Spring Has Finally Arrived

After a very tough winter, Spring Has Finally Arrived in my part of New England. I’m sure many of you who live in the northern portion of our country thought as I did, that winter weather was never going to end. Even though the calendar said it was spring, the cold temperatures and snow stayed around way too long. Heavy spring rains have finally melted the snow and a lone crocus has popped up in the middle of our front yard.

The First Blossom Of Spring Popped Up In The Middle Of The Front Yard

The First Blossom Of Spring Popped Up In The Middle Of The Front Yard

Because of the frigid temperatures and deep snow lasting so long this winter, our fruit trees became a food source for the deer that live in our area. I felt bad as I often watched deer, struggling in the frozen snow almost up to their stomachs, searching for something to eat in the midst of our many snowstorms.

Deer Out In A Snowstorm Looking For Food In Our Orchard

Deer Out In A Snowstorm Looking For Food In Our Orchard

Our orchard is usually pruned in the winter months while the apple and pears trees are dormant. With between two and three feet of snow on the ground during February and March, pruning was delayed this year. It has only been recently that the snow has melted and that I have been able to get out in our orchard to inspect the apple and pear trees.

Once I was able to walk through the orchard, I found that almost every one of the three hundred fruit trees had the ends of their branches nibbled off or worse yet, barked stripped from their lower branches. I find it enjoyable to watch things grow over the seasons but as a gardener or farmer, it is always a challenge when you have to deal with wild animals and see all the damage that they can cause.

Damage To The Branches Of Apple Trees Caused By Deer

Damage To The Branches Of An Apple Tree Caused By Deer

Bark Stripped Off Apple Tree By Deed

Bark Stripped Off An Apple Tree By Deer

Each year, an alternating part of our orchard is pruned to remove dead wood and any damage caused by animals and weather. This year there will definitely be more pruning than normal. Pruning is also done to maintain the size of the trees in the orchard and to maximize the amount of sun and air that gets into the trees because not all growth is a good when it comes to fruit trees.

An Apple Tree In Need Of Pruning

An Apple Tree In Need Of Pruning The Water Sprouts

Water sprouts are an example of new growth that crowds an apple tree with unwanted vertical branches that, when leafed out, will reduce sunlight and take energy away from the production of apples. If left in the tree, the end result could be that the tree produces a crop of small apples. By opening the canopy of the trees, leaves will be able to dry quickly which helps prevent fungal diseases and aids in the ripening of the forming fruit.

The Same Apple Tree After Pruning

The Same Apple Tree After Pruning

You have to be on a ladder to prune anything other than the lowest branches of a tree. My ladder, specially designed for working in an orchard, is tall and stable enough for me to reach safely into the tops of most of the trees in our front orchard where I am working now. Having said that, it can be a little daunting to be on the upper portion of the ladder with a large pair of bypass loppers or saw in my hands.

An Apple Ladder Is Study Enough To Safely Prune Tall Apple Trees

An Apple Ladder Is Tall And Study Enough To Safely Prune Tall Apple Trees

With that in mind, I leave the pruning of the tallest trees to helpers. Not only are they taller than my five foot height and can reach much further up into the large trees, they are also stronger for when a large chainsaw or pole saw is required to prune one of the apple trees. Even though I might know how to prune a tree better, I try to tell anyone helping me what a good job they are doing or I will be left to do it all myself.

This Twenty Year Old Baldwin Apple Tree Will Need To Be Pruned With A Chainsaw And Polesaw

This Twenty Year Old Large Baldwin Apple Tree Will Need To Be Pruned With A Chainsaw

At the end of a day of pruning, I may be scraped, sore, and tired as I head into the house to prepare dinner but there is always a great sense of accomplishment that I have readied some of the trees for another apple crop.

Pruned Apple Trees Ready For A New Growing Season

Pruned Apple Trees Ready For A New Growing Season

As I head back out the door to prune more trees, I’ll leave you with a photo of what I have to look forward to in the near future. Let’s see, I think it there are still about 275 more trees that could use a good pruning.

Apple Blossoms As A Sure Sign That Spring Has Arrived

Apple Blossoms As A Sure Sign That Spring Has Arrived

In a matter of weeks, the orchard will be filled with the sound of buzzing bees pollinating the beautiful apple and pear blossoms. That’s when I will definitely know that spring has finally arrived.

 

 

 

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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225 Responses to Spring Has Finally Arrived

  1. What an enormous challenge. I just have a few olive trees to prune ….I can’t imagine pruning 300 trees. Lovely shots, engaging prose and delightful blossom…thanks:)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Roger, Yes it is a challenge…especially pruning the first tree each day with sore arms and shoulders. I appreciate your lovely compliment, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and photos. Thank you!

  2. That picture of the deer is so striking! With the last week or so, it’s been easy to forget how long this winter truly was:) I can’t wait for all the blooms (less so, the yard work!) either, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ksenia, The deer really struggled with the deep snow. They did a lot of damage to the trees this year but they were just trying to survive. You are right, there is a lot of yard work to be done in spring but it is such an enjoyable season…especially after this winter.

  3. Lovely post. Looks like you will have a good crop of apples with all that wonderful blossom. We had no snow in London in the winter – though far too much rain – but now we have nice warm spring days.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kay, I’m happy that you enjoyed the post. The blossoms are a photo from last year…just a reminder of what lies ahead in a few weeks time. I remember all your rain this winter so I’m glad that you are having nice spring weather.

  4. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Beautiful crocus flower. I’ve not seen one before. Wow, pruning with a chainsaw – that would be a sight (and sound!) to behold. Your trees look so lovely and sculptural as they are now but I can imagine you’d be hankering for those gorgeous apple blossoms!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Saskia, The crocus blossom is lovely and was a pleasant surprise when it popped up in the middle of my front yard. Our trees are about twenty years old and some have very large branches. I use a handsaw on lots of the branches but sometimes a chainsaw is needed. I really am looking forward to the sight and smell of the orchard in bloom…it is wonderful.

