Yesterday, the day after we were at Dartmouth, I was in the tree greenhouse most of the day. Even though the days are getting longer, and the calendar says spring is right around the corner, it still doesn't feel like it outside. I was reading on the "Eye on the Sky" website from the Fairbanks Museum in Vermont a few days ago. It said that this winter's temperatures are colder than normal ---there's a surprise! Not unheard of though. Winters like this are experienced every ten or twenty years. In the greenhouse though, it was sweet. The sun was slightly veiled by high thin clouds. Bright enough to bring the temperature in the greenhouse up to the high 70's. On very clear days, the greenhouse is almost too warm, until the ventilating fan kicks on. But it was tee-shirt weather on this day. I was in the greenhouse to monitor and record data on the wood boiler while it was burning, helping the manufacturer's tech rep to troubleshoot and prevent a reoccurrence of the meltdown we had a couple weeks ago. Since that only required a couple minutes out of every fifteen or twenty, it left me time to do something I had been putting off. The avocado and citrus trees have needed to be "preened" for a month or so, but I have haven't been able to squeeze out the time for it. The preening included pruning the deadwood, clipping the thorns on the citrus, raking up fallen leaves, and most importantly, pinching off the profuse blossoms and baby fruit. Since they were just planted in October, we want to keep them from sending energy to fruit production, so they can save it for growth. One of the reasons I have been procrastinating to do this is because it takes a considerable amount of time to pinch off the flowers and baby fruit, taking care not to disturb new growth of baby leaves. Another reason is that we have all been enjoying the intoxicating fragrance of all the citrus blossoms. The fragrance of orange blossoms, lime blossoms (they smell just like cut limes), tangerine, lemon, and so on, is divine. I think I enjoy the fragrance of blooms as much their visual beauty. When we lived in California, I grew fragrant varieties of roses , gardenias, and jasmine (my favorite). I've read that sense of smell is so strong, that memories linked to smell are the strongest that we retain.
It's probably still a little too early to make a judgement about the biochar, but the new growth on our avocado trees sure looks promising so far. I don't remember this vigorous an amount of growth on any avocado trees we had before. There is new growth not just on the end of branches, but on every node along every branch. Avocado trees aren't deciduous, but they do drop old leaves when new leaves emerge. The new leaves come out brown and later turn green. They're really quite stunning.
Enjoying the fragrance of citrus blossoms, the beauty of the new avocado leaves, the warmth of the greenhouse, all made for a special winter day, a brief respite from never-ending ol' man winter. Today's forecast: more snow. Steve