After seven days, two blizzards, one heat wave, wind gusts to 50 mph, 4000 holes, and one unexpected day off, the apple orchard at Sweet Rose has been planted.
The forecast turned cold and snowy when we started planting the Honeycrisp. The trench I had plowed filled with snow but the hourly forecast called for the snow to be short lived. It wasn’t and we planted in snow, snow pellets, snow grains and a little sleet too. And then the wind came. At it’s highest I think it reached 50 mph. We lost the cupola off the barn and at times we all lost our balance working up the mountain. Our work day was cut short and we lost any advantage we had coming into the week. But things would pick up with the new day.
As quickly as the snow hit us, the warm came in the next day and we worked in shirt sleeves…and mud. The snow melted in the trench and it was thick shoveling, even the 6 to 8 inches needed to set the tree correctly. Boots got heavy but we slogged on and actually reached the halfway point.
As you can see the snow was melting fast and we had to switch modes from blowing snow to thickening mud. But hey, anyone can plant trees in ideal conditions.
The high winds throughout the week caused the planted trees to rock back in forth and work themselves loose. Couple that with planting in the snow and this led to some blown over trees. Jackie came to the rescue and got them standing up straight again.
I had a little set back in day 4 where I got dehydrated and had to rest a day. It was probably just as well since the orchard rows dried out and we were able to move the dirt and trees around a lot easier. Over the last through days, we were starting to refine our methods and what started out as a two minute a tree pace, we were able to knock that down to a minute a tree and we started to make up some ground.
And so on day seven, we were able to place the last set of trees and finish the job. As we came off the mountain, the rain started to fall.
So after three years of planning, the apple orchard is now a reality. Thanks to Jackie, Dave, Wes and Drew for their work int he field and thanks to Jenn and Katelynn for keeping the home fires warm. And thanks to Rose for encouraging us the whole way.