Sweet Apricot Kernels

Move over California, with your water-hungry almonds. 4.5 litres of water to grow one almond? Ridiculous! We have apricots with sweet kernels here in the north, that can grow in the shrub steppe off of a bit of rain and a snowdrift. Are they currently food safe? No. There are issues with poisons in bitter pits and the potential of toxic amygdalin in sweet ones.

These ones are plump and sweet. Sure, most apricot kernels are bitter (as my friends point out below), but I take heart, because there  is an apricot breeder in the valley working on this right now. As you can see above, he has shared his initial success. The world can be remade one seed at a time. Next, some close testing and, I’m sure, a lot of fine tuning, but we’re on an inspiring path here.

Wooden People in the Similkameen

After forty-five years, a change of flavour!

It was the only sunny day forecast for a week, so today was the day. Up at dawn, and a two hour drive, to be greeted by apricots in full bloom.
There’ll be apples here in 3 years.

I cut the scion wood in March, wrapped it in cloth, and buried it in my onion garden. Today, eight hours making the world new, then two hours back home.

That’s a new sunrise in the foreground, and a new fuji in behind.

Fourteen in all! Six last year, and six the year before that (two varieties are going to have their first apples this year). Spring is fun! How did you celebrate it today?

 

Drunk in the Garden

Harold goes away to Palouse Falls and to the painted turtles of Conconully, and it is mighty fine, but summer is two weeks early this year, right, which means that when he gets back the apricots are almost finished their beautiful jammy thing and are not his apricots anymore. The drunkards have taken over the garden.P1180564Unfortunately, despite all the fermented apricot pulp one of them even managed to muster enough wherewithall to sting. Hoooooooooo, I tell ya.

 

 

 

 

 

Harvesting Water, Recycling Water, Respecting Water

This is how you comb water out of cloud and mist and drizzle (and let your cattle out of a burn zone for a night on the town at the same time).

Fence Down

More water blows through the fall and winter air in the grasslands than falls to earth. It would be great to farm that fog and those clouds. This combination barbed-wire and fine-meshed bird fence demonstrates the potential for drawing that water out of the air. Here’s what that looks like, up close:

… and closer …

When conditions are right, the wire doesn’t even need to be in a grid …

We don’t need to invent this technology. It exists. Societies have been harvesting water for thousands of years. A fascinating and richly-illustrated history of inventions, modern and ancient, can be found here. The last entry on that page presents the story of a successful cloud fence project in Chile, which collected 10,000 litres of water a day, supported a village, and established a forest, which then was able to collect its own water. Although it was abandoned, because of political reasons, it worked. It looked like this, back in 1987…

Fog Fence on El Tofo Mountain, Chungungo Chile, 1987 Source

On the grasslands, plants have known this for a long time. They have many ways of concentrating rain and dew. Here’s one …

Surely, this could be used as a model for a dew collector? 

Catch it on the ‘leaves’, tilt it to the ‘stem’, tube it to the ground? Cool, huh!

And what about this?

Apricots in August Keremeos

Thousands of tons of fruit, itself mostly water, are culled every year. They could be farmed for water before being discarded. Similarly, as I mentioned last January, millions of litres are simply evaporated away to create lumber. Meanwhile, through property taxes we subsidize so-called “free”  advertising “newspapers” stuffed full of advertisements for all the manufactured flotsam and jetsam of distant cities that mine the economic wealth of our communities. The purpose? To keep papers that didn’t need to exist out of the landfills. And yet we use water, which every plant, animal and human needs, once and then discard it. Why? Releasing it to the air just means it blows away to someone else in the east. Natural grassland systems, however, passed it on from plant to plant and species to species down through the hills in time and space. They kept it around for a long time before it was passed on to other valleys. We can no longer afford to rely on foreign, surface water systems imported from wetland thinking to turn water into waste. Since we’ve turned our valleys into machines…

Enloe Dam, Shanker’s Bend (Similkameen River)

Why use this water only once?

… let’s at least get some up-graded technology in keeping with current realities, rather than the 19th century technology in use today.