Rain. I think I have a conditional love for Rain. I say that when I reflect on unconditional love for my family…you love them endlessly no matter what the situation. Well, not so with Rain which I want to turn on in my life when I need it and off when I don’t. But Rain from the sky is not a faucet and cannot, despite all our feeble efforts, be lessened in a flood or prodded in a drought. Perhaps it is because I can’t control Rain that I have a much deeper relationship with it; more so, anyway, than most of my acquaintances who mostly go on with their lives with little or no connection to the current weather.
Two weeks ago we were hoping for the proliferation of spring Rain in our area to end so that we could get our fields planted. Our wish was granted…we finally had a couple of gorgeous weeks when the Rain let up, the fields dried out enough for us to get lots of work done, i.e. many crops planted or otherwise tended to. So we toiled away until we were too tired each night to do much more than nod at each other in a congratulatory way, knowing that we had gotten more done, like a team of oxen harnessed together (my dad would have said mules!), than either of us could have imagined had we worked alone…this, because we were Rain free.
Then we heard the prediction of the next Rain to come, the anticipation of which is like an acceleration on ones work ethic! With a day or two to get something done before the next onslaught of Rain, one works tirelessly at accomplishing small and large tasks. No more were we plodding oxen, but rather like squirrels with twitching tails, setting off here and there to get our lists accomplished.
So last week, under gorgeous spring conditions, we managed to plant (as you know from the previous post) the grapes which are doing well with each of the 6 dry root plants now showing signs of life. These plants are very hard to photograph at this stage so you will just have to take my word for it!
In addition to that, we renovated the strawberry field by re-arranging a couple of rows of plants. Ever since we plotted this field, I’ve been sorry that we didn’t plant this crop in raised berms. So, with the idea of adding new strawberry plants on a continual basis to supplement the old, we decided to re-work our two worst rows of plants by digging up the existing, (albeit meager) strawberry sets and transplanting them to higher ground in other rows, and then devising to plant new rows of strawberries after creating berms in that field. LOTS OF WORK TO DO THIS!!! But, here are the two new rows ready to go with one of the rows showing the dry root plants sitting on top, ready to nestle into place.
Our strawberries are all June bearing plants (vs. ever bearing) that we obtained from Stark Brothers. We have been very pleased with these and find June bearing to be the best for our purposes since the crop comes in and we are flush with berries during berry season but then done with this task while the rest of the summer crops demand our attention. The ever bearing type of plant would mean a piddly amount of berries on an ongoing basis that I would find to be a pain while my attention was needed elsewhere. (Our blueberries, by the way, ripen over a 3 month period and demand plenty of attention but are easier in that they keep on the “vine” longer as well as in the refrigerator and are easier to freeze.) Despite renovations elsewhere in the field, the rest of the berry patch has ripening berries! Again, Rain will determine when we can get out to harvest and how fast/long we can wait until picking these!
Here is the link to the Honeoye variety. http://www.starkbros.com/products/berry-plants/strawberry-plants/honeoye-strawberry-june-bearer.
Here is the link to the Jewel variety. http://www.starkbros.com/products/berry-plants/strawberry-plants/jewel-strawberry
The blueberries are also benefiting from the Rain, showing fruits galore on all the plants. Unfortunately, as in years past, we had a dear black snake get caught up in the blueberry netting and we had to cut his lifeless remains out of the mess. Luckily, despite this loss, on the same day I found another relative of his slithering from the driveway to the grass. With an infestation of voles http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7439.html (ugh!) last year, we are ready for some aggressive predators! The fruit trees are doing well despite the discovery this week of a web of caterpillars in one of the apple trees in the South orchard. Needless to say, they met a quick demise after I punctured their web. I did let out a yelp at this discovery, as you could imagine but quickly disposed of these invaders! Here are the lovely nectarines on their way to producing future fruits! And the Peaches…The peas and potatoes look like they are off to a great start as well and are enjoying the Rain. Here are some of the potatoes. In addition to fruits and veggies, I worked on the front flower beds to weed and feed them this week as well as plant a few perennials at the side entrance. I realized I had “peony envy” and added these plants…. after plucking these gorgeous blooms from Kate and Jason’s yard this week before the Rain could damage them. The bee report is slim this week after the swarm capture even tho Jurgen did some maintenance and all is well with the bees for now.
The Rain the last couple of days did allow Nana and Gramps to assemble the crib for the Seven Oaks Farm nursery! This was the best part of the Recent Rain condition! Here is the finished crib in the nursery. Note the Rocking Cow to the left, (Williams College mascot, thanks to Kate’s dear friend Robin Young Bliss) which we are safe keeping until the Ward family gets settled in to their new home! Baby Coulter has a growing fan club so I must include some pics of him here. He was two weeks old last Wednesday and already attended his first volley ball championship which his dad, the coach, handily won with his team. Cal was so excited, they had to calm him down with a binky!He is such a mellow fellow. Here he is enjoying a recent moment in his monkey-toed onesie! Those eyes are just so transfixed! We can’t wait to welcome the Ward family here soon! Happy Mother’s Day to all, but especially to new mother, daughter, Kate! By the way, it is Raining now, which is why I was able to find time to write this post!