What’s Ripe 5 – August 5, 2020

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, honey bees, organic farming, organic fruit, Seattle Farmers Market, whats fresh on August 5, 2020 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Somehow we’re in August now.. moving right along. As usual this time of year we have a little dip in the quantity of fruit varieties right now. We still have a decent selection but it will pick up in the coming weeks. I’m sorry to write that not many peaches this week, but they look good for next. And no mulberries either, no time to pick and mostly because the trees seem to have slowed down their output, I think the hot weather we had last week stressed the trees a bit. The tomatoes and green beans are also showing signs of stress from the heat wave, more than likely they will recoup.

Shiro Plums

Good news is that we will have tomatoes this week. As mentioned, the flowers were damaged last week by the heat, but enough had already set that we’ll have some on Saturday. At this point we’ve decided not to list and offer them for preorder, but hope you won’t mind shopping for them at the market.

Snow Queen Nectarine

This week we’ll have:

Arctic Glo White Nectarine – $4.00/lb.
Snow Queen White Nectarine – $4.00/lb.
Balaton Pie Cherries – $8.00/lb. (limited quantity)
North Star Pie Cherries – $8.00/lb. (limited quantity)
Shiro Plum – $4.00/lb.
Santa Rosa Plum – $4.00/lb.
Dapple Dandy Pluot – $4.00/lb.
Tilton Apricot – $ 4.00/lb.
Romano Green Beans – $6.00/lb.
Honey- 20oz.NetWt. – $20.00

To order, send an email to :

We’ll send a Square invoice and you can pay through it.

Once again, thank you all for supporting us and waiting in line at the market and all the other inconveniences.

What’s Ripe 4 – July 29, 2020

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, honey bees, organic fruit, Seattle Farmers Market, whats fresh on July 29, 2020 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Greetings – Another week already! It’s hot and we’re doing our best to keep up with it all, and mostly we are. Hope you all are keeping cool and enjoying the season. Thanks again to our customers (and others) who wait in line to get into the market, some of you are waiting over an hour! I hope conditions improve, but until then Thank you!

Dapple Dandy Pluot

This week we’ll have:
Balaton Pie Cheries – $8.00/lb.
North Star Pie Cherries – $8.00/lb.
Montmorency Pie Cherries – $8.00/lb.
Blenheim Apricots – $4.00/lb.
Santa Rosa Plums – $4.00/lb.
Dapple Dandy Pluots – $4.00/lb. (Delicious!)
Arctic Glo White Nectarine – $4.00/lb.
Romano Green Beans(!) – $6.00/lb.
Summer Squash – $3.00/lb.
Honey – $20.00/20oz.netwt.

To order, send an email to:
Please order by 8AM on Friday


I hope to have some Mulberries on Saturday, but at this point I haven’t had the time to pick them. This will be the last week for the Montmorency’s and I hope to have more peaches next week. The Dapple Dandy’s are part of our ‘ugly duckling’ series, I can’t detect any ‘cot in them, basically a great plum (reminiscent of a Elephant heart Plum) but not a super model-fruit. We have some great fruit that might be considered ugly, but we wouldn’t grow them if they weren’t tasty.

Arctic Glo Nectarine

Thanks and see you Saturday.

What’s Ripe 3 – July 22, 2020

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic farming, organic fruit, Seattle Farmers Market, whats fresh on July 22, 2020 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Hello- It’s really feeling like Summer over here with temperature in the 90’s. Good fruit and vegetable ripening weather.

This week we’ll have:
Montmorency Pie Cherries – $8.00/lb.
Balaton Pie Cherries – $8.00/lb
Rainer Cherries – $ 6.00 lb.
Bleinheim Apricots – $4.00/lb.
Santa Rosa Plums – $4.00/lb.
Springcrest Peaches – $ 4.00/lb.
Red Currants – $4.00 1/2 pint
Mulberries – $ 4.00 1/2 pint
Raspberries – $ 4.00 1/2 pint
Summer Squash – $3.00/lb.