  5. I enjoyed your post today. I can’t believe you have so many trees. I am also glad to hear that the bees will be coming. I have read that there has been a problem with our bees dying off and now every time I see a bee I think leave it alone it is doing good work.

    • Karen says:

      I’m happy that you enjoyed the post, Madonna. We do have a lot of trees but we think they are one of the things that make our home special. We are lucky that we have a lot of bees in our orchard. Two neighbors have hives not far from where we live.

  6. bakeritalia says:

    A wonderful post, they are pruning the olive trees here too. I am learning so much about the cultivation of foods…love it!

  7. It’s going to be a beautiful day here today. I’ll be raking leaves off the perennial beds and I’m guessing you’ll be pruning one of those remaining trees. :-) Happy pruning.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy, With a beautiful day like today, I will definitely be pruning after I finish my morning tea. There is always lot of work to be done outside in the spring. Have a nice day.

  8. Bonnie says:

    What a lovely and delicious reason to prune those trees! I’m glad to hear that spring has arrived since I’ll be heading that way on Thursday.

    Best,
    Bonnie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie, You are absolutely right about the motivation behind the pruning. I’m really looking forward to when the trees start blooming. The weather has been warm but will be turning cold again so bring a coat and perhaps an umbrella when you head this way. I hope you have an enjoyable trip.

  9. Hi Karen,
    I automatically took a deep inhaling breath when I saw your last photo of those gorgeous blossoms! I can imagine the aroma in the air as you walk through the orchard. Our branches have all been nibbled by the deer too, and I think a few rhodies and azalea bushes will need to be removed. I am so impressed that you do some of the pruning of your huge orchard yourself! That is really hard work. Before we lost our few apple and pears trees to the recent hurricane/blizzard winters I always had help for that! I hope your trees are able to produce a nice crop this year. They must be as happy as we are to be feeling the warmth of the sun. Our sap has even been flowing for a few weeks now! Linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, You are right about the heady sweet aroma that fills the orchard when it is in bloom…it is wonderful. The deer did more damage this year to the trees than I have ever seen but it was a tough winter for all living things. I used to do all of the pruning but appreciate assistance when I can get it now for the large trees…I’m just too short to work in a lot of them. :)

  10. Lots of work there! Happy pruning!

    • Karen says:

      So true Diane. It is a lot of work but there is something very satisfying when a tree is properly pruned and ready for another crop of apples.

  11. Mélanie says:

    :) yesss, young lady! btw, I love New England… ;)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Mélanie, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. New England is beautiful area of our country, I’m happy that you like it. :)

  12. Penny says:

    Karen, This was a fascinating post. I had no idea how much work was involved in keeping fruit trees healthy. Can’t believe you do some of it yourself. Your property is beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Penny, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I thought everyone might enjoy knowing what goes into growing a crop of apples. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m doing the pruning as well. :) I appreciate your lovely compliment about our home, we think it is special.

  13. Norma Chang says:

    Great pruning job. How long did it take you to get that apple tree the way you want it to look? Good luck with the rest of the trees.
    I too suffered much deer damage this past winter. All my deer fences were pushed down, they work in group and push and push until the fence is down. All, well most, of the azalea buds are gone and my evergreens are looking quite naked.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for the compliment on the pruning job, Norma. I would say that on average, I spend about an hour on trees the size of those in the photos. Smaller ones only require a few snipes and their done…wish there were more of the smaller ones. :D It was a tough winter as far as critter damage is concerned in a lot of our gardens. I’m sorry to hear that you had a lot of damage as well.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Only an hour? You are a very fast pruner. Is there any way to reduce the growth of the number of water sprouts? They are such a major problem.

      • Karen says:

        I’m working on our trees that are 12 to 15 feet tall and I haven’t had to do much sawing…it is the big ones that take a lot of time. It is much easier to prune while they are dormant but you get a lot of water sprouts. If you do the pruning during the summer, you don’t get as many water sprouts but boy it is hard to maneuver and see what you are doing when they have all their leaves.

  14. First of all let me say that your property is absolutely stunning Karen. My husband and I love early American architecture and furniture and he grew up in a 200 year old farmhouse in the northeast. I don’t envy your spring chores though, especially the trimming of the apple trees. You’re smart to leave it to others, even if it may not be to your liking. We were absolutely sick when we saw what our gardener had cut down at our house this winter. From now on, he is on a “do-not-cut anything” without our supervision. Best of luck with getting things back in order. I know it will be beautiful when you’re done.
    Sam

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Sam for your lovely compliment about our home and property, we think it is very special. On a beautiful day, I don’t mind working in the orchard although it is hard work. I had to smile at your comment about your gardener…I know exactly what you mean. I showed my husband pruning on the trees that my helpers had done incorrectly but he said that I shouldn’t say anything or they would quit and I’d have to do them all by myself. You know when they are here, I’m going to be supervising instead of pruning. :) You are right, the trees will be beautiful in a few more weeks and I’ll share photos with everyone.

  15. So very marvelous………I admire your hard work to maintain such a beautiful orchard. Looks like another cold front is on the move. Here in South Texas it will get to freezing again tonight and the winds are blowing so very strong early this morning already……….

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Tin Man, for your nice compliment. The orchard had been neglected for years when we purchased our home and the hard work really has paid off. We have lovely weather today but the cold front and freezing temps is coming our way too. Two steps forward, one step back with our spring weather but at least the snow melted last week. :)

  16. ela hester says:

    Yes… definitely the Spring has come to your area. Beautiful blossoms…and that deer…what a lovely shot! :) ela

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ela, We are so happy to be rid of the snow and to be enjoying pretty blossoms instead. We get a lot of deer in our orchard and they are a beautiful animal. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos…thank you.

