Monday, February 2, 2009


Harvested 30 pounds of fruit from the sunny side of one of our two mandarin trees.  It was not even a quarter of the potential harvest of the tree.  The rest of the fruit still need some ripening.  You can feel whether they are ripe enough to pick as you touch them on this tree.  Sunny side has the highest vitamin C amount per fruit throughout the harvest and ripen first.

30 pounds of fruit yield about a pint over 5 quarts of juice when processed through a Champion juicer.  The fruit peels easily.  Took about two hours to process and juice.  The other tree is not so forthcoming in ease of peeling even though it is supposedly identical.

One gallon was frozen, one quart put in the fridge, a pint sent to Davis with the daughter on the train.  Good thing it went with her, too, because she has a nasty cold.

Made a "pumpkin" pie with an orange turban squash for the first time.  May be one of the very best of that type of pie I have ever had.  We are definitely growing turban squash somewhere in this packed-to-the-edges-with-comestible-plants yard this year.  Those are the type of squash that look like Cinderella's coach before it was a coach and the mice were not yet horses.  The Australian Blue squash make equally tasty pies and are also "turban" squash but are blue until they turn orange, if you keep them long enough.  These things save for a long time outside under the eaves.  

All the detritus goes back into the yard somewhere; into the soil or to the chickens.  Nothing goes into the trash.

75F today at the ocean.  This is obscenely warm for this time of year and for far to long.  No bud break yet but they are moving on several fruit varieties.  This could be a tragedy in the making for fruit trees.  Apparently, a La Nina effect off the coast is happening.  Makes Sierra skiing ice/mush, with a bit of good snow between those conditions for less than an hour, at best.  Been there in a prior La Nina at unnecessary expense and unsatisfactory experience.  Best to take a trip along the coast, instead.  You'll enjoy it more for it's intrinsic value.

Rain season:

Total rain for the year is at 4 inches.

Watering the yard has not yet been necessary.  Soil is holding moisture, so far.  During the last La Nina we had to water during the winter but we had a much different plant structure then.  It was mostly annuals.  Now it is almost exclusively perennials with the few annuals being mulched.

We received 1.5 inches during the last storm.  Average annual rainfall is 30 inches per year with all but an inch of that occuring between October through April.  We are over half way through that period with roughly about 1/8 of the usual total rainfall or 1/4 of the usual rainfall to date.  Yikes.


zephyr said...


I enjoyed reading your post about bees. I was a 4H beekeeper as a boy in San Diego county. We also raised chickens, pigs, goats, etc., and lots of citrus (mostly lemons).

Given your usual rainfall of about 30 inches I assume that you are north of San Francisco.

Bob Mount said...


Location is just inside Monterey Bay's northern edge. Just received another half inch of rain today.

The bees were a pleasure to have and there will be more this year, assuming a little luck. It's almost time for swarms to move. If you have any swarm catching stories I would be happy to hear them.

Do you currently manage any hives?

zephyr said...

I did catch two swarms with my father. Nothing unusual about them - just a mass of bees in the branches of a tree. Fairly easy to catch them both times. I saw one of the swarms in flight as they gathered in a low tree by our house. That was fun! The other swarm was reported to us by a neighbor, and we went over to retrieve it.

I have not had any bees since I was teenager. My three hives were actually stolen when I was about 14. I also had a small (2 frames) observation hive in my bedroom for a few years. My father made it for me. I still have that equipment.