The forecast was for 37 degrees, and an easterly blew all day. Usually we get an early sea breeze, but not this time. Tania was there when I arrived. She had been skirting the Koroneiki since 7 am and there was a great pile of prunings. (Skirting involves clearing away all the hanging growth below 800 mm so that mechanical harvesters can access the trunk easily). Chipping prunings is my least favorite job. The prunings have to be stacked and trimmed and dragged to the chipper and lifted and poked in. We have a Hansa Chipper, which does a good job, but I wish we had got the more powerful model. Ours has about a 9 hp motor. You can get one with a 20 hp motor, which would make very short work of the big bits. After 2 1/2 hours my face was puce, and I had lost nearly all my bodily fluid through my skin! Felt a bit light headed, even though I was drinking plenty of water. There is still a lot to do, but Tania promises me that she and her sister will be there tomorrow, and her sister is keen to use the chippper. Good luck to her!
I put another coat of paint on the bee brood box. I am hoping to buy a new nucleus, but am not sure if anyone will have them available at this time of year. One more coat of paint, then I will start ringing around. I would like to get some of this season's honey - the Marri trees are in full flower, and that doesn't happen every year.
The other job I started was cleaning out the valves on the irrigation system. I suppose it is because the water is limey, but we get a fair bit of scale build up, and leaks pop out around the various seals. Then there are all the irrigation loops around the trees - we have a circle of drippers around each tree. Every little creature in the grove likes to get in and chew holes in the hoses to create their own private spa. You don't know that you have a flood happening unless you run the irrigation and slowly drive up and down the rows. It would be better to walk the rows, but there are 42 and they average 500 metres in length. I figure that would be a 10 kilometre walk. And it is up and down too. Great exercise!