Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Chores, Plain Busy

Monday, September 27, 2010

52° here on the mountain above Peacham Pond. Windless but rain pours off the roof, first as cats and dogs and then as drip-drip-drips. We are sort of in between right now with a gentle cadence of the drops by my office window. We needed rain and I like it more when it comes at night like this. A glance at the weather maps and there's little hope that we'll see sun until Wednesday so tomorrow's plans will need a little rearranging.

As fall arrives and our nursery is pretty much closed for the season, you can quite often find us on our hands and knees planting, weeding, moving--all in preparation for the next season. In today's world, many folks don't know what goes on behind the scenes of any business. Today it was more daylily work. Gail had new areas ready to plant based on varieties that were almost sold out or those which we must double and triple up on for next year. We probably planted 8 varieties today and prepared a similar number for later this week and yet the only one I can remember tonight is Vanilla Fluff. Tired!

With fall comes a self imposed mandate to do some things we want to do after a season that started April 1st and continued seven days a week until Labor Day. These are fun things that might not be too impressive to some but to us they are family oriented, educational, laughter generating, just-plain-fun things.

Last week we got to Burtt's Apple Orchard on Cabot Plains Road, Cabot Vermont. Cabot is the home of Cabot Creamery and some of the best cheese in the world. It's also the Burtt's home and their days of dairy farming have changed to beef cattle and pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, nice winter squash and great sweet corn. We go for their apples. Here are some pictures starting up top with secret (see white) beehives (honey, folks!) behind Macintosh apple trees.

Freedom Apples

Honeycrisp Apples

If you haven't seen state-of-the-art Vermont apple growing, it's worth a visit. Trees are planted 4 foot on center and are tied to 8 foot electrical conduit which floats off a ten foot wire rope kept taut with tensioners that are cranked tight to hold the weight. The tree leaders (think "Trunk") are encouraged to grow tall and the side limbs are trimmed at 3-4 feet wide. The fruit looks burdensome to the branches it is so abundant but this modern growing arrangement really works. Seeing it is easier than trying to figure out my description but eating a Honeycrisp apple is something you have to do personally.

In the next couple weeks things will draw to a close and Columbus Day will be the last day we'll entertain customers or visitors except by special arrangement. We're spending a day up north at the Old Stone House Museum and at a couple historical societies. Another day we'll scoot down to Proctor to see the Marble Museum and quarry, and before the end of October we'll visit Shelburne Museum and see theAnsel Adams and Edward Burtynsky visiting exhibit. Before the snow begins to fly we'll cover a few more back roads as we relax from a busy season. Nothing special, just getting out and seeing part of what makes Vermont so special.

Writing from the mountain where I think I heard thunder over Karl the Wonder Dog's snoring. I think.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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