Sunny Slope Orchard

Sunny Slope Orchard
In the coast range foothills overlooking the Sacramento Valley

Friday, March 14, 2014

February rains deliver spring beauty

Rain runs off the shop roof during a downpour

Two strong rain storms last month finally brought us some drought relief. Our rainfall total is still only about 30% of average and is not nearly enough to replenish aquifers. But finally, for the first time in almost 10 months, the soil is damp from the surface on down and life is springing forth. The transformation in the orchard and surrounding hills is dramatic. After months of dry days we are now savoring a green spring we thought might not even happen this year.

The orchard cover crop is suddenly almost knee high. On a
normal year it would be double that, but we are glad for
at least some growth that will provide soil protection this
summer after mowing down.

Peaches are in full bloom

Apricots had a heavy bloom and are now bristling with pea-sized fruits

Our native Western Redbud trees are ablaze in bloom and
pushing out new foliage

Our Valencia orange trees are loaded with ripening fruit
and ready to burst out in blooms that will form next
year's fruit

After months of scratching in dry dirt the chickens are glad
to have lush green grass and worms on the menu again

Every day the hills turn a bit more green as the fresh grass
slowly grows up through last summer's dry weeds 

We know we have a long dry summer to get through, so for now we are taking every opportunity to savor the beauty of a green spring that almost didn't happen. And we're still hoping for a bit more rain.