June-uary. Mud season. Call it what you will, but it sure doesn’t seem like winter around here. Christmas and New Years have come and gone, our bakery is closed and the fruit market is on it’s last week. The trees are sleeping, and we’ve begun our annual pruning season. There is only one thing missing: snow. Where did winter go? *UPDATE* As of this morning, it looks like I am getting my wish!
Usually at this time of the year I find some days where it’s too cold or snowy to work out in the orchard. This year I’m getting rained out instead. So what does this do to the trees? Well, not too much really. They are still remaining in dormancy, although warmer weather will make them more susceptible to cold damage if we had a sudden cold snap of zero degrees. But looking at the forecast, I’m not too concerned about that in the near future.
The most often asked question we get this time of year is: “Are you going to Florida for the winter after you close next week?” The short answer is no. In the winter, while we aren’t as pushed to get things done as we are during the growing season, we still have plenty to do. We try to prune every tree every year here on the farm. It is a time consuming task, what with the thousands of fruit trees here. While the youngest trees only take a minute or two to prune into shape, some of the bigger, older trees can take 20 minutes or more to finish. Multiply that out and you will see why in March you’ll here us saying: “Where did the winter go?” I guess that’s the same question I asked at the beginning of this, only with a different meaning.
But we will get away from all of this sometime between now and April. It’s good to take some time to reflect and refresh after a busy season, and before the next one begins.
Beavers. Something new showed up on the farm in December: Beavers. In all of my life here, I have never seen a beaver on the farm. I guess I technically still have not seen one here, but as of late they have been cutting trees down like crazy where our farm borders the Grand River. And they are elusive critters! Only active at night. And despite many scouting trips to their new favorite area, the best I can come up with are night-time trail camera pictures from a neighbor of the tree chewing rascals. I don’t know what they have in mind, but it can’t be good. I guess that about the time you think you’ve seen it all, something comes along to prove you wrong!
Have a fruitful week!