To order send an email to:
There may be a few more things by Saturday.

Balaton Pie Cherries

We really appreciate you all for coming to the market and enduring the wait to get in and the other inconveniences due to the Covid thing, it means a lot to us. Thank you. See you this weekend.

Santa Rosa Plum

What’s Ripe 02

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic farming, organic fruit, Seattle Farmers Market, whats fresh on July 15, 2020 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Greetings- Was nice to see you all last weekend, thank you!

This week we’ll have:
Peaches, SpringCrest – $4.00/lb.
Montmorency Tart Cheries – $8.00/lb.
Rainer Cherries – $6.00/lb.
Mulberries – $4.00 1/2pt.
Red Currants – $4.00 1/2pt.
Raspberries – $4.00 1/2pt.
Summer Squash – $3.00/lb.
Honey – $20.00/pt.

If you’d like to preorder, send an email to:
and I’ll send you an invoice and you can pick it up at the University District market on Saturday.

We’re still just getting going, so not a whole lot of varieties yet. Next week I’m expecting Bleinheim Apricots, North Star and Balaton Pie Cherries, Gooseberries and Santa Rosa Plums. And probably more..
The bear is inching closer in every night, so we’ll have the afore mentioned fruit if we can keep him/her from eating it. Zora, our bear dog, is doing a great job keeping them moving along, but the bears are always hungry and persistent.
Thanks and see you on Saturday.

What’s Ripe 01

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic farming, organic fruit, Seattle Farmers Market, whats fresh on July 8, 2020 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Greetings- Due to the Covid 19 pandemic we are going to attempt to have more of a weekly pre order format to help expedite the time shoppers spend at the University District farmers market. One of our favorite things about the market is the time we spend with our customer/friends to visit, catch up, share recipes etc. So it does pain us to contemplate having to speed through our transactions and forgo the usual camaraderie, but considering the situation we’ll do what we need to. We are lucky to have the market there at all, THANK YOU to all the market employees and volunteers working hard to keep in going! As with everyone, we look forward to when things can get back to ‘normal’. For more info about the market and details: https://seattlefarmersmarkets.org/udfm

Pre ordering isn’t required, but if you care to read on.

This is what we’ll have on July 11 2020:
-Montmorency Pie Cherries $8.00/lb.
-Aprium and Eari-Blush Apricots $4.00/lb.
-Red & White Currants $4.00 -1/2 pint
-Mulberries $5.00 -1/2 pint
-Raspberries $4.00 -1/2 pint
-Summer Squash $3.00/lb.

If you’d like to pre order, email us at
We’ll send you an invoice where you can pay and confirm your order.

The next weeks we will have more Montmorencys and possibly North Star and Balalton Pie Cherries, more apricots; Bleinheim and Tiltons, Peaches, Red and Black Currants, and MORE! It’s starting out slow, as is usually the case, but if all goes well it looks to be fruitful Season. I look forward to seeing you all and THANK YOU! See you Saturday.

The Hummingbird Chicks Today 7 8 20

Market News

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic farming, organic fruit, whats fresh with tags on July 1, 2020 by Grouse Mt. Farm

This Saturday, the fourth, was scheduled to be our first market of this season, at the University District Farmers Market in Seattle. But as it usually turns out, the weather has cooled a bit and the fruit ripening has slowed, so we won’t be there this weekend but for sure (if I dare) be there the next weekend, July 11th.


We are going to try, through this blog to set up a way for anyone who cares to, to preorder with us. Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, we want to facilitate a speedier way to shop with us at the market. It isn’t necessary to preorder, we plan to be set up somewhat as usual, but since only so many people are allowed in the market space at on time, we’d like to make it as easy as possible to expedite flow.

Some of our cherry trees and motion sensors with radios and lights to deter bears.

