Time to Prune
As the winter settles in, its time to do the pruning rounds. Most of the fruiting trees and many of the ornamental shrubs around the property will show either improved production or a more desirable shape based on good pruning techniques. If you have fruiting trees and shrubs, be sure to look up information about your specific plant and area, since time of year and style of pruning changes from species to species. I consult my local Ag Extension office, the local gardening stores and Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.
This week we focused on pruning our grapevines. We have one Mustang Grape vine which grows along our garden fence that we leave to grow wild. The plant still produces a nice bunch of grapes which are often eaten by the wild animals in the area, or we gather to make a sour wine for our vinegar. Our other grapevines, however, are for production, and we have been pruning them into shape since installation. They are just now reaching maturity and we are planning on having our first full harvest this summer.
We keep on harvesting spinach and lettuces from the garden, and have begun adding a few beets to our daily diet. The spinach is growing so fast, its time to start putting some of it away for the summer, so the pressure canner will be coming out soon. I hope I will be able to harvest enough beets this season to put a few of those away for a rainy day too. If you are ever looking for a great beet recipe, there is a simple delicious combo that I like, which is simply cooled roasted beets toasted with avocado, grapefruit, salt and pepper.
This week was also the Dionysium’s Winter Show on Science. I serve as the moderator of the Dionysium Debates, and we had not only a great debate but a truly spectacular show all around. Of particular interest to me was a lecture on light and the milky-way entitled Lights, Telescopes, Astronomy, by two astrophysicists, Jeffrey Silverman and Rachael Livermore. Their presentation was entertaining and informative.
What I was most struck by was their illustration of the size of wavelengths of light. By way of explaining the non-visble forms of light we are measuring and researching in our observations of the milky-way, they displayed a illustration which compared the size of varying light wavelengths to similarly sized common objects (or at least commonly understood objects). Although it may seem obvious to many, it had never occurred to me before that the spectrum of light that we know as the visible spectrum is what it is for strictly physical/mechanical reasons. I mean that the light we cannot see is composed of wavelengths either too small for a single photoreceptor or too large to enter the iris. I am not sure why I was so struck by this, but I certainly found it fascinating.
The entire show, in fact, was quite a treat. There will be another Dionysium in May, when we will invite experts to speak on Philosophy, perhaps you will join us.