[NAFEX] call for Pomona articles

william Eggers wce1482 at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 16 18:05:16 EST 2008

     Hello from Burr Oak Farm in scenic Madison County, Iowa.  Our favorite reading materials at this time of the year are catalogs of trees, seeds and plants.  We had ice and snow,most of which melted and were just ready to get out there to prune and...it is snowing again.  Since much of our orchard is on hilly land, we have to be pretty much free of snow to do much.  
       Presently, we have about 900 trees and more on the way for spring planting.  Trees are planted interspersed by kind and variety.  In other words, there might be an apple, a pear, a peach, a plum, and another apple,etc.  This was done to prevent a disease or pest getting ahold and destroying  a whole block of a particular variety.  It is more work as you have to continually monitor the whole orchard when checking on a particular variety or fruit. But this way we tend to pay more particular attention to each tree as each is an individual rather than just part of a row.  Part of the enjoyment of our orchard is spending time in it and noting growth and changes just as one might a child.
       Another focus of the orchard is to aquaint the public with many of the antique varieties, especially apples.  The publis needs to know that there are more than the seven kinds that they can buy in the grocery store.  We also feel it important to not loose many of these old varieties. We appreciate the stories that accompany some of these varieties and are always happy to hear more of them.
       The orchard is not organic but we keep spraying at a minimum and are experimenting using herbs and some spices to help control disease and pests.  Results of this are not yet available over the long haul.  This is a wait and see sort of deal and in the meantime we keep reading and thinking.
       One of the funniest stories that we have to relate as we have grown in our orcharding is that of the bluebirds.  We have one cherry tree that we can see clearly from the house.  From the window we wnjoyed the beauty of its blooms and dreamed of the crop.  We checked and soon there were many baby cherries growing.  A short time later, we noticed that a bluebird pair had set up housekeeping.  We often exclaimed to listeners of the beauty of the bluebirds in the cherry tree.  Then we noticed that the cherries were starting to turn color.  We waited thinking that some day we would see all those beautiful red cherries.  Well, we just could never see very many from the house, so investigated.  What we found were many cherry pits hanging from stems and very few cherries left!  We now net the tree and laugh at ourselves for not realizing sooner what the beautiful bluebirds were doing.  Whatever you are doing, may you enjoy it and be able to laugh at yourself when needed. 
 Kathleen and Bill Eggers  Burr oak Farm,  Winterset, Iowa 

Jacquelyn Kuehn <jakuehn at verizon.net> wrote:
  As you're all staring out the window at the snow (at least, I'm finally 
staring at snow), and can't do any fruit work except read the catalogs, 
please consider scratching out an article for the spring Pomona. I need 
items, or it will be about 10 pages long! No language expertise is 
needed; just write up your fruit=growing experiences, or something 
you've tried--and failed or succeeded, either one--for the benefit of 
the membership. Email it to me, and I'll take it from there.

Thanks to all of you for all you do for NAFEX.


Jackie Kuehn
Editor-in-chief, Pomona

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