Monthly Archives: October 2013

Third Annual Cider Fest

October 17, 2013

The weather forecast predicts perfect weather for Saturday afternoon. Please invite your friends to poster for ruth_2013join us for cider, popcorn and friendship. We will also unveil the most recent architectural design drawing for our orchard space.

In November of 2010, the orchard became a 1/4th owner of an old fashioned cider press. Ingela kindly stores it and each spring we all reserve the dates that we need the press.

Since our orchard is still very young, we search for apples at friends homes, at the Fruit Research station in Mt. Vernon, and at a few public places. All apples that ripen later in the fall are useful for us, even if they have some defects. We wash the apples before they reach the press and then they are heated to 155 degrees for at least 10 seconds.

Cider Press 6292827529_c4bec7dfb3_zHow many apples do we need? A bushel of apples yields about three gallons of juice. (A bushel of apples weighs 42-48 pounds, about 125 medium apples. So, if 100 people down three ounces of apple juice each on Saturday, and we want to offer 1/2 gallon of juice to Ingela, our Cider Press caretaker, how many apples do we need annually for our Cider Fest? (Leave the answer in a comment.)

Bring a few dollars to enter the raffle for this beautiful quilt. Proceeds 101513 pea patch quilt 16x16 (2)will benefit the P-Patch Trust – our fiscal sponsor!

Next year we will host a sugar-free apple pie contest!

Thanks to those who are directly helping to make the Fest the Best: Nancy M, Justin, Melody, Ingela, Laure J, Renee, Michelle, Joan, Sue Ellen, Teri S, Pamela P, Melany and Noah, and Jennifer.

Sun, Nov 10, 2-4pm, Work Party
Fri, Nov 15, 7-9pm, Final Design Review Meeting
At the Hearthstone. The best door prizes yet!
Sun, Nov 17 1-4pm, Mushroom Inoculation Event

A very special thanks to Max and Dana who have joined the prestigious FECO 20 hour club. Congratulations to both! They have spent over 20 hours specifically on 2013 Design Neighborhood Matching Grant work. In addition to grant work these two are also great at grunt work!


Got Burrs?

October 10, 2013

Our three year old Chestnut Tree pleasantly surprised us this year by popping out 14 burrs! Our Maraval cultivar (Castanea Sativa x Castanea Crenata) boasts some of the most beautiful male flowers of any edible Chestnuts. (See photo)
101013 burr website sm DSCN0662
Catkins can hold the flowers of both sexes, with the males in the upper part and female flowers in the lower (monoecious). These 6-8 inch long catkins appeared around the fourth of July and soon after the female flowers (burrs) developed into spiny protective cases called cupules. The burrs will continue to develop until late fall when they will drop from the tree. We paired our Maraval with a Prococe Migoule as two cultivars are needed for cross-pollination.

Sweet Chestnuts do not like clay soil and are susceptible to root rot. As such, how long they will be able to pry their way into our clay soil remains to be seen.

Sun, Oct 13, 2-4 Work Party Sunday.
Bring garden gloves. We take leaves!
Sat, Oct 19, 2-5, Cider Fest
Volunteers needed to help press
Two shifts: 2-3:30, or 3:30-5
Let us know. We take apples!

The American Chestnut was nearly wiped out by the chestnut blight, which began in 1904. Within 40 years nearly four billion trees were wiped out and in 1912 the Plant Quarantine Act was passed to reduce the chances of such a catastrophe in the future. The Chestnut is prized for its rot-resistant timber and fruit. There are strong efforts around the country to repopulate these trees.

Sometime ask Nancy H about her Chestnut story from elementary school in Pennsylvania.


Design Review Meeting Soaked With Enthusiasm

October 2, 2013

Twenty seven people gathered on the cold rainy Saturday morning of September 28 to review three designs from Barker Architects’ design team. Many warmed up with coffee or hot chocolate. In attendance were Mark Huston, P-Patch Trust Board Member, our fiscal sponsor, and Rich Macdonald, Supervisor of the Seattle P-Patch program.

Iphone photos 2013-10-01 043 altJustin gave a brief history of the orchard and then read the Pomegranate Center Ground Rules for Public Participation. “Assume that together we know more than we know individually…”

Ruth picked up the pace with a drawing for two door prizes. She then asked people to speak up if there was a design element they would help install. “It is easier to weight and prioritize design elements that are attached to volunteer commitment.”

Please let us know if you can help with flyer distribution for the October 19 Cider Fest.
Sun, Oct 13 work party 2-4pm. We will weed, add compost and dig out English Laurel ( )

Nic Morin (Barker Associates) and Jackie Crammer (Permaculture Designer) then set the tone for how designs should be reviewed. “Study a design feature even if you don’t like it as it will generate new ideas. Be prepared to let go and remember that a key outcome is your increased connection to the community.” And, “Try to imagine more than one use for each design element.”

The architectural team reminded us that if the space is active and sight lines are good there will be less nefarious activity. “When a space feels loved and is gardened it will attract that same kind of energy, rather than illicit behavior.” We were encouraged to scrutinize design elements that might promote vandalism or safety issues.

Design number one, Light Touch, shows the space as integrated, with a little more fruit in the south end and a few vegetable beds to the north. Paths are fewer and non-symmetrical. The very south would be opened up by limbing up trees and taking others out.

Design two, Infinity Loop, emphasizes symmetrical paths and a large broad community gathering area. There is just one entry.

Design three, Active Eco-system, divides the existing orchard area from an active community area. It has the most paths and the most development per square foot.

The public choice was overwhelmingly design number one, Light Touch. (See all designs on the Library page.) “It’s simple, clean.” “It’s minimalist.” “Inviting, but austere.” Those responses erupted when the gatherers were asked why they liked design one.

The participants were very sensible and good-natured, which does not happen at every public design meeting! However, there are always minor differences. At one point, a voice from my left suggested Wisteria for the sound wall. Seconds later, a voice from my right answered, “Hold the Wisteria! That stuff can choke small dogs!”

The possibility of a rain garden at the south end was mentioned, but we acknowledged that Seattle Public Utilities would have to help instigate such an expensive project.

The meeting concluded with a nice lunch. I wasn’t quick enough to get a homemade scone but I heard they were scrumptious.

The architects now go back to the drawing board to piece together the popular design elements from the three drawings. We will all have a final say on Friday evening, November 15, from 7-9pm at the Hearthstone.

Don’t forget, if you missed the meeting, forward your ideas via email or complete the survey monkey on the Get Involved page.

Thank you to the volunteers who exceeded all expectations: Max, Sue Ellen, Joan, Justin, Melany, Nancy H, Renee, Dana and Melody.