  17. savourytable says:

    Every time I look at an apple now I will know how much work it took to get it in my hand. Thanks for giving us a look at you spring chores.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, a lot of work goes into the apple that you by in the store. When we used to sell our apples, I had a women that complain about the price of my heritage variety of apples. I told her to come join me pruning someday and then decide what is a reasonable price to pay for apples that are not even sold in the grocery store. :D

  18. Apple trees everywhere at your place. How long does it take to do an average size tree and how long to do the entire orchard? What a huge job!

    That poor deer. I hope it’s getting heaps of food now.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maureen, You are right, our home is totally surrounded by our orchards. It takes about an hour to prune one of the trees you see in the photos. Small trees that do not require a ladder to work on only take a few minutes each. It takes weeks if I want to do the whole orchard but I can never get enough help to do it all. Only our front orchards gets pruned each year, the back orchards are pruning on a rotating basis as they are all big trees and require a lot of work. I saw nine deer at one time since that photo was taken including some small ones so I think they did OK.

  19. Monique says:

    Always a lovely sight..your trees..home etc..Spring will be magnificent!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Monique, for your lovely compliment. I’m happy that you enjoy when I do a post about our home and orchard. I really am looking forward to when the trees are in bloom, it is a lovely sight.

  20. David says:

    Wow, what a daunting task! Having lived in New England most of my life, I am surprised that I was never aware of the pruning needed to keep apple trees going. The end result, of course, will all be worth it! I think there is nothing more exquisite that the soft fragrance of apple blossoms wafting on the breeze… I was in Lenox, MA, last may when the apple trees were in bloom, and it was amazing to smell the night air. Thanks for a lovely post and I am so glad spring has arrived for you 9and all our family and friends)!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you David, I’m happy that you enjoyed the post. Daunting is the word, alright but when I see a beautiful big apple on one of the trees, I know it was worth the time and effort. After this winter, spring is most welcomed. :D

  21. Bishop says:

    I am so glad that spring has arrived for you – finally! You have a bit of work facing you with the pruning and probably a short window of time. I hope the weather doesn’t throw any more surprises for you…

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate your nice thought, Bishop as this was a wicked winter for many of us. You are right about a short window of time…in the past, the trees have bloomed anywhere from the middle of April to the middle of May. We have had some delightful warm days but we have another cold front coming through this week with temps at night in the 20′s. The weathermen have mentioned the “S” word but I don’t want to hear it. :D

  22. Last spring I planted my first fruit trees. Two apples and one cherry. It looks like they have survived this long winter. I can’t imagine pruning more than 275 trees! Thank you for the beautiful shot of the blossoms…something for me to look forward to.

    • Karen says:

      Hi June, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and I’m glad you enjoyed the post and photos. Good luck with your fruit trees, you probably planted dwarf or semi-dwarf trees which shouldn’t get as large as the twenty year old trees in our orchard.

  23. dahliadd says:

    So glad to hear that Spring has sprung. I had no idea deer chomp on the bark of trees too.
    I visited NH this Winter, lake Winnie looked beautiful frozen. I look forward to going up again in a few months.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dahila, Spring is always a wonderful time of the year but is especially welcomed after this past winter. This is the first year we have had this much damage to the trees but it was a tough year for the deer to find food to survive. If you enjoyed the lake during the winter, I know you will really enjoy it when the weather warms up.

  24. ladyfi says:

    Spring at last! That poor deer in the snow… amazing shot.

    • Karen says:

      Yes…we finally have the arrival of spring, Ladyfi and we are all so happy. I’m glad you liked the photo of the deer, I took it through double paned glass during a heavy snowstorm.

  25. A_Boleyn says:

    It sounds like there’s so much work maintaining an orchard. A shame about the trees being deer munched because it was such a hard winter. I hope you don’t have too many losses. Strangely enough we still have a snow showers in our future later this week but I look forward to the first of the grape hyacinth popping up in our back yard.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Boleyn, Thank you for your nice wish. I can prune off all the damage the deer did and the trees will be fine…just a more work needed than normal. Our weathermen have mentioned the “S” word several times but I don’t see it lasting if it comes our way this week because the ground has warmed up so much. Grape hyacinth are so pretty, I know you will enjoy them when they start to bloom. :)

  26. Thank you for this lovely and informative post…one of my first jobs in Italy was the apple harvest….I love an orchard….

  27. Kristy says:

    Spring feels glorious this year after such a long winter. I can’t imagine pruning that many trees, but at least you get to be outdoors. Something much more appealing about working outdoors as opposed to in. Looking forward to your blossom pictures this year.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristy, After the long hard winter that so many of us had, I think this spring feels especially nice. When it is raining, I’ve been doing spring cleaning in my house but when it is a beautiful day there is nothing nicer than being outside. As a matter of fact, that is where I’m heading right now. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I’m happy you are looking forward to this years blossoms…early next month, I would guess.

  28. I was out pruning all my fruit trees yesterday but wasn’t sure how much I should take off. I think I may have been pruning them the wrong way, too. Your post is very helpful, thank you! I’ll take another look at them today and try to correct my mistakes. Btw, any advice on dealing with curculio and brown rot, organically?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angie, You can prune off a third of your trees if necessary without hurting them. The first cuts should be any limbs that grow straight up, down or back into the trees. It is sometimes better taking off a branch instead of twigs if it will help the overall look of the tree. We do not apply anything to our trees, organic or not. I do know that Surround WP is considered organic and is used to deal with curculio. It needs to be applied weekly right after petal fall through July.

      • Karen says:

        I forgot about your question on brown rot. We had a very large and beautiful Japanese plum that we lost to brown rot…it is terrible and I found impossible to control as it is resistant to most fungicides. Pruning out every little bit I saw, bagging it and disposing of it helped prolonged the life of our tree for a couple of years but then we had to remove it. Wish I could be of more help.

