Archive for January, 2011

Google Catches Up

January 29, 2011

It’s been a mild source of frustration that all these years we’ve been gradually expanding and improving the orchard, maps.google.com has maintained the same old images of that part of Maine, which dated from at least 2006, before we even started. I happened to look recently and was pleased to see that the images have been updated as of spring 2010; Joshua has been able to decipher the exact date (in May I think) that the satellite in question flew over, and and by the angle of shadows it looks as if it was mid-afternoon. Not for any particular practical reason, but it’s gratifying that all our hard work finally shows up:

(compare to before:)

It’s possible to make out the locations of individual trees in the old part of the orchard, plus the newground to the west and south; also the thinning for the Cornell maples in the woods to the west down toward the water. Also it looks like I had recently turned over the middle field; still not sure what to do with that this summer, whether to plant pumpkins on it or let the pasture mix from last year continue to develop – the buckwheat/deer buffet debacle pointed up the need for fencing around basically anything edible. Soil fertility, improving pastures for the new goat herd, and berry crops seem like good themes for this year. Also, I’d like to move toward a permanent fencing plan; the plastic-mesh-plus-electric is cheap and flexible, but it requires a lot of continuing maintenance. Once we know where things are going to settle out, I’d like to move toward woven wire as a lower maintenance solution.

Winter 2011

January 7, 2011

Happy new year! – and apologies for neglecting the blog. Lots of exciting stuff going on, just not in the orchard. Work has kept me busy, and since cider weekend I’ve managed to do the racking, rake around the trees and put on the spirals, and mend/upgrade the fencing for winter – but that’s about it. But, days are getting longer, I just ordered a honeybee hive nucleus from Merrimack Valley Apiaries, and it’s getting time to put in a Fedco order. I’m tempted to do a bunch of grafting, but technically I don’t have any new ground to set them out in, so I would have to nursery them while I got the section to the south of the orchard ready. I would like to do some thinning in the woods past the south stone wall, in preparation for fencing that area in, maybe as a goat pasture for a couple years before I plant any trees in there. There should be plenty of critters around, since my folks recently acquired two pregnant dairy goats, they are very cute, gentle, and increasingly round as they approach their February due dates.