Archive for Work party logs

February 9th winter pruning work party

A number of new as well as seasoned volunteers showed up for the winter pruning work party on February 9th. We were pleased that a number of trees had already been pruned. Work party leader Bob Baines shared his approach on winter pruning with those looking for expert guidance. Several of us got involved in either moving large quantities of mulch up to a number of the trees or clearing away the large Oregon Grape growth above the Piper’s Orchard information sign, which has blocked a clear view of the orchard from that vantage point. Good job, everyone. Thanks!

Bob discusses winter pruning with some of the volunteers.

Bob discusses winter pruning with some of the volunteers.

Bruce MacLean is pruning his "adopted" King apple tree.

Bruce is pruning his “adopted” King apple tree.

Pruning and mulching.

Pruning and mulching.

Ready for another load of mulch.

Will’s ready for another load of mulch.

Some good results. And enough twigs left over to make a wreath.

Some good results for Meriam and Dave. And enough twigs left over to make a wreath.


Wilma and Bob review the pruning job.

Wilma and Bob review the pruning job.

Check out the improved visibility of the orchard from the information sign.

Check out the improved visibility of the orchard from the information sign.







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January Apple Wassailing Party

On January 12th, we were blessed with the presence of Sound and Fury Morris dancers, and other Morris dancer groups from as far away as Portland and Vancouver, B.C. We had a Wassail King – David Frances, and a Wassail Queen – Lily Zaborski. We had merriment, dancing, tree toasting, noise making, hot mulled cider, hot chocolate, treats and a good number of visitors. And, we had sunny, if chilly, weather. A perfect January day. Following are some pictures from the event.


Visitors learned about the history of apple wassailing as well as Piper’s Orchard.

Hark! I hear some bells, some marching, some music,

Hark! I hear some bells, some marching, some music!

All kinds of instruments and costume.

All kinds of instruments and costumes.

Celebrants and the Wassail King.

Celebrants and the Wassail King.

Let's have some cider to warm up.

Let’s have some cider to warm up.

Wassailers check out the Piper's Orchard story.

Wassailers check out the Piper’s Orchard story.

One of the wassailers learned that mud can be somewhat slippery.The end.

One of the wassailers learned that mud can be somewhat slippery.
The end.









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April 14th work party

On April 14th, we had gorgeous weather for our work party, and we busied ourselves, learning about the hows and whens of hand pollination. It was a bit early for many of the trees, but we worked on several pear trees that haven’t set fruit for the past several seasons. In addition to brushing pollen into blossoms, we hung up a bucket of pear blossoms with some sugar water in one of the trees near the mason bee house to attract the bees to pollinate the old fashioned way. Don also placed some pollen near the mason bee house so the bees could transport it to pear blossoms. We also weeded around the base of a number of trees and placed mulch around them.


Don places pollen in front of the mason bee house in hopes that some will make it to a waiting pear blossom.


Kathy brushes pear pollen into one of the blossoms.


We're examining blossoms to better understand the blossom components and where the pollen needs to go.


And we're pollinating.

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February 11, 2012 Work Party

We had a great work party on February 11th, with a good turnout of experienced pruners cutting down both big and small branches. Then we brought them down to the trail, cut them up and stacked them (pretty neatly) for Parks and Recreation pick-up. (Thanks, Rich!) We even had a visitor from Spokane who’s working with a historic orchard there, and wanted to learn and work with our experienced pruners.

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Work Party April 9, 2011

Don, Bruce and Dave left a good plot of brush to get sorted given Will was the only sorter.

Admittedly I also cleared the back row towards the low edge of the orchard of some brush that would constrict a lawn mower running in between the grapes and the two new trees just planted above the path.

The weather was fine, the buds were bustin’ and the air smelled sweet and strange.

Trent refreshed and rehung the Blue Orchard Mason Bee condo!

Hope to see you June 11 at the next work party.  Meanwhile  always feel  free to move a loose limb or two down the hill into neat stacks by the trail if you have the time and inclination.

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Work party January 29, 2011

The orchard received the benefit of a skilled group of volunteers winter pruning many of the apple trees. We also trimmed brush from around the perimeter of the orchard, and identified trees that have some disease on their bark. Thanks to everyone who helped out.

We cut all the limbs to 3' lengths.

Adam, Andy, Lily Zaborski, Ingela Wanerstrand near heirloom grapes.

The Macleans carry a ladder to a tree for pruning.

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Work party August 7, 2010

A crew of experienced pruners conducted summer pruning on a number of the apple trees, as well as several pear trees. Here are some photos.

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Work Party, June 19 2010

Putting foot socks on the small apples was most of the work this party…

not that there weren’t other distractions …

The grape vines have taken root and are protected and thriving.

It’s looking like there should be a good dozen trees full of apples come harvest!

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Work Party, May 15 2010

It was a beautiful day in the orchard.

Time for work and relaxation in Piper's Orchard

May 15th proved to be a glorious spring day for a work party. Don Ricks, following his work with the Good Shepherd Orchard in the morning, led the work party. Volunteers put up pheromone strips and a few trichogramma wasp houses, placed footies on the few apples that were large enough, applied cardboard bands around tree trunks, netted one of the smaller trees, thinned some blossoms and apples, and cleared brush from around the developing grape plants. The 180 pheromone strips placed throughout the orchard will not touch the fruit, are not a pesticide, and only confuse male codling moths by scent.

Volunteers were rewarded by Lori Brakken, president of the Seattle Tree Fruit Society, who provided apple pie and beverages for everyone.

Following are some photos. Thanks to our volunteers.

Pheromone strips, footsox, and other critter deterrents

Don hangs pheromone strips from a tree.

No codling moth here yet

Foot socks / maggot barriers were put on some young apples.

Netting over a hawkeye (predecessor of the delicious) apple

The trichogramma house for wasps that help control codling moths.

Cardboard bands can capture codling moth eggs.

a vintner's tools

The grapes are thriving, they'll need some watering soon.

Andy clears brush away from the grapes.

Fun times in Pipers

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Work Party April 17, 2010

Thanks to the volunteers who helped out at the April 17th work party. We weeded, mulched, pruned, planted, and enjoyed our “organic” day-old donuts. The orchard is in fine shape.

We planted Black-eyed Susans, alpine strawberry, wooley yarrow, dark dancer clover, lupine, and more as a guild planting.

‘Guild Planting’ is a permaculture concept whereby one plants certain plants together to benefit each other, and the orchard tree they are planted under, by providing mulch, nutrients, and attracting beneficial insects to help with pollination and protection from pests.

Some of our "Guild planting"

We appreciate Lori Brakken, President of Seattle Tree Fruit Society, for her donation of some of our new plants.

Over the fall and winter months, Andy Zaborski planted several varieties of grapes, all of which were in the Pacific Northwest during the time when Piper’s Orchard was planted. They’re now leafing, and are now accompanied by a bat box with a Mason bee house on it.

New grapes with bat box and Mason bee house

We were able to use the new trail that is being completed from the entrance to Carkeek Park to just north of Piper’s Orchard. The STARS work party was busy Saturday morning graveling the trail.

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