Week 19, Orchard Cider Year

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OCY19out1May 12, OUTDOORS:  Spring crush is on – no indoor pix this week. Here’s a none-too-slick illustration of planting mostly Ashmead’s Kernel and a few Ribston Pippin on Thursday. We borrowed a neighbor’s big tractor to pull this planter, itself borrowed from a fellow-grower (& made by the great Phil Brown). At first they don’t agree. Eventually, a heavy plowshare parts the ground, a measuring stick projecting backward shows Ryan when to set each little tree’s roots inside, and the angled tires push the ground back together, at about 1.5 mph. People follow, straighten the trees, orient them properly both vertically and compasswise (graft unions all look W), push the soil snugly around their roots. The blade gouges big rocks from the ground, which is loud, also rough for Ryan on the planter.

OCY19 OUT2May 13, OUTDOORS 2:  (No.1) The guest stars of bloom time are rented honeybees, who like sun, warmth, and calm air.  At the photo moment, they are very busy, though not in nearby apple blossoms (#’s 2, 6, 7) which aren’t quite open. But a carpet of mustard is flowering in the aisles (see bee in #5.  During bloom, some growers mow as many rival orchard flowers as possible.) Now we cross fingers for Camelot weather, so “the rain may never rain till after sundown.”   We favor the tougher, steadier native bees that work through imperfect weather while prima-donna honeybees stay home.
(No. 3) a Wickson flower cluster ruined by the freeze.  (No.4)  Wickson flowers that seem to have beaten the freeze – if they get pollination, we’ll see whether their innards work.     LDS

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