Archive for weather

Early Flowers for Bees

Posted in Grouse Mt. Farm, honey bees, organic farming with tags , , , on April 17, 2011 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Witch Hazel blooming in early February(!) on through March

Early Spring and cold, wet and windy weather can be a hard time for honey bees this time of year. They need pollen to feed the new larva and nectar for themselves. If their winter stores are used up, and if its too cold or wet out, they don’t get out. Last spring we lost a hive after they ran out of honey and it was too cold for them to forage, so they perished. Last Fall we didn’t take any honey off the hives and they have all seemed to come through the winter strong and buzzing. (As a result, we didn’t get any honey, depending on how much is left in the honey supers, we may get some this spring when it does warm up)
A few of the early flowers we have are crocus, anemone (Anemone blanda), Witch Hazel and Daphne.

early flowers: Crocus

Witch Hazels are the first blooms here. We have a few cultivars, the one pictured started blooming here in early February. (It is Hamamelis Japonica- Jelena, Copper Witch Hazel)
Which is way early for bees, but it continued through March and when the bees did get out they were all over it.
The Crocus’ are the next to bloom, the bees seem to really love these things. Sometimes there will be four or five bees in a single flower. They come up just after and sometimes through the snow.

Anemone blanda

The Anemone are another low growing, early blooming flower like the crocus are started with bulbs planted in the fall. And also like the crocus they spread on their own and make a beautiful early ground cover. Both are also low growing, which when its windy (a lot this time of year) is where the bees tend to fly. One close observation of the pic above you can see the pollen sac on the bees rear legs getting full. Good food for raising baby bees.

Anemones spread easily, from bulbs

Daphne’s are another early flower which the bees seem to like, and the fragrance alone is worth planting these.

Daphne in bloom

Honey bees aren’t the only insects that benefit from these early flowers, whatever natural and local pollinators are around will be happy to find any early pollen. And after a winter , most anyone will be pleased to see and smell these floral wonders.


Whats Fresh for September 18

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

We had sort of return to Summer late last week and the beginning of this one and now cooler and a little wet, whatever its Fall..
Some leaves are beginning to turn colors and drop, its a great season. The cooler weather also helps color up the apples.

Swiss Arlet Apple

This week we will have:
-Red Globe Peaches
-Red Gold Nectarines
-Fantasia Nectarines
-Belle of Georgia White Peaches
-Shiro Plums
-Burbank Plums
-Friar Plums
-Wickson Plums
-Red Clapp Pears
-Swiss Arlet Apples
-Sunrise Apples
-Tydeman Apples
-Gravenstein Apples
-Akane Apples
-McIntosh Apples
-Tomatoes (more then we’ve had all season)

Gravenstein Apple

We’ve been seeing more bear signs around, and actually saw him/her on our way to Seattle last week a mile or so down our road, but luckily no missing fruit or busted up trees. Next week is the Equinox, the days will be shorter then the nights, WOW!
See you saturday.

Our loyal friend and dog, Blaze

Fresh on the Market Table for September 11

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Red Clapp Pears

Its been a crazy weather week, it rained from Monday until early this morning (Thursday). Over an inch of precipitation, and cool, not much warmer then 60. I love that kind of weather personally, but Peaches and Tomatoes don’t care for it. I usually pick the soft fruit every other day, as it ripens, but ripening pretty much stopped this week. In last weeks post I stated that there will be Fantasia Nectarines, but not yet. Everything else I said would be, will be at the market on Saturday. I know better then to predict what will be ripe tomorrow or next week, I’ll attempt to refrain from doing so and maybe state what may be coming…
For sure this week we will have:
-Red Globe Peaches
-Red Gold Nectarines
-Shiro Plums
-Burbank Plums
-Akane Apples
-Ginger Gold Apples
-Gravenstein Apples
-Sunrise Apples
-Swiss Arlet Apples
-Tydeman Apples

Red Globe Peaches

The apples like the cooler weather and are coloring up nicely. We should be getting in to our Fall apples in the next couple of weeks, Nectarines and Peaches still on the way.
See you saturday.

Whats (not) Fresh on the Table-August 7

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm with tags , , , on August 5, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Its been a crazy week, weather-wise. When we left home last Friday on our way to Seattle, it was clear and hot, somewhere in the 90’s. When we got home on Saturday night it had rained almost an inch and a quarter on Friday night with a bit of a mud wash through our parking lot. Then on Tuesday night another thunder storm came through and with it another torrent (but only a half inch this time) more mud in the parking lot but on the Lakeshore road below Slide ridge and on highway 97A , between Chelan and Wenatchee the mud really flowed (still closed as of this writing). Its always nice to get precipitation here, especially in the summer but I guess you need to be careful about what you ask for! (I don’t remember asking..)

looking down on the Southshore road washout

Anyway, I am sorry to report that we’re not going to be at the market this weekend. We always have a fruit lull this time of year, but usually we have cherries to augment what fruit we do have, but not now. What we have isn’t enough for a market (we’d be sold out by 10 am). There is much in the orchard almost ripe, but not ready yet. We deeply apologize for our absence but please look for us next week when we should have Santa Rosa Plums, White Nectarines, Peaches, Apricots (Blenheims!), Green Beans and Shallots in sufficient quantities.
Did I mention that its been a bit smokey? There is a fire in Stehekin , British Columbia and a few others smoking it up, summertime…

smokey sunrise

any fruit?

Posted in Grouse Mt. Farm with tags , , , , on May 30, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

We’re beginning to be able to see how much fruit there will potentially be. It takes a few weeks after bloom to see which fruits will drop and which will become fruit. June is when that process finishes. Its been unseasonably wet and cool the last few weeks, in fact most of May (and April come to think of it!), which made for terrible pollinating weather. And the trees and fruit are growing slowly without the warmth. But so far from our approximation; not many cherries or pears, a few varieties of plums are mostly blank, and still a bit early to tell on apples. The peaches look pretty good and a couple of apricot trees look great ( they bloomed during a brief warm spell)

a typical scene in the trees, only a few flowers were successfully pollinated (the bigger green ones)

Its discouraging to see all the fruit there isn’t, but we’ll have to wait and see for sure after the June drop. It seems like it always some version of this, the weather having its way with us!
Once again its so good to have a mix of fruits to help insure we’ll get some harvest.

cold cold cold and windy

Posted in Grouse Mt. Farm with tags , , on May 5, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Its been cold and windy for the last two weeks, seems like the bees have been out a little but not much. The pears and apples are coming in to their bloom period with the soft fruits blooms pretty much done. As always this time of year, we’re hoping it all works!

plum trees

April snow

Posted in Grouse Mt. Farm with tags , on April 5, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

April fools , well not quite, it was the 2nd. But still a surprise getting four inches of snow in April.
As I write this, Monday April 5th, its snowing again! Our Rival cots aren’t quite full bloom yet but soon. Hope fully we’ll get some apricots this year. It seems like its always this way, especially during the early part of bloom season, and somehow the trees usually have a crop on them…