My plan is to list what will be available the coming week and you can write us at:
to let us know what you want, we’ll send you an invoice through Square where you can pay, and then pick up your order at the market on Saturday. It may be a little bumpy at first while we’ll figure out what we’re doing. Feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions or requests.


I expect we’ll have Apricots, Apriums, Red, Black and White Currants, Summer Squash, maybe Pie Cherries (Montmorency), Mulberries. Next week I’ll post a more definitive list and prices. Thank you! And I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Humming Bird Nest in Pear Tree

Grafting 101.5 and We’re Still Here

Posted in farmers market, grafting, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic farming, organic fruit, Pruning, whats fresh with tags on May 12, 2020 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Today is May 12th, 2020. It’s been just about six years since my last post, we are still here and still farming and trying to deal with the current situation, which is of course the Corona Virus pandemic, or Covid19.  We’re planning on being at the University District Farmers Market this Summer and Fall but with the pandemic things have changed, not sure how it’ll work for us, but we do plan on being there. But before too much of that I want to finish the thread from six years ago, the pear tree grafting..


Here’s a photo of the Red Anjou pear I grafted six years ago, just post bloom. as you can see, it has grown a bit. We have gotten a little bit of fruit from it, but this year is its biggest bloom and potential crop (It’s still too early to tell how many of the blooms have set fruit). A couple more pics:



These grafts did pretty well. Last year or the year before I took off the bamboo poles and string I used to secure them. I try to prune it as if it were a regular tree, with that many scions put in, it’s easy to have too much growth in there. It’s been pruned so that there are three or four main leaders or main limbs, your basic open center tree.

We’re going to try, either here with this blog or another app or format to have a weekly list of what will be coming to the market to facilitate pre-orders to expedite the process at the newly configured market. As it is now, these are the  Neighborhood Farmers Market Associations   rules for the market as of today. Check the link for current information about  the markets.

We hope everyone is doing okay, we miss you all and look forward to seeing you in late June or Early July. It is going to be different, but it won’t last forever. Thanks.



Grafting 101.4 Follow Up – Aftercare

Posted in grafting, Grouse Mt. Farm with tags , , , on June 1, 2014 by Grouse Mt. Farm

It’s now late May/Early June and the pear grafts I did for the last post are growing well and preparation needs to be done to protect them from breaking out. If all goes as planned, the grafts will grow quite a bit this year and the graft union usually isn’t strong enough (especially with a bark graft) to support all the growth when the wind blows.

After a Little More Then a Month After Grafting

After a Little More Then a Month After Grafting

We had a good take, all the scions are growing. They could grow four to six feet in the first years growth, thats a lot of stress on the union. Some people nail supports to the tree and use twine or green nursery tape (my preference) to secure the new limb to the wood support. Instead of nailing in to the tree I tie the supports to it with twine. Figure which direction you’d like the graft to generally go, with the support (I use bamboo poles, 1″x 2″ wood or metal electrical conduit or tree branches will do) against the trunk and then tied around the tree to secure it, then tie the grafts to the supports, easy.

Tree With Supports

Tree With Supports

I like to leave the supports for at least a couple of years while the graft union grows and strengthens before removing the supports. Sometimes if, if the growth is strong, the new limbs will set fruit on the second or third year, heavier supports may be necessary for a season or two. Generally after four or five years supports are no longer needed.

Grafting 101.3 Start Cutting

Posted in grafting, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , on May 4, 2014 by Grouse Mt. Farm

We’ll start with grafting a pear tree. We decided that after many years it wasn’t very productive for all the years and inputs we put in to it, so graft it over to another variety. This tree is on the big side of what I’d recommend doing, but it can be done on bigger trees, but it’s more effective on smaller diameter trees. The main problem with doing big trees, is that with that much wood exposed, it has a higher probability of rotting until the grafts grow enough enough to cover the wound. On a smaller tree that might only take a season or two, depending on how well the graft does, vigor of the under stock, aftercare etc. But hopefully this will get the point across so it can be applied to varying diameters of trees.