  29. Those apple blossoms are so beautiful!
    Happy Spring, Karen!
    Angie

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your spring wish, Angie. I’m thrilled that the snow is gone and warmer temps have arrived. I’m glad you enjoyed the apple blossom photo from last year. I’m looking forward to when they start blooming again this year, probably in a few weeks.

  30. Susan S says:

    It certainly was a difficult winter for animals. I hope your apple trees recover from the damage and that you’ll soon be seeing many of those beautiful blossoms. How wonderful to have such a wonderful orchard!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan, The animals certainly did have a rough time of it this year. Thank you for your concern about the trees. Since there is no damage to the trunks of the trees, they will be fine…just got more pruning than normal. I appreciate your nice comment, thank you.

  31. lvaletutto says:

    I’m glad the snow is finally gone! My family also suffered a long and harsh winter this year in NY. It’s good to see that you take such good care of your orchard. I hope you will have a good harvest this fall and your trees will spring back from all the damage the deer have made!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Laura, this was indeed a bad winter for so many of us. It really is amazing how resilient trees are. Once they are pruned, they will be just fine. I appreciate your nice comment.

  32. Amazing photos! You’ve managed to capture both winter and spring so very beautifully!.So nice to see the trees in bloom. I hope you’ll have bountiful produce from your lovely orchard and enjoy spring. :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice compliment and wish, Ronit. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the photos. I believe this year’s blooms on the apple and pear trees are probably a couple of weeks away. I’ll be sure to do a post then so that everyone can see how pretty the orchard is when it is in full bloom.

  33. kitchenriffs says:

    This has been such a late spring, hasn’t it? Last week we had a couple of days in the 80s, tonight we may get snow! I’ve got bedding plants ready to go in the garden, but I’m holding them in the garage until later this week when I think the weather is a bit better. I think most of our plants made it through the winter OK, but we’ll see how things go — some of the roses seem to be having trouble “waking up” from winter. Anyway, fun post. We don’t have a lot of pruning to do, thank goodness, so always do it during the winter. But I’m rather have all the pruning so I could get the apples!

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, I’m glad to know that you enjoyed the post. I think many of us thought spring was never going to arrive. It is in the 70′s here today but will be in the 20′s and 30′s a couple nights this week as that cold front you speak of comes our way. I’ve seen no sign of my roses “waking up” either. It is a shame you aren’t my neighbor, I’d happily give you a bushel of apples and then enjoy seeing what you would create with them. :D

  34. reg45 says:

    That was very good reading BUT I was waiting for the apple pie recipe… :(…or at least a steaming photo…FYI… your writing is wonderful!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice compliment, Reg. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post but I’m sorry to have let you down by not having a photo of a steaming pie or a recipe. :(

  35. Karen, lots of work but so rewarding in the end! What an amazing orchard you have, it takes my breath away. I am glad that spring has finally arrived in your part of New England – we have been extremly lucky this year and have enjoyed such unseasonally warm weather. Well, I would come around and help you prune your tress if I lived closer, no doubt about that and then maybe I could bake up a nice German Apfelkuchen for you in September with a few of those lovely apples.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea, I have to agree on both parts. Our orchard is one of the things that makes our historic home so special. I can’t tell you how happy we all are that the last of the snow melted last week. If you lived close by, I would love to give you lots of apples so that you could make me an Apfelkuchen and so many other German recipes that I have come to love while visiting your country each year.

  36. Marigene says:

    Karen, I thought winter was over, too…we have had beautiful weather, yesterday was 76°…today it has snowed and the temp has dropped from about 34° down to 29° and windy! So much for spring arriving.
    Pruning 300 trees is a huge job…but I am sure well worth what you will reap.
    Have a wonderful week.

    • Karen says:

      Marigene, I’m so sorry that you had more snow. :( The good thing is that at this time of the year it won’t last long, although that don’t help when all we want is warmth and flowers. They were originally forecasting snow for us as well as the cold front makes its way here but the latest thinking is that we will be spared. Three hundred trees are both work and pleasure. Thank you for your nice wish, I hope you have a great week as well.

  37. Just when we thought spring had come, we got a freeze and a snow storm. Ah, well. This, too, shall pass.

    • Karen says:

      Oh Darryl, None of us want freezing temps and snow in April…I’m so sorry. We are going to have temps in the 20′s for lows a couple of nights this week but hopefully no more of the “S” word.

  38. Larry says:

    Looks like spring is breaking out and I hope the apple blossoms don’t get damaged. If you are personally going to prune all those trees, I don’t envy you the task – I used to prune for room and board, now I just like to supervise and train young lads to do it :-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Larry, The photo of the blossoms was thankfully last year as its getting down into the twenties this week. It will be a couple more weeks before the trees bloom this year. I would be happy to just supervise young lads…the problem is finding young lads that want to work. So far, I’ve pruned more than my help but such is life. :D

  39. That deer shot is incredible!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Rosemary, I’m glad you like the photo. I believe it really illustrates how hard our winter was for both us and the wild animals.

  40. Sophie33 says:

    Hey Karen! Your house & garden is looking great! Your apple blossoms look so beautiful! Thanks for the lovely tour! Great pics too! :) x

  41. Jane says:

    Spring is very slow to come here in the Midwest as well, we even had a slight chance of snow this morning and thankfully, it never happened.

