Oh those apples

It’s 9:15 Wed. eve. and I just got in from spraying the apple orchard. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow and because of all this wind it’s been hard to find to find a non- windy morning to spray. I wanted to get a protective spray on before the impending rain [which will create another fungal infection period]. I’d much prefer to spray in the morning. My energy is better and I like to have daylight to see what I’m doing.It’s good to be alert because there are plenty of things that take careful attention. The tractor used for this activity is about 35 years old and has more than just a few issues. So, I had to jump the battery to get it started.It’s not the first time that this has been needed but then I don’t normally spray at night. Now it’s dawning on me that we must have a charging issue. On my second trip to the orchard I discovered that the lights were just barely working and it’s getting dark! When you’re outside for any length of time your eyes adjust to the light [or lack of it] it but it certainly helps to have a little help from the moon. No such luck-1/4 moon tonight. The rows are mighty close and long and I’m sure hoping I didn’t wipe out any branches with the tractor tires. I’m thankful that I have such an intimate relationship with the apple orchard. I’ve spent a lot of hours and years pruning these trees, driving the rows and picking the fruit. Thank goodness-because there is no stopping once you’ve commited to filling the spray tank. The few flowers still on the trees helped to guide the way. It’s amazing how even dandelion flowers seem to almost glow in the dark.Well I made it! Getting the tractor parked in the shed without lights was a lot of fun too. Even with functional lights you have to watch what you’re doing so as not to hit all the other stuff parked in there.
I’m hoping all this effort results in wonderful fruit! It’s been such a topsy turvy growing year so far that its hard to judge what to do based on former years. We rely heavily on our IPM traps to help indicate when we might have a pest population that needs to be dealt with.The tufted apple bud moths[TABM] were what had my attention tonight. By using these traps and pharamone mating distruptants we can minimize the amount of chemicals in the environment. I’ve discovered that nobody likes wormy apples. If everyone could tolerate a little less beauty in the fruit we eat there could be dramatically less pesticides in the environment.
Anyway, I’m happy to move on to a shower and some diner. Tomorrow is another day. Perhaps it will have a tad less adventure. I’m sure we’ll be spending a bit of time under the hood of our old David Brown tractor. We call it/him “David” for short.
Farmer Karen