Mostly I just weeded, and weeded all weekend, while Henry mowed and mowed. The big job we did, almost, was to take down this Stanley plum tree in our little ‘orchard’ next to the vegetable garden and rasberry patch. This tree has suffered over the years, most notably during the year we lived in Beijing and had renters; their horses had a fondness for fruit tree bark. The chain saw gave out before we got down the main trunks. We will enjoy the ‘sculpture’ until we get a new bar for the saw.
The plum tree we took down was suffering from a severe case of black knot fungus. There was no way to remove a few branches to clean up the tree and making it bear once more. Black knot is unmistakable and very ugly. The knots will get bigger and bigger every year, and spread through out the tree, sapping its vitality until the tree is no longer productive. All I can do is keep a close eye on the remaining tree and cut out and burn any further knots.
Fortunately we will be able to continue enjoying self pollinating Stanley plums because our other tree is bearing. There is a bit of black knot on this tree, but I will prune out the few affected branches. Stanley plums are suseptible to black knot. I don’t know where the original spores come from, possibly from wild cherry trees in the area.
I had just gathered up and dumped the spent broccoli plants and last weeds for the day on our unlovely compost pile; Henry had put away the lawn mower and we were preparing to call it a day, when a little red Zipcar pulled up. Usually when an unfamiliar car arrives at the End of the Road it is because the driver has made a wrong turn, but not this time.
The End of the Road was very familiar to Nick Griffin whose stepfather sold us the house in 1979. He and his fiance Emily had been at a big wedding in Vermont and were so close to the vacation home of his youth that he could not resist trying to find it and see if he would remember any of the house or town after 30 years. We gave him the tour, beginning with his old treehouse, which did have some renovations some number of years ago – and in need of more. It was fun to look at the changes in the house with them, describe the Fourth of July barn fire, talk about our first neighbor, Mabel Vreeland, and reminisce about summer vacations and ski weekends with only a fireplace for heat. Brrrrr! I like knowing about how previous owners enjoyed the house, and hearing about their fond memories.