    You definitely have your work cut out for you. I’m glad you have help. They are really beautiful trees when in bloom. I feel a little guilty for thinking I had a ton of work ahead of me! ;-)

    XO,
    Jane

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane, Spring has really been dragging its feet. It was 78 yesterday, there is a chance of snow late tonight and then the highs are only going to be in the 40′s for the next several days. Two steps forward, one step back seems to be the theme of spring this year. We both have a lot of outdoor work ahead of us but when it is a beautiful day, it is not too bad. :)

  42. Eva Taylor says:

    It must be bitter sweet seeing the wild life in your backyard Karen, it’s too bad that the deer did so much damage this year. I hope your apple production won’t suffer due to the hard, cold winter we had. We are expecting -7°C or 19.4°F tonight as the low and they have predicted 5cm or 2inches of snow for the morning. Not one bulb has even attempted to poke out of the frozen ground yet.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eva, The way I look at the deer is that their beauty pleases me more than their damage to the trees bothers me. :) Sorry that you don’t have any signs of spring yet, hopefully it will make its way to you soon.

      • Eva Taylor says:

        I tend to agree but many people have more of a hate-hate relationship with nature when it interferes with them. I’m more like you, it just gives me so much joy when they do interfere with me. In the city we just have squirrels (and birds or course) but I just love the way the silly little guys just don’t give up on trying to get into that bird feeder. So determined!

  43. Isn’t today’s weather marvelous? A little windy but it’s so nice to have the windows open & fresh air blowing out the winter staleness. I’ve got bulbs popping up all over the place but no flowers yet. I know what you mean by the damage from the deer, I’ve got 3 ladies who consider my casa their casa & they’ve done a number on the shrubs out front. Alas, they’ve left their droppings behind so it’s time to get out there with a bucket & the dog pooper scooper!
    Be careful out there this year Karen. My husband was outside for less than 15 minutes trying to dig out some prickly brush that’s sprouting up all over & he came in covered with deer ticks. They were crawling all over him. I’ve had the dog ticks dropping off Lola but got the Frontline on her last week. Going to be an incredibly bad year so be sure to check yourself when you come in.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane, We really have had a couple of nice warm days. Wish I could say the same for today although the rain did give me a chance to go to the store and replenish my kitchen pantry and fridge. :) Thank you for the reminder about the ticks…I’ll be sure to check every day that I’m in the orchard. Wish we had something that would protect us like there is for dogs.

  44. Debra Kolkka says:

    Gardening is hard work. I have had to get some help from a lovely man in the village. I couldn’t even lift some of the trees I was trying to plant. It is delightful to watch the spring blossoms appear. I hope the deer have not caused too much damage. We have wild goats who like to have the occasional nibble.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, You are so right, gardening is hard work but very rewarding…especially as we enjoy springs burst of colorful flowers. I remember seeing your photos of the wild goats and how they reminded me of our visits by the deer. All of the damage done by the deer is to the branches which can be cut off and not harm the trees, thankfully. I appreciate your nice wish and comment…thank you.

  45. I’m glad spring has finally arrived for you. The lengthening days are one of my favourite things about spring. I am sitting here typing this at 8.30 pm and it is not fully dark yet. :) In the U.K. we had an exceptionally mild winter this year but I know it has been a long, hard one across the Atlantic. I hope none of the trees in your orchard have been damaged too much by the deer.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Grace, Your area is staying light about an hour more than here in my part of New England. When you have a mild day, it must be nice to be outside and enjoy the evening. We had a wicked winter this year and although we are having some warm days, would you believe nature is giving us a little snow while we sleep tonight. :( Thankfully, the deer just damaged the branches which can be removed…they didn’t damage the trunks of the trees. I appreciate your kind thoughts…thank you.

  46. Cathy says:

    300 fruit trees is one amazing orchard Karen – that must look absolutely stunning when all the blossom is out and I bet you can hear the bees a mile off! So glad your long winter has finally come to an end, and the wildlife can find something else to forage on soon. Good luck with the pruning, and Happy Spring!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cathy, I know that you have been wishing that spring would come our way and it finally has and I thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. The pruning is getting accomplished a little each day…11 more done today. :)

  47. Lovely emerging spring photos.

  48. Sarah says:

    So pleased to hear that the snow is finally gone and spring has arrived. Although it looks like you’ll be too busy pruning the fruit trees to sit back and enjoy it… with 275 trees to go, I hope you have plenty of helpers!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice thoughts, Sarah. I’m so happy that our huge snow piles have melted but would you believe we are supposed to get a little snow while we sleep tonight. The nice thing is that the ground is warm enough that it won’t last. :D I prune my trees that are up to 15 feet tall but am lucky to have help with my very large trees.

  49. Spring is so refreshing! Quite a few trees to prune, but what a great arm workout you’ll get, and the sky is so beautiful to look at!

    • Karen says:

      You gave me a smile with your comment, Sandra. While people pay to go to a gym to get an upper body workout, all I have to do is walk out my front door and prune trees. The side benefit can be a pretty day some of the time. :D

  50. Wow – what a lot of work you have at this time of year. I just read a good novel called The Wilding (by Maria McCann), set in England in the 1600s and all about cider growers and their lifes and dramas – I kept thinking of you as I read it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, Spring is when the orchard requires the most work. Since we don’t spray our orchard, the rest of the year all that is needed is mowing until the apples are ready to pick. I’m going to see if I can find the novel you are reading…thank you for letting me know about the book. :)

  51. Ruth says:

    Wow, Karen, that’s a lot of work! I’m sure those delicious apples and pears this fall will be absolutely worth it :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, You are right on both counts. The orchard is a lot of work but the apples and pears picked during the fall are so delicious. :)

  52. megtraveling says:

    I’m so glad that you’ll be able to get the trees back in shape after they were damaged this winter. I’m starting to see bumblebees here in Virginia and it’s a very cheery sight. It looks like you’ll have them there soon!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meg, Thank you for your nice comment. It is amazing how the trees can survive our bitter cold winters, critters,insects and diseases. I see a lot of bumble bees in our orchard while I’m working and their chubby bodies make me smile.

  53. Hi Karen, I am pleased to hear that spring has finally arrived. Nature with all the seasonal changing she does. The image of the blossom is beautiful. ;)

    • Karen says:

      Hi B, I think so many of us are happy that we are seeing signs of spring although we will see a little snow overnight. The good news is that it won’t last, as the ground has warmed up. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m glad you liked the photo of last year’s apple blossoms. I’m looking forward to seeing them again in a few weeks.

