Sunday, May 1, 2011

Frost season comes each year unfortunately

Through the bloom stretch frost can be a challenge. It seems to come every year, although some years it visits only a couple days while other years it drags on way too long. While the blossom is dormant through the winter it is susceptible to damage by cold temperatures, but usually only extreme temperatures will kill the blossom. During the prebloom when the bud swells and the flowers and leaves begin to show they become more susceptible to the cold. Eventually we try to keep the orchard from falling below the freezing threshold. It is challenging to raise the temperature in the orchard, but usually it can be done. The different methods enable us to get a few degrees of warming and that generally is enough. Water as in the first picture may seem backward but actually works really well to help warm the air. Water as it cools and makes the jump to becoming ice releases energy in the form of heat. The one drawback is the need for a constant supply of enough water for the area you are trying to save. Wind Machines like the one below also work well. Many people do not understand the term wind chill, the term refers to the rate of heat loss. In other words if the wind chill chart said it was 10 degrees colder than the ambient temperature then you will lose heat as if it were the 10 degrees colder, but the air is still exactly what the thermometer says. The buds don't care if the wind is blowing as long as the actual temperature is above freezing. The damaging frost nights almost always occur when the air is calm. This allows the air to separate and the warmer air rises while the colder air builds near the ground. The cold air moves in the same manner as water will slide along the surface to the low areas and pool up there. A wind machine will move the warmer air above and push out the cold air settled near the ground. It is a large propeller which moves a lot of air and also rotates slowly making a complete circle about every 2 minutes. Yes, they do make quite a bit of noise, the blades sound somewhat like a helicopter and the motors have about 2 feet of straight pipe on them so you hear the motor well too. They cover around 10 acres depending on how calm and cold the night is. The last picture involves a strategy. Some nights there is a drift to the air and it is difficult to keep the cold air out. To counter this I will try to run water on the side of the orchard the air is entering. Some orchards have smudge pots (diesel heaters) or propane heaters or some are burning straw or other types of bales to heat the border. All these methods work but it is a difficult situation. All in all it makes for a long night. Such has been my life for the past while. I hear people from time to time who think that all a farmer does sit and watch the crops grow and have no idea the effort it takes and that those crops actually end up in a grocery store. After all, food comes from the store so what do we need farmers for?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We went fishing on the river a couple days ago. The Chinook Salmon run this year is showing good numbers and I decided I would some how learn to catch them. I am doing OK at catching them, so I guess that is good. Finding time to go is difficult, but the river is close which makes it easier. We went there for a couple hours after school and caught this one. It was a bit crazy. When we hooked this one I gave Keldon the pole and told him to reel it in while I got the other pole out of the water. The wind was blowing a bit across the river so I could not stop the motor and just drift or we would hit the shore really quick. So I was trying to drive the boat and get the other pole out and get the net out. When I would look back at Keldon he was pretty much just hanging on to the pole with it pointing into the water. I would say you need to keep the tip up and the next time I would look he would be back to just hanging on again(I really had thought about tying a small rope to the fishing pole before we went out just in case they couldn't hang on so I wouldn't lose a pole). These fish are good fighters and Keldon was making little or no progress so when everything was ready I had relieve the little fisherman...really needed it on video as it was lots of fun and craziness.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sturgeon Fishing

A Friend of Mine, (Riner) likes to sturgeon fish. I like to fish, it really does not matter what I am fishing for as I like trying to figure out how to catch them. It is much easier to go with someone who knows what they are doing and enjoy a trip together while you are learning. My dad (Grandpa Gibbons) and I went fishing for sturgeon on the Columbia River yesterday evening and were fortunate enough to catch a legal to keep sturgeon. The only ones you can keep measure between 38 and 54 inches. We went out just for the evening and had a great trip, nice and calm weather, great sunset, good company and fishing, what a combination. This fish was 48 inches and weighed 35 pounds. It is good that there is such a thing as you tube so I could learn how to cut up the meat so it tastes good, seems there is always something to watch out for when cleaning fish or game or the meat will have a strong flavor.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Building a snowman

Building a snowman can be interesting
you have to ask yourself three questions

will it be work...yep

What ever shall I wear Hmmm...pants and socks would be a good idea

What will it look like when I am done
hmmm I can't quite make out the facial features

Monday, November 30, 2009

Steelhead season

We are blessed to have a river within a few minutes of our house that has many fishing opportunities. Steelhead are an amazing fish. They begin life here and visit the ocean for a few years then return here to spawn. We went fishing over the Thanksgiving holiday stretch and caught several fish. Fishing with family or friends is great.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How not to pass a tanker truck

Monday November 9th was a crazy day. I had taken Brooke to an orthopedic surgeon because her ankle was bothering her. The surgeon, Doctor Gibbons, just happens to be my cousins son which is kind of cool. She ended up getting a cortisone shot in her ankle which I watched... interesting and that otta hurt at the same time. Brooke dropped me off on her way to school in Connell and I started into my day. Then I got the call, "Dad, I got in a wreck"...those are awful calls, a world of emotions come compressed into a single moment. I got a few details, I'm fine, the car is a mess, I hit a truck, so I went to get her really not knowing what all to expect. when I arrive, there are 4 State Patrol cars there, and a county crew putting absorbent on a line of fuel on the road that stretched 80 or so yards. The car is in the median on a bit of a hill pointed somewhat back to the road she left and a tanker truck she tangled with may be 100 yards up the road. The truck is fully loaded with jet fuel, that was a bit unsettling. He was climbing the hill at Mesa on Highway 395 so he was going a bit slow and Brooke came up behind him on cruise control at 70MPH. Her phone buzzed and she looked to see who it was...bad idea...looked up to see she was way to close to the truck. She swerved out into the passing lane and then over corrected which caused her to come back into the back side of the drive axle wheels of the truck. In other words she missed the back end of the truck but hit the truck on the side. The trucks wheels pushed the nose of the car up and bent the fender up on the truck and damaged the off loading pipes which spilled the fuel. The front of the car is smashed bad from the trucks wheels, road rash on the top corners, and dings pretty much everywhere. She says it was in slow motion, she remembers going over 3 times, no one stopped to say they witnessed it which is crazy because it is quite a long straight stretch and there always seems to be vehicles there. The cabin portion of the car came through very well for which I am grateful. Brooke seems to be fine, her chest is sore from the seat belt and her neck muscles were a bit sore along with the ankle she got the cortisone shot in. We went back to Dr. Gibbons again the next morning to get a medical release so she could play in the State Volleyball Tournament a couple days later. We are so thankful she basically walked away from something that could have been so terrible.