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Blossom Season - Ben Gaia www.dialatree.co.nz October 2016
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Well the Buddhists claim that all life has consciousness, and as I study trees over the last thirty years I begin to believe it. While the peach and nectarines bloomed happily in early September, during a calm sunny early spring, all the apples steadfastly remained dormant. They must have known something! October came in with a boom and a bluster; massive temperature swings here on the West Coast from 0c to 23c in one day and frequently 3,4 or 5 inches of rain per day - that's 75, 100, or 125 millimetres per day. No it's not a tall story, it's a scientific observation from my wheelbarrow full of rain overnight, emptied and full again by the afternoon - and observations from the maximum-minimum thermometer. Typical spring in these parts but about a year's worth of weather for most other places!

Only the early fruiting apple "Albany Beauty" dared brave the October storms, until the last frost had gone and the thunderstorms abated. Now in the final half of October, all the apple blossoms have appeared, about two weeks later than normal. This is the sort of observation that contradicts some of the terrible news about "global warming" we get on the internet 24/7. As far as my apple orchard goes, it is a late spring and a wet one too. I am not a "denier". a term which implies some kind of nazi denying the holocaust. I call it as I see it, and I have lived and worked outdoors far from cities, for over thirty years. Look up "Urban Heat Island Effect". Even NASA's own data shows many parts of the world, New Zealand among them, where average temperatures have cooled or remained the same, especially in the southern hemisphere and over the oceans. There is too much despair and gloom around. I still believe the biggest threat from the weather is the chance of a 24-hour hail storm which would really mess things up. And fossil fuels may be bad, but the terrible dangers of nuclear power are far more of a threat to human life.

So, the picture shows a range of apples all now in bloom, promising a great crop and cleverly avoiding the gales and hail which have wrought havoc with some of the commercial apple orchards around Nelson this year. Here are Sturmer Pippin, Red Delicious, Crab apple, and Fuji blossoms, all dancing in the sun between showers and cross-pollinating their little hearts out. A good sign for the coming summer: apples galore!

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