  54. The comment should have read Nature is a wonder with all …. I need to improve my proof reading skills. ;)

  55. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    Hi Karen, I just love seeing your part of the world as the seasons change! Pruning is a big job, especially looking at all your trees! But so rewarding too. Loved this post, thank you for sharing. xo

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Lizzy, for your nice compliment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post about our orchard and the season that is just starting. You are right…even though pruning is a lot of work, it is rewarding when you see the trees in bloom and then later as they produce their apples.

  56. Those gorgeous apple blossoms will be a welcome sight! We had a taste of spring over the weekend, but snow flurries in our forecast overnight. Such crazy weather!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liz, We certainly have had crazy weather. Yesterday, it was 78 and late tonight and into the early morning we are suppose to get snow flurries as well. The nice thing is that snow won’t last long this time of the year. :D I am looking forward to the apple blossoms and will be sharing photos of this year’s bloom in a few weeks.

  57. Eha says:

    Felt truly sorry for that deer in the deep snow! Made a bit easier seeing the damage done by them to keep alive . . . Don’t envy you an iota looking at the water shoots on some of the mature trees – been there, done that, but with a lot of help :) ! DO enjoy your spring and may your endeavours be more than successful!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eha, You would have enjoyed the sight of three deer right outside the kitchen this evening, yearling twins and their mother. Thank you for your nice comment and wish.

  58. Stunningly beautiful post. It was indeed an incredibly brutal winter. We have snow in forecast for tomorrow. Unbelievable but true.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice compliment, Lindy. I’m happy to know that your enjoyed the post. We are supposed to have a little snow late tonight as well but this has to be the last of it. :)

  59. Wow I thought I was a gardener but you put me to shame. Glad to hear the snow finally melted.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elizabeth, I must say that I think you are a very good gardener. I on the other hand, consider myself an amateur gardener with some knowledge of orchards. :D

  60. What a lot of work…but I’m sure the reward is worth it! I so wish I could come and pick apples with you this fall!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Monet, Taking care of the orchard is a lot of work during some times of the year but other times you just get to sit and admire it. If you were my neighbor you would be welcomed to pick apples.

  61. Carolyn Jung says:

    In the Bay Area, we’ve been having such crazy weather that it’s like we went from winter straight through to summer. It makes me almost forget the rest of the country is still so chilly. Glad to see spring has sprung there. The flowers are beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolyn, I know what you mean…the weather has been crazy. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m glad you enjoyed the photo of last year’s apple blossoms.

  62. wok with ray says:

    Oh my goodness that is a lot of pruning. I am glad that the harsh winter is over spring have arrived for you. Take care, Karen. :)

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate your kind thoughts, Ray. I think many of us are very happy that winter is behind us. I’ve got a lot of pruning but soon it will pass just like winter. :D

  63. The wild deer must have been grateful for your orchard. Happy spring Karen :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your wish, Tandy…I’m very happy that winter is behind us and am looking forward to this spring. The deer really had to forage this winter to survive.

  64. reggiorif says:

    Great pictures Karen! I guess you’ve had your load of winter for this year (the same must go for the deers) and I hope you enjoy you hard earned spring ;)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Fanny, for your nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and photos. I know the animals are as pleased as I am that the snow is gone and green shoots are popping up. Spring is my favorite season and I thank you for your wish.

  65. I am so glad for you, Spring has been a long time coming :D
    You are going to have incredible bountiful produce, so excited for you!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  66. ramblingtart says:

    You are such a hard worker to tackle these trees, Karen. :-) I’ve just started planting our orchard, so I know I’ll have plenty of this to look forward to in the future. But oh, those blossoms are so worth it. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Krista, Our orchard was planted twenty years ago and then neglected by the previous owner. I know that your trees won’t be near as much work for years to come. Since we have so many varieties of apples, when the orchard is in bloom it lasts for quite a while and I love the sight and smell.

  67. Well I think now is the time to wish to you Happy Spring and Easter!

  68. Joanne says:

    All these spring photos are so uplifting!!

  69. Sue says:

    Wow-what a job. I don’t envy you having that many trees to prune, but I’m sure it’s worth it all come harvest time……and blossom time!!
    We are getting snow again, so hubby and I “escaped” to Iowa for a few days. I’m just at that point I can’t take anymore. Unfortunately, my seedlings can’t be left more than a few days at this point, so hopefully the cold will retreat in time. I’d love to see an update on yours-hint hint. :D

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, I’m glad you are getting to escape to Iowa for a few days. We had sleet and a dusting of snow overnight but with the sun at a high angle now it will be gone by this afternoon. I’ll be happy to do a post on my seedlings but I had a poor germination rate this year…never had that happen before.

  70. Poor deers… But very difficult for people who rely on the trees, too. Sounds like your winter this year was like our winter last year.

  71. Being new to NC I have wondered when spring would really arrive. You of course have much more snow than I. Now that many things are in full or nearly full blossom tonight it is predicted to drop down to freezing! Crazy but I am still enjoying my life a bit farther north. Love the info in your post and I am sure you will begin to see some sweet honey bees in your orchard soon!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, I know that you will enjoy your first spring in North Carolina. I don’t think you are crazy at all for enjoying living further north. We left Florida and enjoy having four distinct seasons here in New England. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  72. So happy that you have spring now! Chicago was surprised by a snowfall yesterday!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice wish, Chunklet. We got a dusting of snow overnight but it is quickly melting this morning. As they say…if you don’t like the weather in New England, wait 5 minutes. :)

  73. yeah for spring! We are having gorgeous weather today and i cant’ wait to spend the whole day outside!

