite the cold temperatures and limited sunshine, the snow melted appreciably while we were there and is coming off the fields, but it persists in the woods.   The apple trees arrived from Fedco today, along with 4 peaches and 2 cherries.  I’ve already got 50 pounds of Peas/Vetch/Oats mix for the new orchard spot, as soon as the ground is dry enough to work and seed, and clover to spread between the new trees.  I was going to do some prep for the planting this last weekend, but with things still pretty damp I focused on woods work, cutting crummy fir and swamp maple along the westward stone wall that leads down to the cove.  The supercharged sugar maples from Cornell will go along either side of the stone wall when the clearing is done.