Archive for Work party logs

Work party February 20, 2010

Gil Schieber Conducting Pruning Workshop

Gil in situ

Looking up from the trail

Pruning the orchard

The sign tree

The Sign Tree

Ladder Trees

Master Apple

The Bat House


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Work Party and Wassailing – January 16, 2010

On January 16th Sound and Fury visited Piper’s Orchard, conducting an apple wassailing to bless the orchard in hopes of a generous crop of cider apples this summer.

We had a great crew of volunteers, and others responded to various announcements to just show up and enjoy the music, dancing and celebration. We had a people count of over 50.

The volunteers cleared out a large stretch of blackberries and other orchard invaders, and hauled much of it off to composting zones. Several volunteers coached newbies on pruning techniques, and they accomplished a lot.

An Eagle Scout candidate and friends spent time staking out potential locations for a series of bat boxes they were constructing to hopefully attract bats to sunny areas in the orchard. The bats are a great environmental way to deal with coddling moths. By the end of February, we had three installed. Andy, our viticulture expert, provided some great assistance to the installation crew.

We thank all the volunteers that showed up.

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Work party on November 21, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night (make that a cool and rainy day), not fit for man nor beast. However, a work party was calling, and a few intrepid volunteers did work. We raked leaves, set a line from the first grape planted last year for future grapes, and planted another catawba grape.

A Piper's Orchard News sign hangs nearby Piper's Creek Trail.Joan fights the temptation to jump in the pile of leaves.

Andy completes the catawba planting, with Adam and Lilly admiring the work.

Joan's avoiding the temptation to jump in the leaf pile.

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Work Party October 17 2009


Twas a rainy day in the orchard, but we got some good work done in between showers.


The primary task was clearing blackberries from a spot for the new grape plants.


A rough preview of what the future line might look like.


And the first grape plant goes in! This Catawba (vitis labrusca), which should do well in our climate, is native to North America and was popular during the time the Piper family settled here.


Equipment and personnel!

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Work Party August 22, 2009

We had another successful work party with volunteers pitching in to bag fallen apples in the orchard to reduce the number of pests making their way from the apples into the ground where they’d stay until next spring. We also shared tasting samples from various trees with ripe (or almost ripe apples) – Gravenstein, Red Astrachan, Duchess of Oldenburg, Wealthy, Crab Apple. We were happy to have a good turnout of volunteers and tasters. And several folks took home a good bag of apples for eating and cooking. Thanks to all.

fallen apples, lots were cleaned up!

A number of apples from our bumper crop have already fallen.


An apple is trying to outgrow its footsox.


BOSC Pears


A few good people can move a lot of apples… or even hold up a tree!


Joan and Bruce discuss what varieties are ready for tasting.


Bruce shares information about one of the orchard’s varieties with tasting visitors.


Might COCA’s Carkeek Park art installation Heaven and Earth have inspired this?


we for one pass the bag to parks, compost please!

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STARS work party on 8/15/09

Another sunny day for a work party, and another group of volunteers, made for quick work of blackberry removal around the southeast border of Piper’s Orchard. A STARS group, consisting primarily of a friendly group from Sam’s Club, continued working on an area to the east and southeast of the orchard, providing more open space and sunshine to an area where we hope to plant a grape trellis. Thanks to all the volunteers!

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work party July 18, 2009

July 18th provided another picture perfect day for a work party. We did summer pruning and weeding. We also helped a number of folks who were in the orchard for a treasure hunt, talked with other visitors about pruning an old apple tree at their home, and talked to others about the Heaven and Earth sculptures exhibited in the orchard and other spots in Carkeek Park.

090718_pipers_abundancelots of fruit in the orchard!


too much in places, and not enough hands for thinning.


worm hole?


the foot socks are still protecting some


we may have a problem with fire blight, particularly on the pears


yet the pear trees are still making pears



the companion plantings from the April 18th work party are still doing nicely

as usual a visit to the orchard uncovered other goodies too…






snap dragons and bumblebees

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June 27th – Heaven & Earth at Carkeek Park and Piper's Orchard

Carkeek Park is celebrating its 80th anniversary this summer. Eleven artists were selected for Heaven & Earth, an exhibition of temporary, outdoor sculptural installations. June 27th marked the opening date, and the weather was extremely cooperative. Two of the installations were located in Piper’s Orchard.

Visit the park this summer, picking up a Heaven & Earth map at one of the entrances. It describes where each installation is located, as well as identifying the artist and their description of the sculpture.

We were fortunate to meet Kristin Tollefson, who was putting the finishing touches on her exhibit (3).

Barbara De Pirro installed ‘fungo plastica’ (2) at the north end of the orchard.

Friends of Piper’s Orchard staffed a table to provide orchard history to visitors. We also checked the developing apples and did a little thinning.

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Work Party – June 6, 2009

We had 11 volunteers show up at Piper’s Orchard today. The weather was very pleasant, and everyone pitched in. We thinned apples, applied many hundred green-dyed foot sox, and weeded around the bases of the apple trees. With the cool, rainy April and early May, we were concerned that the apples might still be very small. However, the recent sunny days and record-setting heat seem to have encouraged their growth.

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Work Party May 16, 2009

Work party volunteers showed up on a beautiful spring afternoon to pull weeds and lay mulch around the flowering apple trees in Piper’s Orchard. We also reviewed potential sites for a planned grape trellis that will support historic grape varieties appropriate to the local climate. Thanks to all who volunteered this month. Without the volunteer efforts over the years, Piper’s Orchard would still be an undeveloped resource overgrown with blackberry brambles, rather than a hidden gem.

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