Monday, August 30

Picking: Day One

Warm and hazy this morning.  If the last days of August were a competition between Summer and Autumn, summer definitly had the upper hand today.  The small crew of only ten or so met not so promptly at eight this morning.  I was given the choice of several unclaimed picking bags to choose from, no doubt the cream of the crop.  Choosing the right picking bag can be the difference between a good season and a bad one.  Shoulder straps can be too narrow, twisted or not padded.  Also there are several different mechanisms for latching the bottom to the bucket; my favorite are two side ropes with knots that fit in a small "hook" on the side of the bucket.  Several different knots along the rope allow the depth of the bucket to be adjustable. 

We color picked the Galas today; a beautiful apple with a stunning blush that almost looks neon when very ripe.  The thinning, which had been done by spraying, had been only mildly successful, which left lots of clumps of apples and entire apple "columns" jutting from the tops of some of the trees.  The day was  a hot one, with plenty of brakes in the shade.  I have learned that the early season is not the time to push yourself.  I took lunch under an old standard McIntosh tree grown from seedling rootstock nearly a hundred years ago.  The shade was welcome.  It felt really good to be out in the orchard, again at home.  My day ended with an unexpected, yet predictable sunburn and a cold beer on the porch.

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