Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Waiting to Exhale......

Peach Blossom

Peach Fruit

This is the time of year out here JOTOLR when we hold our collective breath awaiting the day when we can say for sure--or almost for sure--that we'll have fruit this year.  We're at an elevation that allows late--as in VERY late--frosts and freezes to niggle their way into our production schedules. 


We eat seasonally.  Meaning:  we don't consume grapes from Chile, or strawberries from California; or apples from everywhere else.  We wait for our own to ripen in the fall, whereupon we gorge ourselves on the crisp, succulent fresh fruit of our own trees, and then bottle that which we're unable to consume fresh, for enjoyment over the long winter.  We have around ten apple trees, each a different variety so we can expect varying ripening times; the same goes for our plums, peaches, pears; we also have one nectarine, two apricots which have never--in fifteen years--made it through the late killing frosts; plus strawberries and thornless blackberries.

The Pears

But a frost--even a freeze--can come as late as the last week in May here.  So we still have a few weeks to go before we can declare the fruit safe.  Then, of course, too, is the possibility of hail throughout the long summer, when thunderstorms can take on a very angry and destructive face, and wreak havoc on the soft fruits--plums, peaches, and nectarine.

The Plums

Of course, the shriveling blossoms on the plum tree below indicate that we at least have the start of a fruit crop, here....it indicates, too, that the weather during the oh-so-brief  pollinating season, was warm enough and sustained enough to make sure the bees, the mason bees, the bumblebees...and all such likely friends of the farmer, had both the needed time and temperature to gather nectar and pollen and --not least--pollinate the blossoms.  An intricate dance to be sure.  There have been times when sun and warmth has been lacking, resulting in a "poor" fruit crop; one recent year, ice storms broke limbs, and killed several of our fruit trees, and left us with no fruit at all for one year.  We relied on our holdover canned fruit from the previous year.  That is why we usually put up more than we can consume in one winter.  And, we never take our fruit for granted.

Plum Fruit in the making...

So, we wait....and we wait.....as blossoms first emerge, endure frosts and freezes, and finally (we hope) reveal the tiny orbs on the plums, the peaches, the pears, the nectarines, the apples, the strawberries -- declaring that winter has finally fled, and we have a positive fruit set.  So far this year, so good.  Six weeks to go before we can declare absolute success....waiting to exhale.

The Apples


  1. Just lovely Elora - I was out visiting my in-laws farm last weekend and I really felt the change in the seasons :)

  2. Hey, Elora! Loved your post about the old cars and the adventure to visit your in-laws. I just have the feeling that MM and I would get along very well with your husband's parents!

    Thanks much! I am so behind on comments! Feel like I am in quicksand!


  3. Beautiful photos! We are in a major fruit growing district and there is never a sight so lovely and so nerve wracking as spring blossom on fruit trees.
    We rarely see hail though as most of the orchadists operate hail cannons throughout the critical times which breaks it up before it has a chance to do damage. Fingers crossed for your crop that you don't get any more frosts :-)

  4. I live in hope of a successful apple crop but can usually rely on the blackcurrants from which I get enough to make jam. We have raspberries too but I have to share them with the birds and they are more of a garden snack than a proper crop. Blackberries can be picked wild but last year there were very few around here.That's what you get for being up in the hills.

  5. Beautiful blossoms! Fingers crossed for no frost for the rest of the Spring.