Sunday, 15 November 2015

Mother Nature is cracking the whip!

It has been a hectic time for us here on Our Mates’ Farm.  We have spent the last few months frantically ticking things off our to-do list, and I think October was our record for the most things achieved on the whiteboard in a month.

The driver behind the manic nature of our work schedule has been Mother Nature herself, with everything just bursting with energy and growth.  All that pruning you didn’t get to over winter?  Here comes another burst of new growth to shade the interior of those trees.  A heavy day of rain?  You better get on that tractor and put a spray out because you can bet apple scab spores will be parachuting onto your new leaves.

Those heavy winds aren’t a problem until your grafts are covered with leaves and you remember that not all of them are clipped to the trellis wire.

“Honey, can you remember when Barry the boar was in with the sows?”  “Hmmm, let me check the note, oh crap, it was just under 4 months ago, we had better get ready for piglets!”

Piglets?  We now have 20!

Blackbutt and Spot

So it has been more than a little crazy this spring, and it promises not to slow.  We have a lot of fruit set on our Galas, and while you can’t put more fruit on if you don’t have it, we have our work cut out to thin the apples down to a reasonable number that the trees can support, while at the same time growing the apples to a decent size.  We hope to have a good crop, and it is looking like our pest control measures have improved in leaps and bounds since last year.  There is no doubt that the new equipment we purchased, paired with close observation, traps and some incredible mentoring by Neil Fuller at Surges Bay and Andrew Smith at R&R Smith has helped no end in this regard.

Lots of fruit this season
The grafts that we put on last year were astonishing in their growth, and are full of promise for the coming season.  They will need a lot of care, but being around new trees fills you with such hope and energy it doesn’t feel like work.

This year's grafts doing their best to catch up with last year's!

Finally, our polytunnel is bearing crop after crop of food for our table.  We had forgotten what it was like to grow our own veges, and having the polytunnel and garden beds has reminded us that THIS is why we wanted land in the first place.  It has been a salve for my soul after those long days of work trying to keep up with Mother Nature in the orchard.

The polytunnel is pumping out food

The ingredients for today's lunch, with a couple of our eggs and Trev's goat milk fetta, heaven!

But enough of that guff, here are some more photos from this spring.  Also compare the orchard photos to the ones in the previous post, truly amazing!

Getting a spray on

The orchard looking flush with growth

We spent 3 days cutting up and curing a couple of our pigs

I spent a bit of time finishing the deck play area for Julian

Speaking of spring growth, look at this little fella go!