Wednesday, March 15, 2017

 Yesterday I had the opportunity to share some thoughts about blossoms, bees, pollination and irrigation of almonds with a group of high school students from the Big Valley Christian School Ag Club. They visited me at the Salida Teaching and Research Farm which is the site of the University/Almond Board regional variety trial.

They were attentive and their questions demonstrated that they were engaged and thinking about what I was sharing. They are an impressive group of young people and I was encouraged that we will have bright leaders for the future.

We talked about how almonds need cross pollenation and how vital bees are for, not only almonds, but all of agriculture. It was a good time for them to observe the various stages of bloom.

I showed them the infrastructure that is in place for irrigation. Currently the only source of water is a well. Utilizing surface water from the canal which borders the orchard would lower pumping costs and help preserve the aquifer. I challenged them to tackle the question of what needs to be done to utilize water from the district canal for irrigating the orchard.
Will They or Won't They?
Will these nutlets split their jacket?  Often, even non-pollenated flowers will fill the jackets to this point. They will either split the jacket and continue to grow, or they will stop at this point and, in a few days, fall off.

It is too soon to evaluate the crop, although it is clear that the Nonpareil and any early blooming varieties were adversely impacted by the rain.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Half Dome, Yosemite

On a clear day with the right light one can see Half Dome at the head of Yosemite Valley from some locations in the Central Valley. The top of Half Dome stands at 8800 feet.  The top of El Capitan (7570 feet) can also be seen in this photograph rising just above the foothills to the left of Half Dome, directly above the truck exhaust pipe. And yes, the snow pack looks good this year.