135: that’s the total number of trees we are planting this year. About half of them are coming from Cummins Nursery to be planted this weekend, UPS and the weather cooperating. I have a few friends who are coming over to help, but there is no way we are going to dig out 60+ holes in a weekend. My plumber recommended his father-in-law’s new augering capabilities, and we instantly had all the holes dug.
Well not instantly. It took Prall and his son about 5 hours to auger, while R and I raced ahead planting stakes to mark the grid (Prall was ready to auger sooner than expected, and when someone is willing to help, never ever say “I’m not ready.” Work in this rural area is unpredictable. No one can afford to turn down a job, so if I said come back later and he got an offer of several days duration, I’d have to get back in line, with good reason.) Who has 135 stakes anyway? I do now, and actually it’s more like 150, because we used the opportunity to place the corner post holes for the deer fence around the smaller stone fruit orchard that will be for our own use.
It was a good thing Prall came out, because my order of Fedco plum trees was staying chilled in the garage, but couldn’t hold much longer. So R and I got to plant our first three trees last week. R and I also had to dig some holes for berries, thus acquiring a deep appreciation of how much labor the Bobcat saved.
Augering solved one problem, which introduced the next: the deer infestation of Torrey. Yes they are cute…and ravenous…and sneaky. Eventually we will put a proper deer fence around the place, and planting before then really is the cart before the horse, but spring is now, and I don’t want to wait until next spring. So until we get the stone fruit fence up, we are annoying the deer with two rings of defense.
Almost impossible to see in the picture is the thigh-high strand of monofilament fishing line that encloses the perimeter of the orchard. A couple feet inside is the yellow caution tape abomination. The rationale is that first, deer don’t like to run into things they can’t see (fishing line). Second, the yellow caution tape is novel, which equals scary to a deer, at least for a little while. And third, the wind always blows in Torrey. Screaming wind, even with the cottonwood windbreak. The racket that the wind makes whistling through the plastic tape is new and scary. And really scary when a strand of tape breaks and starts flapping in the wind.
So far it’s working. So far, the neighbors haven’t asked me if I’m out of my mind. I am probably permanently disqualified from the yard-of-the-week award. The best part? It didn’t cost a cent, as we actually had all the components already.
Or maybe the best part is that it is so pathetic-looking. We see it right outside our windows, a great motivator to quickly get those 8′ cedar posts erected as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, I’m hunting for 150 or so nylon footies to bag up Milorganite, a sewage treatment by-product. One of its off-label uses is as a deer repellant. We have seen it at work at the Virginia Vintage Apples orchard. Hopefully our western mule deer will find it as equally offensive as their eastern white-tail kin, at least for a while.
And for proof that R is fully in support of this apple project: he’s agreed to pick up the human waste product at the Salt Lake farm supply house and bring it to Stray Arrow in his nearly new, never dinged or spilt-in, super-clean car. That’s three and a half hours of unknown stench factor. I’ll bet he sets a new speed record to the ranch tomorrow.