Week 35, Orchard Cider Year

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OCY35IN1August 29 INDOORS: Our safety meeting isn’t putting smiles on faces, not even with pizza. Steve talks about preventive procedures and protective gear, stressing that no matter how pressured, or hot, cold, hungry/thirsty or tired people get during harvest — all safety procedures must be followed, all relevant safety gear worn.  Everyone strains to concentrate.  Safety is boring in a good way, getting hurt is exciting in a bad way.

OCY35OutBudsticksSeptember 1 OUTDOORS: Cutting bud sticks! Each stick comes from this year’s growth, and each leaf bud becomes the above-ground part of a new tree, which we expect to plant year after next! They’re cut once the year’s growth ends (a terminal bud forms at each tip.)  So the sticks go overnight express to a tree nursery in PA.  Tomorrow, skilled grafters move down rows of little root-stock trees already in the ground, swiftly grafting one bud into each. In the time left before winter dormancy, the bud and rootstock tree can unite.  Then in spring, all the rootstock wood above that bud is cut off, so the varietal bud will grow a whole above-ground tree by fall!  In winter, the new tree goes dormant. Immediately the nursery crew digs it and all the others, sorts trees of each variety into bundles according to the relative thickness of their “trunks,” (thicker is better) and keeps the whole lot damp and cool through winter. Come Spring, our trees, ordered before even the rootstocks were planted, arrive for May planting!  Wow.   LDS

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