As I’ve said before, grafting is a fairly simple and straight forward process, but it can be dangerous. The knives need to be very sharp and you have to cut through the wood with a fair amount of force, and restraint, and NOT cut yourself. It’s not hard for me to imagine seriously cutting or dismembering a digit, So: SAFTY FIRST!! Always cut away from yourself and know where the knife you are in relation to each other. The following pic is how I learned and has proved safe for me and many other grafters for years.

Recommended Method of Holding Scion Wood When Cutting a Graft

Recommended Method of Holding Scion Wood When Cutting a Graft

Notice that I’m holding the scion with my left hand held firmly held to my chest to stabilize it, while with my right hand holds the knife and pulls to my right to make the cut, away from me into space. Having the wood stabilized makes it much easier to make a good cut(s). Always cut away from yourself, whatever cutting you may be doing (kitchen knives, chisels, saws etc.), a rule to live by! I recommend gathering a pile of prunings (scion wood) and taking some time to practice making the cuts, over and over until you can make a fairly smooth flat cut and feel comfortable with it, like anything it does take practice. It’s too easy to make a faceted, not flat cut, which won’t work as well if at all, then a nice flat, smooth cut. Best if you can make the finish cut in one smooth motion. (It may take a few swipes to achieve the final cut)

On to the grafting: First you need to make the saw cuts and clean up the prunings, I recommend a fresh saw cut before proceeding . If you’re doing big tree, you can cut it down well before you graft, but leave the intended limb long and cut to the desired spot just before beginning to graft. Look for as smooth and straight a section to facilitate the process.

1. Cutting the Understock

1. Cutting the Under Stock, Notice the Bark Slipping From the Wood

This graft is called a Bark Graft, you need to wait until the bark is ‘slipping’, this is when the bark easily peels away from the wood, usually late March to early April here (North Central Washington State, USA). Make two vertical cuts through the bark about  the width of the scion wood you are using, if the bark is slipping it’ll peel right off the wood. With bark this thick and somewhat crusty it takes a bit of force to get through it. This cut is made with the bark knife, made from a Old Hickory type kitchen knife that has all but about 2 to 2 1/2″ cut off of it (check out the image in my previous post). I put scions about 3″ apart around the circumference of the tree, this helps to bring the callous around to begin the closing up of the wound.

First Cut on the Scion Wood, This Goes Against the Tree

First Cut on the Scion Wood, This Goes Against the Tree

Back Cut , This Side Goes Against the Bark

Back Cut , This Side Goes Against the Bark

Side View of the Scion

Side View of the Scion, Wedge Shaped

The above photos show how the scion looks after it’s cut, ready to be inserted into the cuts on the tree, or under-stock. As I mentioned earlier, you want a nice smooth, flat cut to achieve as much contact between the scion and tree as possible.

The Scion Inserted Under the Bark

The Scion Inserted Under the Bark

Scions all Inserted

Scions all Inserted

The above pics show the scions inserted and ready to wrap and paint. Notice the small ‘half moon’ portion of the scion cuts sticking just above the surface of the wood.

The Graft Wrapped

The Graft Wrapped…

And Painted

And Painted

To finish, the grafts need to be wrapped to secure them and hold them tight to the tree. Make sure there are no gaps in the taping and that it goes a bit below where the cuts start, to insure it won’t dry out. Then the paint, apply liberally around the scions and across the top of the tree, on a bigger tree we usually leave a unpainted spot in the middle in case it gets hot early and sap begins to flow, it gives it a place to escape. Push the paint down into the cuts and goop it a bit around scions. This paint works best in warm weather, it dries fast and smooth and elastic. In colder temps it can get a bit chalky. When ever you put it on, I recommend coming back in a day and re-apply to cover any cracks which may and likely will develop. Also, cap the scions with a dab of paint, but don’t cover the scions with paint, they’ll won’t breath and it ends up rotting them.

