Archive for July, 2011

Weird July Weather
July 31, 2011

In Southern California June Gloom usually gives away to July Fry, with normal highs around 98 degrees.  We had a few days of that, but mid-July we had a return to downright foggy mornings, never burning off during the day and staying in the mid-70’s.  Not that we’re complaining mind you, especially while we watch in horror the heat waves in the Midwest and Northeast. 

To add to the last day of July’s weather weirdness, the remnants of Hurricane Dora off Baja Mexico made it’s way up here to bring the longest mid-summer showers we’ve had in years, complete with some good old-fashioned thunder.  I know you easterners are snickering, but we usually won’t see a drop between the end of April to November.  Again, it’s nice to wash the dust off the leaves and our cars, and it’s weird to walk outside in the rain and it be warmer than in the house (all our rains are winter storms).  I would be scared of fireblight making a return, but next week promises to be back up in the high 90’s with low humidity, a death knell to fireblight bacteria.  We’re fully confident our notorious heat will have it’s way with us by Halloween, the end of the 100-degree season.

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Yummy Anna
July 12, 2011

Anna apple played me this year.  We had an unusually long, cool spring and the first Annas to ripen were bland and insipid, then annoyingly astringent, and then mushy.  The ones hanging on the tree too long started rotting from the bottom, and I was beginning to wonder about all the nice things I’ve said in the past about it.

But then some heat hit, and what a difference.  When picked just a bit green from under the shady canopy of the tree, the flavor and texture are now perfect, reminding me much of a well-grown Golden Delicious in both flavor and texture (not surprising given that one of Anna’s parents is Golden Delicious).  Even 20 minutes later I can still taste the acid on my tongue and have a bit of spicy aftertaste.  Mama also made applesauce with big chunks, more like pie filling, which is delicous.  We tried drying them this year and that is also excellent, absolutely blowing away ones from the store.  I think McDonalds and other resturants should serve dried apples of good varieties instead of those bland slices of CA storage apples; if you could get people to sample them, they’s go like hotcakes.

They’re back…
July 6, 2011

The good news is that we got a good fruit set this year.  The bad news it that I’m getting absolutely hammered with codling moth, the worst I’ve seen.  I suspect they’ve taken up residence in the canyon live oak next door and are here to stay.  I tried bagging some apples in clear plastic bags, but our heat has arrived and many just cook inside the bag.  Spraying is out of the question with our extended blossom period (many trees are blossoming merrily along even now in July), so it looks like next year I’ll have to try the sticky ball lures and pheromes. 

A friend in North Carolina said he’s having the worst fireblight in years, and has lost many trees.  Seems like everyone has some pest; if you don’t already have one, one will be assigned to you.