Notes from June

Before we get to June, here’s a picture of Mike & the redwood chapel, from May – before the grass was mowed down.

5/6: A man and his trees.

The last two Junes have been the calm before the fruit storm of July, August and September.  On Sunday, I walked around the orchard to see which trees have fruit set on them.  Due to rain at weird times this spring that blew blossoms off and/or prevented the bees from pollinating, we don’t have nearly as much fruit on the trees as we’ve had before.  There are barely any apples and pears, which we’ll miss come September.  Stone fruit is also sparse, but we have fruit on a dwarf plum, the Italian prunes, and on two apricot trees – which we didn’t have last year.  And, of course, there are wild plums – there are always wild plums.  Though the wild plums have a sweet, deeply plummy taste, they are such a pain to process.  They are small with large pits.  I tried pitting them with a cherry pitter last year, but the wild plum pits are just a little too big for that to work well.

We’ll see if we can beat the squirrels to the apricots, which will be ripe very soon.  We don’t have any of our prized pluots or any other plums or the French prunes.  All of this is a reminder of how fickle mother nature can be — and gives us a much greater appreciation of farmers who live and die by weather cycles and pollination.

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Apricots

Plants are finally blooming in the areas that I’m trying to garden.  My favorites are the delicate red poppies that we grew from seeds we shook out of a seed pod that we collected in Mendocino last July.  The white sage is also about to blossom.  I’ve been waiting for that to do something for over a year, and can’t wait to see it in it’s full glory.

 

Our tomato plants seem happy in the garden beds!  We had one casualty – the Chinese Paste start didn’t want to grow.  We also overcame irrigation problems (solved by putting a pressure regulator on the hose).

Here are the beds on June 10:

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And here they are on June 17:

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What a difference a week makes!  We still don’t have any fruit on the plants…but where there are flowers, there will be fruit…

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Mike discovered this nest, which I’m sure has been abandoned since it was out in the open, and then got rained on this past weekend.  I hope that whatever laid these eggs learns to lay her eggs in a more secure location next time.

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To end on a positive note, Mike thinks that some California quail built a nest in the chipping pile, as he heard excited quail chirping coming from it on the day that the guy was supposed to come do the chipping – chipping has been postponed!  Never mind the huge pile of combustable material in the front yard…

AND, our limpy turkey seems to have survived another winter.  On the day the Loma fire broke out in September 2016, Mike was in England and I raced up to his house to collect valuables, just in case the fire started burning in his direction.  On that day, I saw a turkey with a limp pecking around the front yard.  I had never seen this limpy turkey before, and seeing it on that day only added to the bizarre apocalyptic feeling of seeing the mountain on fire in the background.  Every time we see the limpy turkey (who we have affectionately named “Limpy”), we think it might be the last time.  But, no.  Limpy is a survivor!  He (or she?) was limping around with 2 buddies last year, and now Mike has seen him/her with one other buddy this year.  Somehow, Limpy has managed to survive at least two winters, limp and all.

In this dark time for humanity, I’ve been taking comfort in the cycles of nature.  Noticing how things are the same as they have been, or how they’re different this year.  Thinking on the macro level of the millennia that the world has kept turning is keeping me sane and giving me comfort that we may just live to see the light at the end of this tunnel.

 

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