Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Tough Old Hen

This old hen's not going to be scared away from the sunflower seeds by a squirrel.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

More Pruning Pics

We have a Pound apple tree in the yard that produces a large green apple, not an "eater", more of a cooking apple. Most years the apples rot under the tree so this year I've decided to take some "radical" action. I've cut off most of the big limbs which will promote "water spouts" to grow this summer. Next spring I'll select the spouts that are growing in a suitable direction and graft some variety of fresh eating apple on to them. Although it looks sever apples are very resilient and I have no doubt that this tree will produce the growth I need to graft to next spring.
This is an Westfield-Seek-No-Further apple tree that I planted in the late 80's. I neglected pruning it for too many years. I bought a Silky pole saw last spring and have been slowly thinning branches that are crossing other branches or growing inward. The Silky saw has been one of the best "investments" I've made for the orchards.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Orchard Chores

Now that the hunting season is just a memory I've started pruning my apple trees and cutting scion wood for grafting later this spring. Since the majority of my apple trees are just 2 years old the pruning is pretty simply. Selecting limbs with good wide crotch angles and removing the ones with poor angles.

I took advantage of a warm sunny day and cut some scion wood, the growth from last year that is best to graft with. It's essential to mark your scion as soon as you cut it to keep from mislabeling it.
I swap scion with other grafting "addicts" via the internet to get varieties that I want to try. There are also several orchards scattered across the country that sell scion wood.
As I wrap up my pruning and scion cutting my thoughts drift to the woodcock who will passing through in several weeks. Hopefully I'll have pics of Emma and Thicket enjoying the aroma of the little russeted gypsies as they filter through my coverts.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sharing a snack

Emma and Thicket sharing some dog chow with the cochin bantams.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Warm Day

As the temperature rose above 50 degrees on Sunday the bees became active. Making their cleansing flights and removing bees who had died in the hive.

With all the pushing and shoving going on I removed the entrance reducer (used to limit the amount of cold air entering the hive) to give them more room to carry out their chores.

We're pleased to see that they seem to have made it through this much of the winter successfully and are looking forward to a good crop of honey next fall.