  74. Mad Dog says:

    That looks like a lot of hard work, but I’m sure it’s worth it :-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mad Dog, Pruning is hard work but when the trees are all in bloom or are leafed out and full of apples, you tend to forget being scraped and sore earlier in the year. :)

  75. afracooking says:

    Welcome to spring! Wishing you a wonderful season!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you very much Afra, for your nice wish. Spring is my favorite season in New England because of all the beautiful flowers and blooming trees.

  76. restlessjo says:

    Aww! That little solitary crocus! :) Ours are long gone and we’re into multi-coloured daffodils and blossom everywhere. Yay! You’ll catch up :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jo, I was so surprised to see that little crocus as I was walking across the yard as I hadn’t planted it. I’m sure it must be a delightful sight in your area with everything in bloom.

  77. That must be such hard work. I used to do a lot of gardening, almost every day. But never that much pruning!
    Your home is so picturesque. It’s almost too good to be true in the photos. It’s as if it’s a perfect model in miniature.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your lovely compliment, Johnny. I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos of our home and orchard. We think it is a special place to live and really enjoy it. Even if it comes with 300 trees that need to be pruned. :D

  78. Suzanne says:

    What a delightful post, Karen. I loved seeing the progression to the blossoms and felt for you up the ladder of all those trees. Loved the lone crocus too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Suzanne, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and appreciate your nice compliment. I was delighted with the gift of the lone crocus that popped up in our yard. It seemed like it was saying, “welcome spring”. :)

  79. hotlyspiced says:

    That’s a lot of pruning and I’m taller than you and I’d definitely be getting someone in to do the pruning. What a job! It’s lovely to see that the snow has finally melted because like you say, it was a shocking winter. And while I feel sorry for all the humans who have had to endure such a harsh winter, I’m very mindful of the poor animals who had to struggle through with little to eat xx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlie, It is a lot of pruning but it is getting done slowly. Thankfully, I do have a couple of men that help with the pruning of the large trees when they get off work a couple days a week. This was a tough winter and I couldn’t help but feel bad for the animals.

  80. Sissi says:

    Thank you for sharing with us such lovely spring photos. I dream of tasting one of your apples one day…

  81. I have fallen in love with your apple blossoms!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Jo, I’m glad you enjoyed the photo of last year’s apple blossoms. When the orchard is in bloom a few weeks from now, I’ll be sure to do another post showing the apple and pear trees…it is a pretty sight.

  82. Mary says:

    The apple blossom photo says it all! Oh, your barn is beautiful, you’ll have to give us a tour some day!

    Isn’t this weather crazy? 80 degrees one day and 30 degrees another! Have a great week!

  83. How interesting! I didn’t know all of that about pruning fruit trees, probably because I’ve never lived where I could have any. It totally makes sense and I bow to your fearlessness in climbing on that ladder with a pair of loppers, Karen! What do you do with all of the apple wood? Do you keep it for smoking/flavoring foods?

  84. That picture of the crocus is so beautiful! I love when flowers start popping up in the garden. Those poor hungry deer. I’m glad they were able to get a little bit of food from your trees, but I’m sure it’s not fun dealing with the damage. Loved all your great tips about taking care of orchard trees!

  85. Raymund says:

    I want to go there, its autumn here an its rainy. 6 more months to spring on my end :)

  86. Our spring lasted a week, and then it was all snowy and wet and this week it’s cold again. But this is CO and I love it! Glad to see warmer weather for you so you can take care of your beautiful orchard. Can’t wait to see it in bloom!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nazneen, It was similar here this week as well, sleet and snow one morning but it didn’t last as the ground is warming up. I will definitely do a post when the orchard is in bloom. Thank you for your kind thoughts. :)

  87. Thanks so much for a wonderful post. It is good to know that you are now experiencing Spring and I am so glad. I love the information about pruning and knowing that you are doing the job in such a methodical way. I have a crepe myrtle that must be pruned after blooming this year. We have someone that will do the pruning but I will be giving specific instructions as I want it pruned and not chopped off. Happy Easter to You and Yours!!!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Southern, for your nice wish and compliment…I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I had to smile about giving specific instructions so your crepe myrtle won’t be chopped off. Too many times, that is exactly what happens when you ask someone to prune something for you. Happy Easter to you as well. :)

  88. Lovely, informative post. Happy spring!

  89. There’s such a reassuring moment, when I sense the change of seasons. My heart certainly went out to that poor little deer as he looked for food in the cold, bleak snow. Enjoy the warmer season and that beautiful garden of yours. Yay for fresh tomatoes too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alli, Not only is spring my favorite season but after this hard winter it is especially nice to have the snow melted and be a little warmer. I’ve planted my tomato seeds and they will be going out into the potting shed soon. Yay is right. :D

  90. plumdirt says:

    One thing I remember learning growing up on a farm was Everything Has Belly To Feed. (This lesson came via my father explaining the coyotes taking a lamb.) At least you know the deer would’ve rather left your trees alone had there been something else with which to fill their bellies? It doesn’t lessen the damage at all, but may help lessen the sting of the work to come.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Plumdirt, Your father’s words are so true. I have lots of trees and can prune off the damage and the apple trees will do fine. thank you for your wise comment. :)

  91. I am craving Spring. I thought it was here we had a crazy sleet/snow storm earlier this week. Hopefully we’re in the clear now!

    • Karen says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Pamela. It seems as though nature wagged her finger at us as said “not just yet”. We got the sleet and snow as well, so much for my saying spring has finally arrived. We have had record low temps here in New Hampshire last night. I think you are right, this week has to be the end of this crazy weather.

