Thursday, March 12, 2015

Trimming the Orchard

Pruned to Perfection!
With the rapid warmup of the weather all of our snow has done a  nice disappearing act which forces a person to just do more work!  Spring is the time to trim my apple trees and usually the earlier the better so it became my project for the weekend.  Apples love to be trimmed as it helps in preventing diseases by opening up the inside of the tree for better air circulation, helps in turning the apples read as they receive more sunlight, and it makes spraying and harvesting the apples much easier.  If you look at the orchards, they really trim the trees down for exactly the same reasons. Last year's late snow cover and very wet spring was hard on the trees as the are in low spot by the pole shed.  I had 2 full grown Fireside trees that I left planted close to each other to the point where it was getting difficult to deal with them.  Never wanting to cut anything living down, one of them slowly wilted until all the leaves were gone, I guess Mother Nature did what I couldn't do until the tree was dead!  I do think the other tree is happier now, we will see.  The other thing that pruning the tree accomplishes is it helps to even out the every other year cycle of lot's of apples, not so many apples.  2013 was a banner year for my trees with more apples than I knew what to do with.  Combined with the wet spring and a cold start to May, 2014 was a total bust for apples, enough to stop spraying them, it just wasn't worth the time.  This year should be a great one as we are back on the good side of the cycle.  One other thing that I did was finally cut off any branches that interfered with my head while mowing.  Sometimes I'd go along on my mower, not thinking then WHACK, sometimes almost getting thrown from the lawn mower, and I can guarantee that it doesn't feel very good at all.  Those bottom branches never produce much anyway!  I have 12 full grown apple and pear trees and it takes about 45 minutes to complete one tree.   Our friend, Bruce Amundson's daughters have been putting honey bees in the back of our property for years and I was glad to hear they called and asked if we were interested again.  Not only are we interested but for years I have been offering to pay for the bees as I know they are not cheap and I really get the benefit.  This year they agreed to allow me to help which I think is perfect.  With all of the trees pruned and the bees verified, all we need now is the weather to keep moving in the right direction.  As for Dewey Ness, my friend in NW Wisconsin, I will make sure there are enough apples for you!

Fort Sumter Cannon
My friend Pete wanted me to take him on the Mississippi River on Sunday but even with the 55 degree weather the ice was still pretty thick and besides, it would take me a day to get the boat ready anyway.  I was thinking about going ice fishing but instead spent most of the day doing a few minor repairs to my Salem like fixing the electrical access cable hatch then insulating it from the inside, replacing the removable shackle pins with stainless steel ones, and thinking about putting mud flaps on the fenders to prevent so much salt from hitting the lifting jacks.  As well, there is a lot of things to get packed before this weekend's trip to Charleston, especially finding everything.  Cleaning the coolers to bring my Walter's beer and cheese with to digging up my summer fishing clothes as the forecast for Sunday is 75 and sunny.   Charleston is a very historic city and is where the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter which started the Civil War.  We arrive about 4:00 in the afternoon on Saturday and leave on Monday morning with an 8:00AM - 4:00PM charter on Sunday.  This should leave some time to visit some of the historical sites around town and enjoy a little southern hospitality.  I am planning on taking my GoPro camera and hopefully get some good action shots of our fishing trip on the inshore reefs.  It is interesting that our fishing license is covered by the captains charter license so it's great that we don't have to spend any more money on that.  We all have to be back in Charlotte, North Carolina for our annual APEC conference which is the premier event for our company.  It's a good opportunity to see all of my friends in the business, both competitors and our raw material suppliers.  I have only been to Charlotte once in my life, it was in the 90's and I spent a July weekend with my good friend Rick Semingson at his place in Blue Ridge, Georgia.  Flying into Atlanta, he picked me up and toured the countryside as we made our way north.  The next day we headed across the Blue Ridge Mountains through Highlands before heading to Charlotte.   Having never been to this area of the country it was beautiful to say the least.  Although very hot in Atlanta, Rick's place was 2000 feet higher and cooled down at night very well.  I was really taken back by the Cicada's at night as the noise was deafening yet charming.  Rick's retired now and maybe with a little luck we can get together again sometime.
Hopefully next weeks adventure lives up to my expectation, which is nothing more than to have a little fun.

1 comment:

Duane said...

Thank you Dave! I hunt bear from mid September thru mid October. I'll take whatever I can get and crummy, skunky apples work just fine so I'm not picky. I'll be in touch this summer and we'll do lunch. My treat this time.