by Leslie Cox; Saturday; September 5, 2020

Sadie backpackingAfter a few days of cooling temperatures, the weather is turning warm once again. Guess summer is not yet willing to cede to autumn just yet…which is fine by me. Bad enough the days are getting shorter but I definitely am not ready for the fall rains to start.

Thankfully, the weather has been not too hot for some hiking with Sadie these last few days…although she is always especially happy when we pick a hike along one of our local rivers.

Elk Falls from the suspension bridgeSeptember is a favoured time of year to get out on the local trails for our daily Sadie-walks. The colours are starting to change and light levels are lowering…all good requisites for my photographer hubby. Cannot say I complain either. It feels good to be out stretching the legs after so many months of slaving in the garden.

Mind you, these hikes always come with a dose of guilt on my part. The list of items on my To-Do List…harvesting, preserving, seed gathering, plant dividing, household chores, etc…is a little overwhelming but I bravely steal myself and shut the door on them for a few hours. Like I said, soon enough the rains will be here and I will not feel much like getting thoroughly soaked on any hike…short or long. Not only that, but rain days make for horrible photographs.

Have gotten some decent ones this week…including one of a banana slug enjoying its lunch. Did you know the banana slug, Ariolimax columbianus, is the second largest slug in the world? And it is native to B.C. It is also a well-behaved slug, believe it or not…much preferring to confine its territory to our coastal forests rather than venturing into our gardens. Now that is a slug I can live with!

Another photographic moment was spotting a dogwood tree in full bloom. How very strange! It was in someone’s garden so not sure which Cornus species it is but it definitely was re-blooming because the red berries from the spring bloom period were very evident.

I must give full disclosure here because we actually spotted this bloomin’ dogwood tree about 3 or 4 weeks ago. But this week I happened to have my camera with me and was able to provide documented evidence, as it were.

Turning to the garden…I harvested some of the apples off the espalier tree this week. ‘Honeycrisp’. Was actually a little worried about the weight on just one branch of the tree and it turns out I had good reason. An astonishing 123 apples (not including any of the windfalls which might have been ‘Honeycrisp’) for a total of 15.8 kg (34 lb 13 oz)!! On a mere 8 foot-long (2.4 m) branch. Unbelievable.

It was definitely the most productive of the 6 apple varieties on our espalier tree this year.

Still have the ‘Gravenstein’, ‘Melrose’, ‘Jonagold’ and ‘Spartan’ apples to harvest yet but none of those are as prolific as the ‘Honeycrisp’. Looking forward to sinking my teeth into a ‘Melrose’ as this is the first crop on our tree. Not sure why it has taken seven years for this variety to finally fruit but with all the other apples produced on this espalier, we are not suffering any lack of harvest.