grafting avocado

Wet Season’s Roaring Arrival

-from my weekly blog at Molino Creek Farm

The Landscape Color Deepened a Few Hues: rain soaked Molino Creek Farm, freshened and dust free

Roaring wind and driving rain sent everyone to shelter in their homes Sunday and Monday. The tips of thousands of tree branches now blanket the ground with fresh green mulch. More than five inches of rain wet the soil many feet down- it all soaked into the thirsty soil. But, water rushed down dirt roads moving dirt and gravel, flowing with eroding rivulets, dumping mud into ditches, carving through storm flung debris.

Everything is soaked – mosses and lichens hydrated and springing to life with winter’s fluffy dripping lushness. In the meadow patches around the farm, perennial poppies push up fresh blue-green ferny foliage. Storksbill germinates first with millions of tiny grass seedling spikes shortly behind. The first broad and bumpy primary leaflets of lupines flush from bare brown gopher thrown soil piles. Bunchgrasses push out a half inch of new green blades from the otherwise dry brown leaves from last spring’s growth. In the forest, thick oak leaf mulch is being quickly, hungrily devoured by furiously unfurling mushroom spawn. A month from now, with a bit more rain, we’ll have chanterelles.

Basket Weaver Wisdom

The weekend also delivered us ancient knowledge. Julia Parker and her family graced the farm with a workshop on the traditional basket weaving of the indigenous peoples of central California. Julia has long been demonstrating and teaching basket making in Yosemite Valley. 15 folks learned from 4 generations of her family with people gathered for a campout then retreating indoors when the rain started coming down. We made new friends and are already looking forward to Julia’s family returning when they can. Perhaps we will tend basketry plants as part of our production…a while back we had a troop coppicing willows for just such a purpose.

Apples and Such

The gala apples are gone (except for the precious remaining ones you might buy at the Food Bin!), now its onto Fujis. Sweet, crunchy Fuji apples with rainbow colors- traditional seasonal salad apples to sweeten the arugula greens. The tomatoes are melting fast from the rains- so, we’re all out there raking them up for the last of the seasons processing- they are still going to market, but you better get them fast! Our Persian limes are swelling and dark green, a good harvest promised for January. Drake’s avocado grafts are taking off with rapid growth, giving us Great Hope in recovering our burnt avocado orchard.

Drake Bialecki Made it Happen: avocado grafts on root sprouts from burned up trees

Wildlife, Including Nut-Eating Corvids

Farm ravens Maw and Caw forage widely across the farm, scavenging farm crops. Their rounds include swoops down the driveways and entry road to see who might have run over a black walnut. These they quickly pounce upon, vigorously pecking at the solidly ensconced nutmeat, so sweet and oily. Sometimes they find a half walnut and retreat to a fence post to work at prying out food.

As hoped, the deer herd has devoured all the wormy castoff apples. In doing so, they have pounded bare the invasive Cape Ivy where we dumped the fruit: weed control while disposing of pests – no wasted fruit there! Mostly, we see deer prints, not the deer themselves, who are mainly hiding somewhere.

The turkeys have also disappeared- not even any prints, anymore.

Bob Brunie has something against chipmunks. Also, his new farm chicken flock complained loudly about the storm. (Yes, we have no squirrels)