Apple Trees Under the Wire

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With my new tight schedule I have to plan my work at the farm like a military campaign, watching the weather and coordinating my movements. It’s due to get colder and then snow on Sunday, so I’m racing to get things done before the window of opportunity closes.

In mid-September I bought five apple trees on sale at the local nursery that is run on behalf of the mentally handicapped. Their prices are always low and the sale was fabulous — six-foot, potted, hardy apple trees for $25-$30! I bought two Hazens, a State Fair, and two Northern Spies.

I’ve been watering these trees for seven weeks, waiting for time to get them in the ground. Yesterday we had a brief warm spell and last night after work I dug and planted four of the trees. I probably could have managed to get the last in, but the light was starting to ebb and the cattle were lowing for their supper.

Fifteen minutes later all the animals were munching hay and I was mucking the barn, pushing the wheelbarrow down the ramp, when I glanced up to see this breathtaking sunset. The huge, beautiful sky felt like a nudge from God to remember in all my sweat and haste to appreciate the journey.

This morning I did barn chores early and then planted the last apple tree, rain dripping off my baseball cap. The trees will be watered in all day. I’ll tamp them and mulch them with chips after work. Tonight it will drop back to 20°. It may even snow.

Phew! Not a perfect planting time but the best I can do, and I’m happy to get it in under the wire.

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