In a Couple of Weeks the Buds Will Begin to Push

In a Couple of Weeks the Buds Will Begin to Push

They will begin to show some action in a couple of weeks. Depending on how fast they grow, in late spring to early summer aftercare is important, to secure the the new, tender growth so the wind doesn’t blow them out. I’ll post more on that later.



Grafting 101.2 Tools

Posted in grafting, Grouse Mt. Farm, Pruning with tags , , on March 30, 2014 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Grafting is a fairly straight forward process, you don’t need many tools, but specific ones. Basically a sharp knife, or knives, depending on what kind of grafts you’re doing. I love tools so I try to use good quality and try to have what I need. If you’re only going to do a few grafts then using and/or modifying what you have may be the most prudent, rather then spend money on something you may not use again. Below is a picture of what I use when I graft.

Tools I Use For Grafting

Tools I Use For Grafting


Starting with saw, used to cut the tree (if the tree is bigger then a lopper could handle, or to not tear a branch up too much with a lopper). Some times a chain saw is in order if the tree is bigger, although you can cut a biggish tree with the hand saw, it makes for a much cleaner cut. Once again depending on how much there is to do and how much energy you care to or can put out. Then the loppers and hand shears, basic pruning tools used to clean branches out of the way and the hand cutters for the same and cutting scion wood to size, and useful all the time for work besides grafting. The tape we use is ‘grafting tape’, but it’s basically a vinyl tape. Some people use tape with adhesive which will work, some also use black electrical tape, which I discourage because of the excess heat generated by it in the heat of summer. I like 3/4″ or  1/2″ width, but sometimes it comes down to what you can find. The green nursery tape is widely available and works well. Basically you’ll be wrapping the cuts with the tape to cinch the grafts together and to keep the cut from drying out and to keep moisture and contaminants out as well. The yellow paint is also used to seal in and seal out, traditionally  a wax mixture was used, but we’ve found it difficult to keep it in the cut during the heat of summer, and not too easy to apply. We use Farwells Grafting Seal, available at nursery supply, hardware stores or on line. It washes off with water when still wet, but when it dries it’ll stick for years (don’t wear your best cloths when applying!) Not shown is a sharpening stone. It’s important to keep a keen edge on your blades, for ease of cutting and to keep tissue damage (on the scion wood) to a minimum. I prefer water stones over oil stones (oil and water refer to the liquid used to float the steel particles off the stone), my favorite are  combination 1200 and 4000 or 6000 grit water stones (wood working supply houses).

On to the knives: Having worked as a professional grafter I ended up making my own knives to suit my needs and because I couldn’t find what I wanted commercially. They are made from a old cross cut saw blade (the ones you might see with a painted mountain scene on it in a rural cafe) it’s good steel which holds a edge well. Short of that there are other options: Victorinox (Swiss Army Knife) makes a grafting knife which is the economical alternative to the Tina brand knife. I love my swiss army knife and carry it everywhere I go but the blade doesn’t hold a edge very well, it’s made from stainless steel. The Tinas on the other hand use a high carbon steel blade which holds and edge well, but is prone to tarnish and rust if not cared for. I recommend the Tina, but they are at least twice the price. In the pic above, from left to right are a folding Tina knife, my homemade and another modified knife used as a bark grafting knife (I’ll explain it’s use in a future post).


A few blade details: Most knives have what is called a double bevel. That is the angle that makes the edge of the blade which slopes in from both sides of the body of the blade to the cutting edge as shown below in the above image. It works well for cutting vegetables, whittling and whatever else you may need to cut with a knife. But for a grafting knife a single bevel makes the work much easier, it facilitates a smooth flat cut on the scion wood. As shown above, it’s the same bevel that chisel has, a single slope coming from the top of the blade to the cutting edge. On a grafting knife, the top of the blade depends on whether you are left of right handed. I am right handed, and looking at the blades in the photo above shows them from above, with the bevel sloping down on the left side of the blade. For a lefty, if the knife was flipped over, the slope would go from the top to the right edge.

Next post we’ll start grafting.