Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In which we find out that lots of flowers isn't always a good thing...

If you remember, early this year I was all excited to get a new fruit tree for Acorn Cottage; I got a dwarf Bartlett pear from Friends of Trees. I was a little concerned at the disparity between the small root ball (about 2 to 3 gallon) and the over six foot tall tree. I was delighted when the tree was covered with blossoms in the spring, and thanks to the neighbors beehive, it set many little pears. I cut the baby pears off, as all my reference books say not to let trees fruit the first year. Well, it turns out that all those blossoms and fruit were not just for pretty, they were a sign that the tree was really stressed. Then came that week of really hot weather last month. I recently noticed that my new tree was looking unwell, the leaves were turning brown, but only on the underside. I have been good about givng it water, and looking online I couldn't match the symptoms to any obvious pear diseases...

A trip to Portland Nursery would let me find out what was wrong with my pear tree...the symptoms were inconclusive enough that the woman at the information desk called for one of the fruit tree experts. He, after looking at my leaf samples under a microscope, told me that it was some kind of fungal infection, essentially untreatable, and that the tree may do better next year once it has more roots. (sigh) The only suggestion was to clean up its fallen leaves this autumn, and not compost them, but throw them away. I hope the tree does recover.

On a more cheerful note, while I was there, I remembered that I needed to repot my baby fig trees, (metal pots and hot sun = cooked roots). They have a large selection of fiber pots that were not very expensive. I actually like the way these pots look, they are a textured dull brown, made from 100% recycled paper, and are even manufactured locally, in Corvallis. The five gallon size, 12" x 13", were $2.99 each. I like that as my figs get bigger, I can move them into bigger fiber pots (the sizes go up to 16 gallon), and the old pots, if not in good enough shape to reuse, can simply be composted.

My other good find for the day was that my local Goodwill finally presented me with a waffle-maker that both heats up and makes standard (as opposed to Belgian style) waffles. I have been looking for one of these for at least a year and a half, I guess most folks these days don't make waffles at home... But since I have started back on the low-carb thing and I have a great recipe for waffles made from almond meal instead of flour, this is even more welcome, as a way to add variety to my breakfasts.

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