Stopping by orchard on rainy morning

Posted on May 7, 2010

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Since it seems determined to s#%@ tonight, I headed over to Farrell Road to inspect Bob Haack’s nut orchard. I’d had an email from Bob saying that the chestnuts were leafing out, and that one of his heartnuts was flowering for the first time.  I wanted to capture it before Mama Nature pitched her hissy-fit. It would be a sort of Historical Document.

Cold misty rain fell as I picked my way through fallen burrs and wet grass.  “Bob 93” emerged from the mist.  The last time we saw the pride of the orchard, it was bare.  (I’m almost positive it’s Bob 93.  I’m bad at names and faces.  I apologize in advance if it’s Colossal 13Z2 or something like that.) 

The grafts made last month are sporting some nice healthy buds.

Catkins dangle from the Hansen’s Walnuts.  (I hope I haven’t confused walnuts and heartnuts.  I hope that’s not frostbite from last night’s freeze.   I am filled with hope.)

I’m pretty sure our next Historical Photo is the flowering heartnut.  Bob says the ripening nuts hang in heavy clusters like grapes.  (The name comes from the heart shape of the nuts.  I can hardly wait to see them.  They’re a natural for chocolate covering, eh?) 

The neighbors behind the Haacks’ have a hunting blind on their property. Imagine the view from there.

Imagine delectable venison on the hoof moving through the orchards below the blind. Haunch of venison already stuffed with Bob Haack’s chestnuts. Venison steaks already marinated in the neighbors’ cherries. Can you wonder that many farmers are enthusiastic hunters?

There’s more news from the orchard.  Bob’s going to plant 50 Saskatoon tree/shrubs at the bottom of the hill in a few weeks.  Diversify! he says, and sent a link to more details about the Saskatoon berry.  It turns out that one of the things Saskatoons (also called serviceberries or juneberries) are good for is making pemmican—venison jerky.  Heh heh.

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Posted in: Local foods