Archive for the ‘Crops – Fruits’ Category
Now with the snow gone and all, it’s time for a walk around the farm to see what’s up.
The plums are usually one of the first out of the gate.
This pear is just starting to bloom, while another variety has already finished.
This one’s just peachy!
Apples are a bit behind the rest of the gang.
This cherry tree was blown horizontal in a storm two years ago and I didn’t have the heart to take it out, and it looks like it’s making a case to stay, even though the trunk is horizontal – easy picking from the top of the tree!
A close-up of the cherry blossoms.
Mushroom logs are beginning to set fruit as well.
Garlic is looking on target as well.
Who says peaches don’t grow in Iowa?
Unfortunately, these peaches represent about 25% of the peach harvest, or any fruit tree harvest for that case. All the plums, cherries, and most the peaches were lost in the May frost. If we’re lucky we’ll get a half-dozen apples as well. So, this won’t be a big jam or canned fruit year.
Blackberries are one of the few success stories so far this season. The bushes erupted full of berries, so I’ve been trying to keep them watered, in order not to squander the harvest.
This bowl is destined for the freezer and is about 1/6 of what we’ll need for a fine batch of blackberry wine. Last year we gave 18 pounds of raspberries and were returned months later with 24 bottles of a nice, dry raspberry wine. I’m not a fan of the sweet fruit wines, but our vinter did a good job making a dry wine.
The peaches are in full bloom.
Flowering is about five weeks ahead of normal. The last two years the peaches were in full bloom on May 8 and May12. Linda’s walking into class, delivering her lecture and thinking that the class is way behind, because usually when things look like this, it is near the end of the school year.
From the “oh well, good thing I never got around to it department” this cherry tree that was flattened by last July’s storm (and I haven’t got around to cutting “down” yet) decided it feels good enough to boom profusely. It will be easy to pick cherries this year from this tree!
The first fruit tree blossoms decided to unfurl the last few days.
This plum is first out of the gate.
Just for a reminder – here’s a shot from exactly today four years ago today!
And this is a shot of our road from earlier in March 2008. All the 80 degree days this March have made snowy Marches a memory.
It was a good Sunday. I had been pretty much cooped up working indoors the last few weeks, so I was looking forward to a nice day outdoors. Today was double-duty farm work. It was time to boil down 15 gallons of maple sap and begin pruning the fruit trees.
Here’s the world famous mobile sugar shack. An old barrel stove on a metal wagon that can be moved around to account for the wind – and it was windy today – near wind advisory criteria. This photo pretty much shows it all. Cart with wood, buckets with sap, coffee cup, willing boy, stove and evaporator pan a bubbling, and maple tree with container in the background.
Today’s enterprise is uber-sustainable. The wood is from the storm last summer, the plastic cartons that use the sap will be converted to tomato shelters in a few months, and the leftover logs that hadn’t burned all the way were snuffed out for some biochar. To top it off, we produced more electricity than we used.
While we wait, it’s a good time to begin pruning the fruit trees. Martin starts on this one that needs some attention.
But eventually, the kids tuckers out and finds a makeshift resting place in the branches of an apple tree.
We’ve been working at preserving the early Williams Pride apples. It’s a wonderfully tart and sweet apple that ripens this time of year.
So far, from just one tree, we’ve put up 18 quarts of apple pie filling, and numerous bags of dehydrated apples, and eight gallons of frozen sliced apples, awaiting another later variety to make applesauce next month. There’s still a good number of apples left on the tree for more applesauce fixins. Oh yeah, I also found some blueberries at the store for 99 cents a box, so since we missed out on the berries up north, froze about half and canned the other half.
But by far, the best concoction is the apple pie filling. It’s a bit of a hassle to make, but all Linda has to do is make a crust, pour in the filling and bake. Great for potlucks and last minute desserts with little fuss.
The little peach tree that could. This little guy wants to produce so bad – he’s a real overachiever!
All these peaches on a tree that’s just been in the ground 2-3 years. This is one candidate for some serious fruit culling to match the size of the tree to its fruit production.
Finally, the first succulent fruits of the year are here!
The strawberries are here and nothing like sun-warmed ripe strawberries off the vine (except maybe sun-warmed peaches of the tree).
Now that the cold spring weather has broken, the buds that were just waiting, are hiding no longer.
The peaches are blooming profusely.
Too bad, the fragrance doesn’t go along with the the photos.
Spring might be here. After the long, cool wind-up, I’m not yet holding my breath.
I can’t recall the maple helicopters being so brilliant red in year’s past. Maybe it’s the cold?
Usually by mid-to late April the apple blossoms are about ready to avail themselves to the bees.
Despite a couple of 85 degree plus Sundays in April, the rest of the month is just short of miserable. We should be in the mid-60′s by now, but it seems many days it struggles to reach 50.
Most everything seems to be in suspended animation. This asparagus is purple because of the cold and hasn’t shown appreciable growth in a week since it poked out.
Fruit tree buds, like these plums, are likewise, just holding steady and not advancing like they usually do. Last year the plum trees were in full bloom on April 14 – looks like this year could be two weeks or more behind last year’s blooming time.
Despite being the 8th warmest March on record on a global scale, we did not contribute to that warmth. There’s blue dots over us. April will likely be even much colder from average than March.
It’s time to kill two birds with one stone. Martin likes to climb trees. Dad needs the fruit trees pruned. So, it must be time to instruct Martin on the fine art of fruit tree pruning.
We just got a start on the pruning, but at least a few trees are pruned.
OK, it’s back to Iowa farm-grown produce. Today, we feature lemons. I neglected to post these back over Christmas break, when the lemon harvest began in earnest.
Yes, these lemons were grown at High Hopes Gardens, albeit indoors for some of the year.
Claire shows no remorse shortly after ripping these baby lemons from her long-time companion lemon tree, named Panda. Being raised on a farm, and around farm animals, I guess she had no troubles tearing this lemon from its mother and immediately cutting it up.
The non-meringuey part of the pie.
The completed pie.
Never one to know when to stop making Panda feeling bad, here Claire returns with a sinister smile to taunt Panda with what her babies looked like after being knifed, crushed, and cooked!