Saturday, June 27, 2015

Spring slowly turns to Summer, 2015

The chicks are loaded in their carrier and ready for a new day out in the garden.  Provided that the weather stays mild, we'll head out.  Then, while Mom does her weeding, the chicks can explore and, hopefully, stay out of trouble. 
We're not troublesome...

Getting a snack before going outside.
 And weeding needs to be done.  With all the good rain we've had lately, the garden is lush but the weeds have also had a nice deep drink.  As the unwanted seedlings are removed, I drop them into a bucket and tote them out to Chickenland to provide the Ameraucanas with some extra treats.  They get plenty of greens, but everyone knows the stuff in the bucket always tastes so much better!

Don't think of them as weeds.  Think of them as chicken snacks.
Speaking of snacks, I am periodically reminded that we live in the country and all sorts of wild things creep and crawl around us.  Many people have a fear of snakes but I count my blessings that they help keep the mice at bay and help take care of an abundance of frogs this Spring has brought us.
The orchards are doing well this year.  We've carefully culled the apples and other fruit trees to encourage healthy growth of the remaining fruits.  Those trees that are contained within protective fencing, continue to grow tall and strong.  Unfortunately, those trees that are not fenced have been subjected to heavy browsing by our deer population.  This little cherry tree, for example, the day before was full and lush.  It had all the appearances that we would have some nice sweet cherries in a few more weeks.  Last night, the deer came.  In what only took a few minutes, left the little tree nearly leafless.  I don't know if it will ever recover or suffer from the shock causing it to either die or not produce fruit for a few years.
 Culling apples takes a long time.  We have nearly 100 trees.  Each one is carefully reviewed.  Variety and when planted is taken into account.  When an apple tree flowers, each five flower cluster can produce five apples.  If left alone, the tree will attempt to feed each of these fruitlets leading to stress on the developing tree and small uneven apples at harvest time. 
 By removing four of the five smaller fruitlets, the fruit tree focuses its energies on the single fruit and growth of the tree.  This leads to a healthier tree and larger, more uniform apples.

A lot can happen between now and harvest time.  For now we hope and pray for this year's crop.

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