Burning, bottling

Tree restoration continues in the old orchard--this time sawing and lopping off dead branches on the full-standard trees and redefining their shape. Most of the seasoned orchardists we've spoken to and read go by the "1/3 rule" when restoring old trees: never remove more than 1/3 of an old tree's growth per year, even though it's tempting to want to hack all of the overgrown waterspouts and weak-looking limbs off. The trees we're working on probably won't have a very satisfactory structure or shape until year 4 of restoration. 

Speaking of slow-going, we've also begun bottling one of our all-island apple test batches--ideally to be bottle-aged now for six months. The taste of properly aged cider is always worth the wait.