Saturday, May 26, 2007

Yellow Transparent Tales

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A beautiful day here at Vermont Flower Farm with a clear sky and bright sun that already has pushed the temperature to 78.3. The humidity does not set well with me knowing what has to be accomplished today but summer in Vermont is short and we have no choice but to acccept each day.

I keep rubbing my eyes hoping that they'll adjust to lack of sleep and the long list of things which absolutely have to happen today. Our daylily friends from Morrisville were here for dinner last night and our conversations on until 11 made a long day lead to a short night's sleep. We might still be talking save for Karl, the wonderdog's disruptive barking at what was probably directed at Mr or Mrs Bear coming through the back woods to check out the gas grill.

Bears are being seen with more and more frequency and I have heard three different stories of encounters this very week. Black bears are a fun animal to see if you have never seen one but caution is critical. These are not friendly cirtters like the ones emulated at Vermont Teddy Bear Company in Shelburne. Many Vermonters have never even seen one before but as a whole the bear population is increasing and the chance of seeing one has become more likely. There is less hunting and more disruptions to their habitat .........and just plain more bears. Multiple births have been common in recent years and that translates to more bears per square mile and more bears in your back yard, even if you live in a Vermont country town or city.

I have to say that they adapt too well to domestic life and a free meal only entices them to come and stay. They carry a little automated address book and enter every place that good food can be found. They refer to it often and return time and again to dine. Trouble is they have a bit of arrogance to them and want us to think they are in control of everything. Anything that has big teeth and claws, lots of hair, a musky odor and weighs more than me (wow!) can control what it pleases.

Speaking of arrogance, Gail reminds me often that I occasionaly display a lack of respect for others in this family by doing things head strong that make no sense. The yellow transparent apple out front is an example. Today it is in full bloom and covered with bumble bees and flower bees. Sadly, there isn't a honey bee to be found. If even half the blossoms turn to apples by summer, the tree will probably fall over. Right now it is an interesting sense factory of sound, fragrance and picture to be enjoyed by all.

Three years ago now the tree was in serious shape. If you leaned against it, it headed south. Although it was over 15 years old, the previous owner had put aluminun foil around the base to discourage mice and voles from winter meals of apple cambium. Not! The foil offered a place for insects and the tree was diseased and had a very limited vascular network that was keeping it alive.

One day Gail and Alex were gone and I decided to "save" the tree or eliminate it and be done with the problem. I put the ladder up towards the top and as I climbed, the tree began to move away from each careful step. For some reason, an internal need to become a bonsai artist kicked in and I began to trim each limb into a Dr. Suess type tree that resembled an absurdly clipped poodle. When I finshed the tree was still weak and the ground was deep in prunings.

When Gail and Alex returned that went from "Hi, what kind of day did you have?" to "What are you, some kind of nut?" all in a blink. They didn't care for my pruning. I could tell by Alex's face that he was thinking one of those "Friends don't let friends prune trees." thoughts but it was over and there was no way except by film that you could turn back the event.

Today the tree is strong and it really needs another pruning. By taking off so much excess, the tree apparently established a renewed root system and it's as strong as an ox now. It no longer looks like a Dr. Suess tree although I rather liked it that way. Customers can't stop by now and ask "What exactly is that thing?" and Gail and Alex are relieved. Admittedly Alex likes to see me grovel in past defeat and he is compelled at times to relive the story for visitors. Without having been here, you have no idea what I did. If you taste a good applesauce with these apples and a couple macs, the events of the past fade.

The thermometer in front of me now reads 88.1. It's rising quickly and I have to get going here. Some of the gardens still need to be cleaned up but the place is shaping up and it deserves a visit soon. The hostas should unfurl today and I expect the first trollius will bloom by Monday. If you're out and about this weekend, stop by. As you pull into the drive, look ahead and to the right of the walk to the house. Nice apple tree!

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where a love struck partridge continues for how many days I can't remember to drum away. He is obviously either unsuccessful finding a mate or he has been so successful that he continues with the very same technique. To me it sounds like the old John Deere Model B 2 banger tractor getting started. Stop by and I'll share the sound with you.

Gardening wishes,

George Africa

1 comment:

Nicole said...

What a wonderful story about the tree. Beautiful pic, too. I don't think I've ever seen an apple tree in blossom, so its All very exotic to me in the Caribbean!