On the conclusion of the PYO season, I forgot to mention this very interesting incident while I was out in the orchard making sure people are staying within the boundary and not sneaking off into blocks that are not opened. I came upon this pair of unsuspecting young adults off boundary and told them nicely on where they should be picking. After a couple of minutes, I came back and saw them even further away from the designated area, and this time I gave them a warning that the third time they go out of the designated area, they will be kicked out of the orchard for trespassing.

Then, it became interesting. First, they acted dumb, like most people do, and ask me where is the boundary, again. I showed them the electric fencing tapes that we used to mark off the boundary, located at the most obvious level that one can’t miss. One of them tried to be funny and make fun of it says they look like some cheapskate line, to which I replied, “yea, very funny, now please pick in this area,” in a rather sarcastic and firm tone. The other guy decided  to regain his pride, and so the conversation goes…

Customer: Hey, you know we are your customer, we can here, pick your cherry, give you money, you should be nice to us. You know, the customer is always right.

Me: (straight face, look him in the eyes) We don’t have that policy here. As long as you pick in the designated area, it will be fine.

After being in the customer service line for so many years, that totally made my day. That’s why I love working in this orchard, we don’t kiss arse. We don’t have the policy of customer is always right, our policy can be summed up in one word, “RESPECT”. We look after the trees, we grow the cherries, we love and respect our trees, and we treasure the fruits. If our customers think that their money makes them kings and queens, they are in for a shock when the world plunged into food shortage.

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The ever shrinking orchard. Its down to 7 hectares of cherries now. The PYO conversion rate is rather poor, you can have 35 tonnes of cherries on the trees, but only 30% of it gets turned into cash, even when you can’t find a single cherries on the tree at the end of the season. The birds would have taken about 20% of it at worse, that still makes 50% of the crop not paid for. Something to look into, crop to cash conversion ratio shows a significant gap. Some form of inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

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Aphids totally find their way onto the Lemon Meyer! I hate aphids! I am currently treating with Sulphur C200. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to resort to Neem and soap combo. Of course, the reason they established is because of my neglect in keeping the potted lemon tree well-watered. I don’t really hate aphids, they are everywhere, they love hanging out on those rose bushes too, upon closer observation, they give me the chills.

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The white David Austin’s rose flowering profusely. They go through an interesting cycle, first the aphids come, then the aphids are gone, then the plant push out new growth vigorously, then flowers. Then the aphids return. Weird.

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I’ve have some Bio Dynamic Pinot Gris this year. Hopefully, I’ll have enough grapes to make a glass.

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I’ve been eyeing them Tomato Indigo Rose for a long long time. I wonder when will they be ripe for the plate. These lovely little cherry tomatoes started off dark purple, they don’t even need to start from green! Will I be able to beat the birds and possums to the first ripe fruit?

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The sunflowers and saffron corms in a pot seems to be working well. These dwarf sunflowers are ready to flower. I accidentally neglected watering them for a few days and they went a bit wilty, gave them a good dose before the aphids show up! I’ve made up to link them up to my automatic watering system. It will be the Christmas and New Year present that I will be giving to the Orchard Cottage.

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I’ve started the Summer harvest. Had a radish in my risotto this week, and some peas here and there. I’ll be adding the zucchinis to healthify my fish and chips tonight. Radish do shoot to seed really quickly!

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Caesar is behaving quite well when I take him for a walk off the leash nowadays. Though, I still keep him on the leash when we are walking on the road. We went for our first hike together up the hills. The journey is quite good for him as they are plenty of stock water troughs along the way for him to re-hydrate.

Now is a good time to spend a few hours a day reflecting on the days gone by, and set some New Year Resolution, then spend next year breaking them all.

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