Saturday, March 18, 2017

March Photo A Day 18 - Hope


Unless a tree has borne blossoms in spring, 
you will vainly look for fruit on it in autumn. 

~ Walter Scott

As we drove to town today, I could see that the orchards had the slight haze of red that indicates that buds are swelling.  This is a vulnerable time in the orchard.  As buds swell, they become more susceptible to frost damage.  Here in our northern hills, several more frosts, a few hard freezes, and more snow are a near certainty at this time of year.  Today's Photo A Day prompt is "Hope," and as I see the buds swell, I hope for a gentle spring that eases the orchards into bloom at just the right time. 

Our own home orchard is a small endeavor.  We have a few trees each of almonds, apricots, plums, apples, cherries, pears and peaches, within the garden enclosure.  There are grape vines and a large patch of strawberries, as well as a few blueberry bushes.  Outside of the garden, blackberries run rampant in the woods and there are several ancient apple trees, still offering generous amounts of fruit each autumn.  The young trees within the garden are just entering their fruit bearing years, and so are more tentative, less voluptuous, in their offerings.

In the midst of winter, we pruned the fruit trees and vines.  In the spring, we will protect them as much as possible, tossing frost covers over the grape vines and strawberries, our two most abundant fruit crops, at the very least.  Through the summer, we will harvest the earlier fruit and guard the later harvests against insect invaders.  Raccoons are particularly fond of peaches and pretty crafty about getting under our garden fence, and last year ants found our peaches just before we determined that they were ripe enough to pick.  Fruit growing is a continual, nearly 4-season, engagement of vigilance and innovation, intuition and application.  

I am especially appreciative of the wild blackberries and ancient apples, because we just ignore them until it is time to harvest.  It gives me a thrill to live on such a bountiful earth, during those hot summer days in the blackberry bramble!  Now, in Middle March, I walk quietly in the sleeping orchard, filled with hope and happy expectation.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you something to look forward to.


More about the Photo A Day Challenge here. Tomorrow's prompt, Order.

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Sandra Cox said...

Oh, Marcie, your orchard sounds wondrous.

Out on the prairie said...

Hope all take hold and survive the cold

Cat Lover said...

What a lovely post Marcie! I come from a fruit farming family and know of all the dangers to the trees you talk about. The end result is worth all the work though.
Have a good week!