  92. Juliana says:

    Wow Karen, You are going to be a busy lady…I enjoyed so much these pictures…and the apple blossom is so pretty. Thanks for such a nice post.
    Hope you are having a great week :D

    • Karen says:

      Hi Juliana, This is always my busiest time of the year. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and photos and appreciate your nice compliment. Thank you and have a nice weekend. :)

  93. This was so informative, Karen! I have loved your orchard from the first time you introduced it–the orchard at your home and the loons at your lake. LOL! I never thought about the deer eating the tips of the trees or stripping the bark. The photo you shared of the deer in the snow is such a dramatic representation of what they suffer. I am so glad you are finally seeing signs of spring, and I hope the work on the trees isn’t too overwhelming. It sounds like a huge job, though. Thank you for sharing about all that goes into eventually producing that wonderful fruit. It’s easy for those of us who don’t have that responsibility to skip right over the part that is so challenging and then just envy the result. I’m really quite blown away! I hope we can have an update in a couple of months and see the progress. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Debra, for your kind words. I really do appreciate that you enjoy the posts I do about our home and orchard in New Hampshire and our little summer cottage in Maine. I think we are very lucky to have two beautiful and such different places to spend the seasons here in New England. I take my time in the orchard, usually working every other day because it is physically demanding. I will be more than happy to do more posts on the orchard so that everyone can see how the apples progress. :)

  94. Karen – we are late with our pruning as well – the weather has not been at all cooperative here either. Though we have a much smaller orchard than yours, it is growing, as we add a few trees each year – apples, pears, cherries and plums so far. I can’t imagine 300 trees to care for – wow!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Donalyn, There was just no way I was going to drag my ladder and equipment through the deep snow we had so late this year. I’ve lost my plum tree to an ice storm and my cherry trees to porcupines…I miss having them. Good luck with your growing season. :)

  95. Thank you for taking me on a tour of your orchard. It’s hard to see the damage from the winter, yet it’s hard not to blame those deer for snacking on what little they could find. Still, that makes a lot of work for you. The promise of spring fully realized in your last photo made my heart sing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marlene, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post about the beginning of spring in the orchard. The deer are beautiful and my husband and I get a lot of pleasure watching them. Their damage can be pruned off and we we still have way more apples than we can use or give to our friends. Thank you for your lovely compliment about the photo, I’m glad you liked it.

  96. flippenblog says:

    I just like this post. I tried to pin point something but I can’t. Is it the deer in the snow, or is it the preparation for something beautiful to come? Maybe it is the atmosphere it created but I keep on coming back to it.

  97. Charles says:

    Oh, that last photo… I bet you can’t wait! It must be such a wonderful time to walk around the orchard and just be surrounded by blossoms and buzzy bees. So jealous! Take some photos for us… I’d love to see a view down a line of trees all out in beautiful blossom!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charles, You are right, I am looking forward to the day the trees start blooming. I will definitely take photos and share them with everyone. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post.

  98. Georgina says:

    What a lovely post. The photograph of the deer in the snow, in your orchard, is absolutely beautiful.

  99. I always love all your pictures and these beautiful spring ones are lovely as usual! I saw some wild violets today so I know spring is here as well!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kelli, I appreciate your nice compliment…thank you very much. I’ll have to walk at the edge of our woods and be on the lookout for our wild violets but I think it is too early for them here.

  100. So much work but the rewards are incredible….Happy Spring!

    • Karen says:

      Happy Spring to you as well, Donna. I agree with you…the hard work is forgotten when the trees start to bloom, leaf out and later produce their apples.

  101. Not a moment too soon! I’m so glad for you—and love the post.

  102. Misky says:

    Well done you for taking on this task yourself. It’s a huge job! Happy spring to you and yours, Karen.

  103. laurasmess says:

    Aw, that poor little deer! I feel sorry for it! Snowstorms are something that I’m entirely unfamiliar with but… well, I can imagine the relief that would come with the sunshine (and the melting of winter snow!). Glad that you’re getting some beautiful spring weather. Well done on the pruning, sounds like a momentous job! x

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, This was a hard winter in New Hampshire and we are all relieved that the snow is gone. You can help but feel sorry for the animals living in the wild but they make it though each winter, thank goodness.

  104. mjskit says:

    That’s A LOT of snow!!! You certainly do have harsh winters. I’m surprised you’re even able to have any kind of orchard at all. It’s a lot of work and thinking about all of the apples you got lot fall, I’m sure it’s worth it. Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi MJ, We did get a lot of snow this winter and I’m happy that it is behind us now. Not only do apples survive in our harsh weather but so do peaches, plums and cherries. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and appreciate your compliment…thank you.

  105. Karen, what an interesting post! It must be hard balancing caring for your trees and crops with caring for the local wildlife!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Celia, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I enjoy seeing the deer, they are such beautiful animals. Thankfully, most of the damage that they do to the trees just creates a little extra work but doesn’t kill the trees. I’m not as like minded when it comes to other critters that get into my vegetable garden. :(

  106. viveka says:

    Karen, what a beautiful post … saw in the news yesterday that it had been snowing only a couple of hours away from Landskrona. And it was quite a lot of snow too.
    You had a tough and hard winter over there at many place this year and here no only 7 days of snow in total. The world is upside down.
    What a fantastic property you have, but there is some serious work behind it too. What do you do with all the apples????
    I live in the county of rapeseed and apple trees … so stunning just now. Here the apple trees bloom later than the cherry trees.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Viveka, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post and appreciate your nice compliment. We did have a tough winter and a cold start to spring but it is finally warming up. I just checked on our pear trees, they will be blooming in a few more days and then the apple trees will follow four or five days after the pears. When the orchard is blooming, I forget about all the hard work involved. :) I always remember the rapeseed fields I’ve seen blooming when we have traveled in Europe. My previous header photo was of the beautiful yellow fields.

      • viveka says:

        Our rapeseed fields … where every I look is it intense yellow fields – I just love it.
        You have such a stunning place, but as I said there must be so much work involved – to keep it in such fantastic state as you do.
        No wonder you love your gardening.
        Nature is one big scrapbook!!!! *smile

      • Karen says:

        I agree. :D

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