Friday, June 17, 2016

Late spring report 2016

   After a stretch of cool, damp weather it has turned pleasant and dry and sunny. Oddly, although the light red kidney, black coco, and kenearly dry beans that I planted on June 3 emerged in good stands, the provider snap beans emerged poorly and I had to replant yesterday. The levi robinson snaps also required replanting. I say oddly because provider is noted for good early, cool soil emergence. The seeds were grown in 2014, though, so perhaps they don't keep well. The dry bean seeds all were grown last year, as were the levi robinson.
    Levi robinson is a rare variety, grown (as far as I can tell) only in Maine. I got my seeds from the Waldoboro school seed project many years ago, and have been saving them ever since. Their chief good attribute is their excellent flavor. They are strong growers, as a rule, also. They have a smaller second (post-picking) crop than other beans, and they are not as prolific as some; also, they are only average-tasting after freezing. Good sized, stringless, and delicious when fresh. There is a variety called levi that is commonly available as a shell and dry bean, but it is different from this one. Back in the pre-internet days when I belonged to the Seed Savers Exchange, I offered levi robinson but the Exchange mistakenly listed my offering as levi. That was one among a few reasons why I dropped my membership.
   The mild weather has been kind to the broccoli, which requires a cool June if it is going to head up well. A hot spell will result in premature, small heads and a short life.
   The white-throated sparrow, which had been a permanent resident in this part of the island, seems to have been displaced, in the past three years or so, by the song sparrow. These latter behave much as the white-throats, even to the point of nesting in the tall grass by the porch at the rear of the house. Although phoebes had nested here, in the eave of the porch two years ago, and inside the barn last year, they are not nesting here this year. Fewer hermit thrushes are singing at dusk, perhaps because the weather has been so cool in the evenings--almost no nights above fifty degrees F. More bluejays than in past years, slightly fewer crows, and about the same number of warblers. The raucous cry of the pileated woodpecker can be heard from time to time, but I hear fewer downy and hairy woodpeckers knocking on the black locust trees than in past years. Robins, chickadees, nuthatches and goldfinches, the major songbird species here, are ubiquitous as usual.
    I've been doing some outdoor chores in the afternoons in the mild weather. I reserve the mornings for writing, but the afternoons are variable and recently I've been repairing things that I had installed or built or repiared in earlier years. One thinks on making a repair that it will last, and it is unnerving to find out that occasionally it needs to be re-done years later.
Golden Russet apple tree in bloom, May 30, 2016
    This was a good blossom year for the apple trees, and it appears as if the bees were busy pollinating. Depending on what happens during the rest of the season, this could once again be a good year for apples. It's unusual to have two good years in a row. Last year there were more apples on the trees even than in 1995 which was the previous record year, and when we pressed more than a 55-gallon oak barrel could hold.

No comments:

Post a Comment