In the eye of the beholder

If there is one thing that I have learnt about being married to a farmer, it’s that they are never, ever happy about the weather. Rain, shine or snow, it will always be doing the wrong thing at the wrong time of year.

Ice covered Golden Delicious apple flowers

Despite my difficulties in understanding this, I do know that spring is a particularly dangerous time for the orchard, especially when the flowers are starting to bloom. Too much rain and the bees can’t pollinate them, which means a smaller crop of apples. Dry weather however, will often harbour a cold spell when temperatures can drop below freezing. If this happens, the flowers are damaged and tend to fall off or turn into deformed apples. It is the apple growers’ nightmare.

Frost protection for golden delicioius apple trees

When a particularly heavy frost threatens, my husband sets the alarm on the thermometer and goes to bed to wait for the cold to arrive, as it inevitably does just before day break. Once the temperature reaches zero there is a collective dash to all the orchards in the farming community to turn on the irrigation system and “water” the trees.

It is an imprecise science, but theory has it that when the water freezes around the flower, it insulates it and protects it from further drops in temperature.

Frost protection for golden delicioius apple trees

When the sun comes up, the orchard is transformed into a glittering kingdom and I once remarked to my husband how beautiful it looked. But seeing his entire crop and year’s work enshrouded in a several tons of ice inspired a comment that made me think that he doesn’t quite share my idea of beauty. Or what good weather should be.

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11 Responses to In the eye of the beholder

  1. meredith says:

    I love the photos but it looks a little scary for the frozen flower’s survival ….

  2. Mark says:

    So glad you are back blogging and also pleased to hear that the business side of things are going well. Your blog is such a nice place to visit, keep up the great work but only if you find time of course.

  3. tut-tut says:

    Oh no! This didn’t happen THIS year, did it? Last year was a weather nightmare here for farmers; they lost all their strawberries, blueberries, apples were a washout . . .

    This year, great abundance. And the trees put out an enormous amount of pollen, must be to make up for the drought and stress of last year.

  4. Jeannelle says:

    I enjoy blogs from other places in the world.

    This post is most interesting…….never seen anything like it.

    Your first photo is quite fascinating!

  5. Heidi says:

    I can imagine spring being a very tense time of year chez mountain dweller…..but the pictures ARE gorgeous.


  6. expatraveler says:

    wow – these are beautiful photos! I just hope this was a different year and not this year! We have had nice weather finally! It’s been nearly 2 years since I remember more than a few days of good weather.. It’s especially fun when you get the time to go out.

    And I’d agree it to be the same in your neck of the woods. 🙂

  7. Kathleen says:

    I’ve always read that this was the proper thing to do…freezing them like that. But the whole thing seems scary to me. The photos ARE beautiful.

  8. Thanks for your comments. These photos were taken about a month ago, but this sort of thing happens most years so we are still hoping for the best.

  9. That first photo is just amazing. I understand the uncertainty…that life is never easy. Hope the crop is safe.

  10. Nita says:

    Beautiful pictures – the orchardists in our area do the very same thing, this type of weather occured here about a month ago. The losses were terrible – farming is never easy.

  11. Lizzy says:

    Yay, you are posting again. I was about to send Search and Rescue out to look for you. =)

    That first photo is enchanting. I can’t stop looking at it.

    I can’t imagine the faith it must take to be a farmer.

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