Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's been 60,000 miles since my last post





Indeed, I got so caught up in traveling around the world, thinking about a blog was just not in the cards! But due to popular demand (or, more to the point, a request from my mother) I figured now would be a good time to catch folks up on what I've done lately.   OK, maybe not EVERYTHING.  Let's focus on the orchard.

When we first moved to Vashon Island, there was much sadness around the state of the orchard.



That there is a piss-poor job of topping a tree.  And while you can't tell in this photo, by the time you get past the first apple tree and plum tree, the blackberry is just waiting to leap up out of the ground and take over the world.

But still, we got fruit, and it was Good.

Earlier this year, I hired a local arborist-in-training to come do a proper pruning on the trees.  One can't fix the mess shown above in one season, but one can at least get started.  And from last year to this year, we've been attacking the blackberry mess with a scythe and a mulching mower.  I'd say it's looking pretty darn good out there!


I mean, proper pruning...


Lots and lots of proto-fruit, especially on the apples...


It's just wonderful.  But, wonderful does not equal perfect.  There are trees with some pretty complex issues.  This one, for instance:


That's a plum tree.  Last year it had maybe 3 harvestable plums, and they were amazing.  Amazing enough I'm willing to try and figure out what's wrong here and attempt to fix it.  I have a feeling that trying to do a graft on a tree farther forward in the orchard with better light won't be sufficient in this case.  See those weird bean-shaped things? Those are the fruit this year.


A sad state of affairs, but I shall do my best and rely on the kindness of strangers (more properly known as the members of the Vashon Island Fruit Club) to get to the bottom of this.

I'll be home, playing in the yard (and working in my office) for the month of June, which is the longest stretch of time I've been home this year.  Come July and through the rest of this year, I'll be off to Milwaukee, Vancouver BC, Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and somewhere in Europe TBD.  But between those trips, there WILL be time for making jam!