The hits keep on coming over here on our farm: eight more varieties in bloom since last report and wee fruitlets on the early bloomers. I can't tell you much about all of the apple varieties; with Scott having 100 in trial, I can't keep up! An amazing resource is Liz Copas's Cider Apples: The New Pomona. It is Scott's bible.
Here's the latest blossom and fruiting report:
April 12: Good fruit set (fingers crossed): Winter Banana, Transcendent Crab
April 12: New blossoms: King David, Le Bret, Sweet Alford, Foxwhelp, Hudson's Golden Gem, Tremlett's Bitter, Waltana
April 15: New blossoms: Rome Beauty
Easter is tomorrow, and whether you're religious or not, you can't deny that this is the season for celebrating new life and rebirth. It's lush, verdant, fertile, and abundant out here. We've had to mow, weedwhack, and set the sheep out on new pastures because the grasses have grown up to our thighs, something I thought unimaginable back in January. Birds, ladybugs, lacewings, soldier beetles, and butterflies aplenty. All our veggie starts, herbs, and perennials are looking good, and I've been scything cover crop to prepare our kitchen garden. More rain is in the long-range forecast, and there are even murmurings of a strong El Niño developing in the Pacific, which generally means a rainy fall and winter for us. Fingers crossed.
Happy Easter, peeps!
Two months ago, if you had told me that today I'd be walking in a swampy orchard thick with grasses, wildflowers, and cover crop, I would have thought you were crazy. April Fool's, right? But no, it is true! Since February 2, we've gotten about 22 inches of rain at our farm. Yay! Yes, yes, there is still a drought, but there is now hope California will survive. In fact, the rain has come on so intensely this past week, growers are getting a little nervous about the Gravenstein crop because all the rain is driving away the bees. It should dry out starting tomorrow, so I'm betting we'll be OK. That said, the blossoms do look a bit battered, and I found two bees sleeping on the job today. Seriously, dozing in the blossoms. When the sun comes out, I'm hoping they'll get back to work.
Spring has been giving my iPhone camera a serious workout. From the iris and borage and Gravenstein in full bloom in front of our house, to the impossibly cute Kerry Irish Pippin (one of Scott's graftlings that can't be more than 2 feet high) wrapped in blossoms, to the rainbow over the tilted shed, to the wet woolly sheep and Sebastopol swamp chickens (plus having the cutest boy ever), I've been taking a lot of photos. Here's the latest blossoms and gooooorgeous imagery update. By the way, if you click on the images, larger photos will pop up for a closer look. But you already know that. Y'all know how to use the intarwebs, right?
April 1: 1st blossoms (or thereabouts) for Newtown Pippin, Muscat de Bernay, Hauer Pippin, Black Gilliflower Sheep Nose (awesome name!), Knobbed Russet, Cox's Orange Pippin, Fall Pippin