Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Apricots, promises and Lighthouse Lenny

My contact in California who has Laroda plums was very sympathetic and regretful about not being able to supply me with any seeds.  This time of year is brutally busy for him and he has a strong market for his "seconds".

One of the questions he asked was, "Why do you want to grow Asian Plums.  The frost will whack them every year."

Good question.  I get apricots about 4 years out of every 6.  Apricots typically bloom before Asian Plums. So I ought to be able to fruit Asian Plums if I can grow Apricots.

A branch

A cluster of fruit
Hand in picture to provide sense of scale.  This tree has never been sprayed.  This is VERY clean fruit.
Pits are almost spherical, like cherry pits.
I received scionwood for this variety shortly before the Agricultural Research Service sold the property beneath the breeding program's gene bank to a developer.  The trees were bulldozed out shortly afterward.  The lead apricot breeder, Craig Ledbetter sought alternate homes to mitigate the loss of this genetic material.  He sent me 6 cultivars.  I was able to successfully graft two of them.

The seed that produced this tree was collected in the Hunza valley in Pakistan by Dr Maxine Thompson.  Much scionwood was also collected from elite selections.  An error in temperature control resulted in all the scionwood dying.  The seeds were grown out in an effort to salvage the collection trip.  Many of the selections were found to be late blossoming (for apricots) in California and to have up to 32% BRIX.  That is, they are as sweet as candy.

An added bonus is that the fruit seems to have inherent resistance to the various 'spot' diseases that ravage stone fruits in the Eastern US.

Unfortunately, I lost the original University of California accession numbers.  But I can attest that the fruit is very sweet and a pretty easy grower.

That is why I think I can successfully fruit Asian Plums in Michigan.

It was warm today.

96 degrees.  A good day to stay in.  I started reloading the .243 Winchester for Max the wood chipper.
Trim-to-length, add a Federal primer, 65gr V-Max and about 39 grains of IMR 4895.  Safe in Max's gun.  Maybe not in yours.
One of the mysteries in reloading is the variation in data.  One manual will list 43 grains of a given powder as the max while another will list 39 grains.  Typically, the supplier of the propellent will list more optimistic velocities and max loads that then supplier of the projectiles.  These loads should shred coyotes.

It was also a great day to hit the pool.

We were invited to lunch by Lighthouse Lenny and his beautiful bride.
Lighthouse Lenny
Lighthouse Lenny has 26 grandkids.  About 16 of them live on the Lighthouse Lenny compound and spend much of the summer visiting.

The big kids were in the deep end.  The other 10 grandkids were in the shallow end.
Lighthouse has been retired for 8 years and says he still has nights when he dreams he is at work.

Just another lazy-as-a-hound dog day.

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