The Apricots Have Landed

Homegrown organic apricots and organic blueberries for breakfast this morning.  Our apricot tree doesn’t always produce due to the vagaries of weather here at 3100 feet on the cusp of the Mojave Desert, but when it does, it’s heaven!

The apricot tree was small and struggling, with a lot of bark damage when we moved in almost 16 years ago, but now it’s a lovely shade tree and this year I figured out how to stay ahead of the squirrels and we have a nice harvest.

I went out just about every day for the past couple of weeks and pulled off the fruit that would come loose in my hand pretty easily and finished ripening in boxes in the house. On Sunday I saw that the squirrels had had a bit of a party in the yard, so I got out the step ladder and picked everything I could reach. I dropped the fruit that was bird-damaged onto the lawn and let the squirrels and rabbits take them. They did!

Hope you have a good gardening season!

 

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Wasn’t That a Mighty Wind?

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Yikes, the wind is blowing like mad at our place today. We heard a thump and when Hydra went out to investigate, he found this 10-foot piece of one of our pine trees had broken off.  (We are leaving the trash can on its side…no point in tempting fate any further.)

 

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The piece came off of the tree up on the slope in the upper right hand corner of the shot.  This gives new meaning to planting a wind break!  That tree is taller than we realized.  We’re amazed it could withstand losing so much and still look pretty good.

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The broken bough.

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You know, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.  We were all set for our best apricot crop ever.  The blossoms survived heavy rain, late frost, etc..  Now about a third of the unripe fruit is on the ground.  The bunnies will feast this afternoon.

Fruit Happens

So, I guess the evil squirrels didn’t get all the apricots after all.  There were a lot more there than I realized.

 

 

Givin’ props to my tree.

Look at the SIZE of this apricot!  It seemed to have doubled in size in the past couple of days.  All the necessary cooling and heating and rain conditions seldom hit just right for us to get any crop at all from our lovely apricot, but this year is the year.  I didn’t even begrudge the scrub jay I saw eating one on top of the shed…there are plenty to go around.   Not all of them are this big, and some are sunburned a dark color, but this little tree looked like it was about to die when we moved  here 12  1/2 years ago.  It’s a good little tree, fruit or not.

Shy little peach tree.  From the side you can’t see any fruit.  This is looking up from below the branches.  Not nearly ripe yet, but it’s working.

Just yesterday I fretted to my mom that there were no blossoms on my sugar snap pea vines.  Guess that’s all it took.  Also found a couple of 1-inch peas, so I guess I wasn’t looking closely enough a few days ago!

Birds and Blooms

From the look of things in parts of the yard, you’d think we were further along toward spring than we are.   Our frost date at this altitude is April 15th… and it came much later last year.   Couldn’t put it past these goldfinches snacking in front of one of the rosemary bushes outside the library window.

 

 

Future apricots on the stem.  This photo has been cropped, but the color hasn’t been enhanced.   What an afternoon.  Cool and sunny.   We often lose our apricot crop to frost or to rain beating the blossoms off the branches.   Have only had a real apricot crop 3 years out of the ten we’ve been here.

 

Birds in a tree as we set out on our evening hike last night.   I have another shot with more birds, but this tree and the colors behind are so nice.

 

The Apricots are Bouncing!

This batch of bounce is something of a cultural exchange between Acton and Granada Hills.   When our pal, Brit, mentioned at the last camp out that his apricot tree was getting ready to bust loose with an overwhelming crop, I jumped right on it!   He gives me homegrown apricots, in three months I give him back a batch of apricot  bounce.  Great deal for both of us!  Should be ready in time for the October camp out when a touch of warming beverage should be welcome after dark.

Click here for the basic recipe. Using quart jars makes it easiest, but you can do it in whatever size jars you have if you’re decent at cooking math.  In this case, I replaced 1/4 of the vodka with brandy.  I would have made it half and half, but I didn’t have enough brandy on hand.  Oops.  I haven’t made apricot before, but the brandy/vodka mix was phenomenal in the peach I tried last year.