Sometimes Spring – Sometimes not

So by late March, the snow had melted and we were able to almost finish pruning – warm temperatures in early April pushed the apple buds along and we were showing green tip leaves two weeks earlier than normal.

We put our first copper and oil spray down on April 10’th – earliest ever.   We managed to get all the brush picked up and run thru the big chipper – older backs take increasing notice of the bending over.

Then last night and today we have had about five inches of new snow – supposed to rain tonight and melt it all off.  The early season increases the potential for frost damage later, but so far we are ok.  Buds at full green tip can survive with limited damage down to 25 degrees.

In the middle of all this, in early April we made our first trip back to Boston in over a year for more scans and a bone marrow biopsy which came back with good results.  Got to see both our Massachusetts based daughters and their kids as a bonus.

So now when the snow melts we will clean up the last of the pruning, replace the cracked valve to restart the irrigation system and rebuild the shelters for the bumblebees before they arrive.

Green tip buds

Feeding brush into the chipper

Brief detour back to winter – daffodils in there somewhere

 

 

 

Made it to Spring

Hope this finds everyone well – we have weathered the winter well, though the lockdown made it seem seem VERY long.  Sylvia and I both had our second vaccinations two weeks ago.   My February birthday marked the beginning of a new decade.

After the big snow in December all melted in a week before Christmas, winter came back with numerous 4, 6 or 8 inch snow falls that soon built up to 2 or more feet covering the ground in the orchard which put our pruning on hold until this week.  Snow is melted in many places and under 6 inches elsewhere, so we have been able to get out and resume pruning – when that is done, we need to pick up all the brush and feed it through the chipper.  We took advantage of a windy day to burn the brush pile.

So we are starting growing our 20’th crop since reopening the orchard.  The fruit buds look  good which is the first requirement for a good crop.  We hope that by Fall we will be able to see you all with fewer restrictions than last Fall.

Stay safe.

 

Winter has arrived

The scene today is very different from my last post on October 3 – we had 42 inches of snow  in less than 24 hours two days ago on December 17 – the most snow we have seen in a single day in the 21 years back living in Vermont.  Fortunately the snow was dry and light AND I had the snow plow mounted on the John Deere tractor.

We have cleaned up after the accelerated four week harvest, the orchard had its final mowing , the equipment has all been put back in the barns and some pruning is started.  More pruning will have to wait until enough snow melts so that we can shovel out a gate to get into the orchard.  There appear to be a good number of fruit buds on the trees and we are looking forward to growing our 20’th crop since reopening the orchard and seeing you in the Fall.

We will be doing Zoom Christmas gatherings with our kids and grandkids – all the packages are mailed and appear to have arrived.  Fortunately everyone is healthy and we are as well.  We are looking forward to a better year in 2021 as vaccines become available and family visits can resume.  Hope this finds you and family well and that you are able to enjoy the Holidays.

 

We will not be going into the old barn for a while

 

The old Macintosh trees are holding up well

 

Finished a very good season

Thursday we wound up the 2020 harvest completely picked out.  Most years the season lasts for six weeks – often thru Columbus Day weekend.  This year the size of the crop was good, but not our largest crop – BUT the number of pickers was 50% more than prior years, since everyone was looking for a safe family outing.

We had to make a number of modifications in how we operated, but we feel fortunate that we were able to get our crop picked.  We think we were able to have a safe environment, since almost everyone practiced social distancing,  wore masks as they entered and checked out AND most of the time everyone was outdoors.  Many businesses have not been as fortunate during the prolonged lock down.

You can find excellent already picked apples as well as a wide variety of fruit and vegetables at Dutton’s Farm Stand on RT 11 & 30 in Manchester.  Check the web site at www.vermontapples.org for other orchards in Vermont that may have pick your own apples available for a couple weeks longer.

So again – thanks for your support this season – Sylvia and I wish all of you a happy and healthy winter.

The photo shows the “social distancing” mums at this year’s revised entry.  We found that when we left the gate open – a lot of good folks came in.

WINDOWN WEEK – LAST DAY IS THURSDAY OCT 1

Pickers on Tuesday will find a small crop of Blondees and Crimson Crisps now available. We hope for better crops of both next year, when Honeycrisps will probably want to take the year off after the big crop this year.

Pickers this week will also find good Empires and Cortlands down the hill, and still some Macs on the old trees along the fence line. Other varieties are picked out.  There are also scattered drops.

This will be our last three days and we will end an extra busy harvest season on Thursday more completely picked out than ever before.

Photo shows Blondees on new trees and some fall color starting.

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