Thursday, March 17, 2011

Susie says yes with her kisses...

It's amazing how quickly spring happens around here. It seems like less than a week ago, snow was still everywhere and my teeth were chattering. Today, Weasley and I sat on the porch for an hour, basking in the sun and reading. (Okay, it was only me who was reading.) There are more birds out there than you can shake a stick at, but my favorite is still this guy, the house finch:

Here he is with his lady friend. Sure, we get fancier birds with more dramatic plumage, but this guy sings the cutest little song. I just love it. Plus, he tends to hang out on my deck, so we've become close over time. I can't tell you how happy I am that the house finches are back! Yay!

Other signs of spring: Duck Duck and Mother are back. I'll put their picture up later. Duck Duck and Mother are a mated pair of geese who call Little Dog Orchard home. They aren't real social, but we love having them. Weasley wants to go meet them, but we won't let him. We're mean that way.

We've seen a wounded fox lately. If any of you know who I can call to have this poor thing picked up and fixed up, let me know. It's so desperate for food that it's eating the old nasty apples from last year. That can't be ideal for a carnivore. I'd leave food out, but I don't want to ruin the poor thing for normal life. I'll be researching fox rescue more this week.

Last, but certainly not least, a friend and neighbor just spotted his first muskrat! What a joy - now we'll all have The Captain and Tennille stuck in our heads for the next eight months. (See how I like to share?)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hi there!

Greetings, all! It's been a long time since I posted, and for that you have my apologies. It's a bit crazy here this time of year!

Before I forget, a couple people have asked about local activities that kids can enjoy. Time Out NY Kids has a lovely list here and there is an Ulster County farm guide here. If you have any questions, let me know and I'll find you an answer!

Our first two weekends of picking have been lots of fun and we're hoping to get another couple of weeks in before the end of the season. If you haven't been up to pick yet, it's time to make a plan! Remember, you can come just about any time of any day. Just let me know when you want to visit and I'll be here. Weasley, too.

Recipes will be posted to the website soon. If you have any that you'd like to share, send them to me at julie(at)

Hooray for fall! Hooray for apples! See you soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

...More irrigation... (think about Carly Simon. Or ketchup)

If you're reading this, you've probably gotten an email from us recently, so thanks for checking out the blog! Now go tell your friends that they should lease a tree, too! I feel like such a salesman when I push the leases, but friends, let me tell you: this is not about making money, and it probably won't make much (if any) for years. Right now, we need irrigation. You would be surprised to find out how much installing irrigation costs! (Okay, I was surprised. You might be completely blase about things like this.)

I'll post the details of our contest soon. For today, I'll finish sending out the irrigation plea emails (one at a time, so they don't get eaten by spam filters), work on starting a facebook page for LDO, and spend a few hours mowing before heading up the hill to work for the night.

Folks are starting to email their ideas about how to reach more people - I love it! Keep it up, Friends of Little Dog!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Know any good moves?

If you're wondering what we've been up to lately at Little Dog, picture me and Weasley doing elaborate rain dances. Yes, while nearly everyone else in the area is praying for sun, we're praying for rain. The trees are thirsty and we haven't had irrigation installed yet. We're working on it. We've even been approved for some handy government funding to help pay for it. But we still have a few things to work out (little things like paying the wonderful people we want to hire to handle the installation. You'll probably get an email about our new tree lease campaign soon, in fact...).

So if you know any good rain dance moves, send me a video!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More change afoot!

It's almost unreasonable, the amount of change that goes on around here. First of all, Mother Nature just keeps on truckin', as evidenced by this:Those little applets are bigger than kumquats!

Other exciting change: Gunk Haus (the awesome restaurant and beer garden just up the hill from the orchard), is going to open this weekend! Woohoo! (You have no idea how exciting this is. Seriously. These guys rock.)

There are other changes afoot, but none of them are as concrete. So I'll leave you with those for now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Before and During

Everyone loves Before and After pictures. Everyone loves the big reveal. I'm one of those people. I love those moments! This? is not one of those moments. And I'm pretty sure I ought to get used to more of these. Welcome to an era of Before and During. The photo above is a project that isn't especially long term: I'm just sanding and sealing the picnic tables I bought last year for you all to enjoy while harvesting your apples. But it's not something I can finish in a day, and, given my week, it probably won't be done this week. But that doesn't mean I can't tell you what I'm up to. It just isn't an especially satisfying moment. So there it is - your first Before and During photo. We all better get used to it, because Little Dog is a work in progress. And it's going to take us years to get where we're headed...

Incredibly cute (and yet, no picture), plus a bit on thinning

It probably goes without saying that I am besotted by our mascot (a.k.a. The Hudson Valley's Handsomest Hound), but I just had to tell you that he is especially cute when he is enjoying fresh asparagus. It's hard to capture with a camera because I'm greedy enough that I never give him a whole stalk. He gets the bottom ends only and he chews them waaaaay back with his hind teeth. I have no idea why it's so cute. I'll have to figure out if I can take a video. I have to be able to post video when the apples are ripe, because another endearing thing Weasley does is fetch apples. He won't fetch anything else, though. And I swear we didn't train him to do that!

Okay, apologies for gushing over my dog. I got a little distracted by the tractor and sprayer out my window. I would imagine they're putting another (?) thinning agent on. I'll talk more about thinning in the next few days. This year, we're going to get into it MUCH earlier than we did last year. (I hope!) The fruit set this season is amazing (go bees!), and we hardly got hit by frost, which means there are entirely too many little fruitlets out there on the trees. The conventional response to too much fruit is to spray any number of chemicals that kills off the weaker buds. Obviously, here at Little Dog, we don't roll like that. So I'll be reaching out to my neighbor to hire hands to snap off hundreds (possibly thousands) of buds per tree.

The crazy thing is, thinning ends up meaning more fruit in the long run. I'm going to try to take or find good pictures so I can illustrate this stuff for you a bit better. Pictures are good, right?