Friday, February 19, 2010

Orchard in Bloom

A lot of the orchard's trees started blooming this past week.  White and pink flowered plum and peach trees are spread throughout the orchard.  The apple, pear and persimmon trees will be later to bloom, just as their fruit is ready later, also.   The fruit stand is still open regular hours, and people are free to come visit the orchard any time we're open.  It's a nice time to come out and take a walk.  The fruit stand produce variety is at its minimum because only a few fruits are in season.

Here's what's at the Fruit Stand now:

  • Grapefruit--white variety
  • Oranges--navel
  • Lemons--Meyer, Eureka
  • Asian Pear--okusankichi (small quantity left)
  • Kiwi--small quantity left
  • dehydrated fruit from our orchard
  • Eggs
  • Honey--raw, untreated honey from bees at our orchard
  • Firewood--seasoned firewood (peach, plum, pear, persimmon)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chickens and Eggs

This  past weekend we found that two of our new chickens have been laying clutches of eggs around the orchard.  Near the house Viviano discovered a nest of blue-green eggs (in the photo at left).  We have since noticed that one of the new Americana chickens named "Ruby" runs straight out to this nest every morning as soon as she gets let out to lay a new egg there.

One of the new black sex-link chickens also had a clutch of eggs at the back of the garage that she had been laying.  On Monday night she didn't return to the chicken dome with the other chickens and instead stayed out to sit on her eggs.  She's been sitting on the nest since then, so it seems that she's trying to hatch them now.  This chicken chose a semi-protected spot in the tall grass next to the building, inside a roll of chicken wire that was lying on its side to make her nest.  To help keep the rain off I leaned an old piece of a fiberglass shower wall against the building above her.  Hopefully a coyote doesn't want to bother with coming so close to the house and getting through the chicken wire to eat her during the three weeks she'll have to be sitting there on the nest. 

Above you can also see Viviano offering grass to the new Maran hen at the edge of the garden.  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Budding Branches

Above you can see a branch on a plum tree, with blossoms just about to burst open. The ume (Japanese sour plum) trees were the first to blossom a few weeks ago. When you walk under the ume tree by the house you can hear it buzzing with bees.

It has rained quite a bit during the past few weeks. After about 3 years of low rainfall, it seems that the rainfall in our area is now at about average for this time of year. Lately we've been spending time pruning the trees, raking brush and preparing garden beds. We just got in an order of new trees this weekend, so soon we'll have to start planting them in the orchard.

Here's what's at the Fruit Stand now:

  • Mandarins--owari satsuma (very last ones)
  • Oranges--navel
  •  Grapefruit--white variety
  •  Lemons--Meyer, Eureka
  •  Asian Pear--okusankichi
  •  Kiwi
  •  Apples--Pippin
  •  Eggs
  •  Honey--raw, untreated honey from bees at our orchard
  •  Firewood--seasoned firewood (peach, plum, pear, persimmon)

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