Sunday, August 14, 2011

Plum tickled

Something blog-worthy happened this morning. I was pummeled by plums. Plums from the plum trees growing in my backyard. Folks who have been reading my blog for a while might remember some of the photos I posted back in February of the tortured, poorly pruned trees in the backyard. Back then, I thought all the trees in the yard were apple trees. Little did I know the summer was going to usher in a veritable fruit salad of trees!

So, back to being pummeled by plums. I figured out a few weeks ago that a some of the trees back there were plum trees, and I figured out a bit before that that at least one tree was a pear tree. As the plums turned to a lovely orangey-purple, I was gently picking them with one of those long orchard fruit picker thingies. I was trying to catch only the ones ready to just drop, rather than pull them off before they were ready. I picked close to two dozen yesterday that way, and figured I'd do a quick trip back there this morning to see if any more had come ripe. I didn't bring any tools, I just figured I'd gently shake a branch or two and see if any came off.

My goodness, did I get plums! This was today's harvest, and there are plenty more that will come ripe in a day or two.
And they are as sweet as they are pretty.

There's more than one kind of plum out there, too, tho' I don't recognize the others and the local Master Gardener's suggest they might need watering to actually do the right thing with the maturing fruit.

Here's a shot from some of the younger trees...

But wait, there's more!

Apples! Lots and LOTS of apples!

I am told that the local lore has these as gravensteins, but I don't have any idea what a gravenstein looks like, so who knows? I am joining the local fruit growers club - how could I not, with this yard? - and will bring a ripe apple to the next meeting to see if someone can tell me what I have.

Did I mention, LOTS of apples? Or at least, more than I've ever had before (never having lived on land with an orchard) and certainly more than I know what to do with. Fortunately, living in a semi-rural community as I do, I know several people who will come help pick and can and enjoy the fruits of the yard. This won't go to waste.

When it was time to prune, I didn't have the time and energy to get to all the trees back there, but the four I focused on - two of the plums and two of the apples - are just bursting with fruit. The trees the farthest away from the house did not get pruned much, and their fruit output is pretty low as far as I can tell. But come February, I'm going to get serious about pruning these lovely things and see what I get next harvest.

The pear tree is huge, and not the healthiest tree on the lot. I'm a bit worried about it, but if even a third of the pears come ripe and edible, I'm going to be drowning in pears.

Anyone know what kind of pear that is?

It needs some professional help, I think. Or at least someone with a tall ladder to help thin out the upper parts!

But wait, there is still more! One of the banes of the local orchard is the invasion of blackberries. Remember my goat project I mentioned a while ago? I'm still researching the idea, and it's in no small part to help control the blackberry. I haven't gotten it under control, but at least at the moment, that just means a bit more fruit to go in to the jam process that will start today.

And if all this was not enough, would anyone like some fennel?

I do love living here. This winter, I really need to get a garden started to have more fun with this kind of thing. Green beans, mmmmmmm.