Thursday, March 17, 2005

And the season of damaging winds is still ahead

Almonds have nothing to do with my income, but I was struck to the heart today by the paucity of fruit on the almond trees in the orchards compared to last year. Granted, last year the blossom season was dry and warm, and the harvest was very heavy. But this year, the branches are only lightly blessed with almonds, and one of my favorite orchards (tended by the oriental couple whose chickens were devoured by coyotes) was especially hard hit by the rains. As we rode past on our horses, I couldn't see many almonds at all on their trees -- and by now the almonds are an inch long and at least half an inch thick.

On a recreational ride with friends this morning, I should have been more concerned with my horse's snotty behavior; prancing and tossing his head, he acted like a total jerk almost all the way. But I was riveted to the dark stems and the new leaves, and the lack of fruit. Maybe the Little Duke sensed that, and wanted me to ride him hard to check out the other orchards in the area to see if all of the farmers had such bad luck.

As I said, my income is not dependent upon a good harvest; still, I don't have to profit or lose by the weather to imagine the wracking disappointment of the farmers as they view their sparsely fruited trees.

How many more orchards will be sold off this year to become housing developments?

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