Figs and Chickens

Today we drove up to Sebastopol to attend the California Rare Fruit Growers' scion exchange. A scion is a short cutting of a plant -- the ones at the exchange were generally about six inches long. I was in search of figs, but it was a pretty exciting event.

First of all, somehow it managed to avoid raining on us the entire time, which was a real bonus in this week of constant rain and miserable.

The scion exchange was held at the Veteran's Hall, and the room was set up with several long tables full of plastic baggies full of scions to choose from, mostly labeled, and sorted by type. After paying the entrance fee ($5 for non-members) you could go through and choose as many as you liked: all you need is one scion to make a decent graft because as the sign says, a single bud will make a graft.

Table full of scions

I ended up with four figs (Desert King, Blanchette, Green Greek, and Genoa) to be direct rooted and an apple (Mutsu, also known as Crispin and possibly one of the finer BFA -- Big Fat Apples -- ever) that I'm going to graft onto my Jonathan apple. That's five kinds of fruit for $10 total admissions; They also had rootstocks on sale for $3 each, with grafting services available for a small number of grafts. If you wanted to set up a small orchard like ours you could save a lot of money by going to the exchange and picking up everything you needed there. The risk is that the varieties and particular rootstocks you wanted might not be available.

Afterward, we stopped by a feed store to pick up some chicken supplies: a chick feeder, and chick waterer, and a giant sack of "starter" crumbles: food for baby chicks. I could find starter crumbles more locally, but these were organic, and ended up being less than half the price for mail order for organic starter. I did have to buy a 50lb. bag, though, and that's definitely overkill.

Then our friend K, who we'd gone to the Sebastopol exchange to see, let us come look at her chickens. She showed off their hopping prowess by holding some beet greens up high and making them hop for them. Clearly, the Rhode Island Red was the more eager.

Chickens hopping for greens

The Barred Rock was happy to pose for a picture until K started spreading chicken scratch around. Then I was of no interest any more.

Barred Rock chicken

In other news, after we got home from our outing, I finished the plastering in the Accordion Room, and tomorrow we've got a whole new adventure in there.

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posted by ayse on 01/26/08

2 Comments

Oh, I love Mutsus! Our local nursery has an apple tasting day every year and that's where I first tried them. They are my very favorite apple for apple pies. I like the odd spicy flavor and how they hold up to eat. Lucky you!

They really are wonderful apples. I first had one as a kid when Cornell started growing them in their orchards. I've never tried them for pie (I'm a big Jonathan fan for that). Maybe with a branch of two of them I will do that.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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