Monday, July 21, 2014

Linda's Flowers

  My sweet wife has been off in China somewhere doing volunteer work at an orphanage with our grand daughter, Rachel.  I took a few photos of some of Linda's flowers for inclusion in my blog so she could see what they looked like in their prime. At lest that way she can see what she missed. Her peony and the big  rhododendron tree out front both bloomed while she was in Rockville, Maryland visiting our daughter Lia.
A somewhat fuzzy photo of Linda's clematis

One of Linda's Hydrangeas coming into bloom 
Linda's other hydrangea

Lapins Sweet Cherry
    We're doing very well on fruit this year. I've never done so well with my sweet cherries as we have this year. I've bottled cherries, eaten cherries till I was actually getting tired of them, and invited several friends to come and pick cherries.  My best sweet cherry tree this year is an unknown variety. I purchased it from Home Depot labeled as a Montmorency Pie Cherry.  I know it isn't a Bing, Hudson, or a Lapins as it ripens a little later than the Lapins and a little before the Hudson.  I was contemplating replacing it with a pie cherry. Maybe it overheard me mention that to someone. Anyhow it was loaded with fruit. It has a tactical advantage over our other sweet cherry trees in that it is located further away from the Maples where the squirrels have their nests. The squirrels raid the Lapins pretty heavily, but never seem to get over to my unknown sweet cherry tree.

    I have two little pie cherry trees. One is a Morello type named Northstar. The morello pie cherries have a dark red juice so they make a very pretty pie. The other tree is a Montmorency pie cherry which has clear juice. Between the two trees I got enough pie cherries to make four cherry pies. I baked one cherry pie my grand daughter Autumn as a pie making lesson. I gave enough cherries for a pie to a good friend who came to pick sweet cherries.  I baked one cherry pie for myself and I still have one quart of frozen and pitted pie cherries in the freezer. Last year I only got enough pie cherries for two pies. The pie cherry trees are still fairly young so they are just starting to get serious about producing fruit.  I've considered replacing a few of my sweet cherry trees with additional pie cherry trees.  the pie cherries don't split if it rains, they are self fertile so pollination is less difficult, and they bloom a little later so it tends to be less rainy when they bloom.  Even in Western Washington pie cherries usually produce every year, whereas sweet cherries are more hit and miss. The main problem is that the two least productive cherry trees are holding up my hammock.

    Meanwhile, the vegetable garden is doing fairly well.  I have tomatoes ripening, pole beans running up their poles, zucchini and other squash setting fruit, and my Painted Mountain Flour Corn has started to tassle.  I have a second corn patch out back of Reid's Yellow Dent Corn. A good friend gave me the seeds so I thought I should try it. Unfortunately, our former dominant drake trampled a good part of the patch down flat as he was attempting to eliminate his two young rivals.  I was tired of all of his needless conflict so the corn patch was the final straw.  I added duck plucking to my "To Do" list and dispatched him on the spot.  Only a third of that corn patch survived. I planted potatoes in part of the newly opened space. The duck pen is much more peaceful now.  This wasn't his first offense.  We lost more than half of our ducklings earlier in the year due to his bad behavior.  I expected him to be tough as he was at least three years old. He turned out to be much more tender as a roast duck than he ever was as a father duck....

Linda's needy cat attempting to get me to stop picking cherries to pet her.
    One consistent problem whenever Linda is gone for a significant period is that her cat becomes extremely needy. After Linda has been absent for a few days, the cat starts following me around to demand petting. She picks some rather odd circumstances. In the above photo I was picking cherries at the top of a fourteen foot tall orchard ladder when the cat decided she needed petting and she needed it right now. I thought briefly about testing out that old saying about cats always landing on their feet.

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