A week ago, a frost crept across the land and left brown blotches over the pumpkin leaves, and red stains on the blueberry bushes. Soon, the blueberries will stubbornly refuse to ripen, and the season will be over. Easter is likely to be the last big weekend for picking.
It is a good time to be grateful for a fabulous fruiting season. Each year, the blueberry blossoms run the gauntlet of late spring frosts – just one frost at the wrong time can wipe out a whole cultivar’s crop. This year the PowderBlues were lightly touched by frost, but all the main picking crops (the Nui at Xmas and the Centra in Autumn) were unscathed.
This season we had a wonderful time meeting and chatting with many folks from our local community, who dropped by to pick their weekly blueberry supply, share the history of their land, and update us on the latest local news. My worry about losing touch with friends in Wellington has also been lessened by the number of friends who have travelled North to catch up for a chat and stock their fridges and freezers.
Our lives have been transformed by the fabulous WWOOFERs we have invited to stay with us. Last year we were running out of steam to get things accomplished, and this year, the extra hands have been enough to keep us on track despite the extra work required to get the cottage finished.
There have been challenges – a flood before Christmas washed away the mulch we had just laid down on several new rows. Anni and Ayenna stood with me as we watched days of shovelling undone by the force of the water. And our fig tree snapped off (my fault – should have pruned it earlier), and just recently many of the young apple trees in our orchard were savaged by a hungry hare. The combination of drought and wind has left many blueberry plants on deaths door.
But we intend to learn from each set-back. Our new permaculture food forest project will teach us how to weather frosts, floods, pests and wind. Then we can retro-fit the parts that work across the rest of the property.
Thanks to everyone who has supported us this year – we really have appreciated your encouragement and interest.