Ann Torrence

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since Jun 27, 2012
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Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Recent posts by Ann Torrence

T Blankinship wrote:Does this position start in 2023 or 2022?

Edited to fix the date. It is 2023
1 year ago
Long time since I've posted, been busy building a cidery in southern Utah.
We are looking for our first farm intern. Paid position, April 1-Oct 31, 2023.

Come experience farm-to-bottle value added agriculture in the heart of Utah's red rock country.

Details and application found here: Join Our Team
1 year ago
Been a while, but this one is in my wheelhouse.

7000' with 500 fruit trees in Torrey Utah. Mostly cider apple varieties. Also perry pears, pie cherries, quince, etc. 80+ varieties of apples. And trialing some grapes.  Started planting in 2012.
We get trees from mostly Cummins Nursery in Ithaca, vines from Northeastern Vine Supply in Vermont to get acclimated plants that ship at the right time.

Now to keep them alive. We have adapted Michael Phillips' general instructions in his books for our situation. 1) we do not strip the existing pasture, just mow. 2) we get the rental bobcat and auger 12" holes 4' deep. 3) backfill with only the native soil plus 1 lb Azomite and 1 lb rock phosphate. Treat the roots with myccorizal dip to establish tree microbiota. 4) 10 gallons of water at planting. They don't get water again until our irrigation cycle, every 11 days. 5) cage or wrap to protect from voles. We only plant trees in the spring, except a few trees we grafted ourselves that needed to get in the ground before winter. They did okay, but not my preference.

We do everything with the intention of driving the roots deep before winter. I know three new growers near our altitude in UT and CO trying to establish trees on drip irrigation and they are having terrible winter kill problems. One guy had 20% losses his first year. We don't get winter kill. Maybe 6 trees in 9 years. But they are all on drip and doing it the way the consultants say. I have offered our experience, they don't listen. We don't get winter kill {shrug}. If you use drip, do it on a cycle that saturates deeply at intermittent intervals. Best advice we got was from an old-timer here: water new trees on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and March 1. We only do it the first year, about 10 gallons per tree, but do it religiously. Second best advice: "get ahead" on spring irrigation in the fall, at the end of the season when none of my alfalfa growing neighbors want water. I've augered holes the next April that were still damp 2' down despite a terrible snow season.

Prepare yourself mentally for slower growth than the books say, simply due to shorter growing seasons. The three year "Sleep, creep, leap" cycle is more like "Sleep, creep, creep, leap" at best, until they hit the summer irrigation water table here. Then they take off. Time to first fruiting doesn't really seem as correlated to rootstock as advertised; again I suspect it's just our short growing season. Maybe if we trellised we could have sped things up, someday if I find more land/water, I can run that experiment.

There's a link in my bio to my cidery and the site has a list of the trees we are growing along with some recommendations on which varieties we think are good for homestead use. But plant everything that you want. I was told we'd never get Virginia Crab to fruit here. Ha! I will happily be harvesting our first apples from that tree for cider in a couple weeks. Good luck!
2 years ago

Thank you for modeling kindness, wisdom and mentoring.
May you know peace like the soft cool grass between your toes, warm sunbeams on your cheeks and the soft chittering of sparrows.
Bill and Toby have saved a lawn chair for you, when you are ready they will want your help upgrading the permaculture design for paradise.
Myriad blessings unto you and your family today.


Angelika Maier wrote:do you organise all the meetings or is it a self runner that people take turns  - in an organised or unorganised fashion?

I'm still spearheading the thing, but after 2 years, we have developed a system that sort of works. We don't do much in the summer, a lot of us are too busy. We watch the tomatoes slowly ripen and figure out the best day for a tomato taste-off party. This year we went too early, first week in September, not everything was ripe. But we have a potluck and at some point I circulate a list for ideas for what to do together that winter. It has three columns: I want to do this, I want to help organize this, I can lead it (or know someone who can). We pick what to do based on enthusiasm and resources.

We did a turkey butchering workshop the Sunday before Thanksgiving at my place. Last year we had the county bee inspector come out, a felting workshop. Next year, one of the members has five depredation tags for deer, and has volunteered to organize a large-animal processing workshop.  Someone is signed up to do soap-making and I need to call her to get it set up for January. We do a seed swap and I hope to get Joseph Lofthouse to come this year to talk about landraces (our climates are not so far off).  Maybe another movie night.

So it's a mix. I hope to get to the point where I could disappear and it would carry on by itself, but we're not quite there yet. But it's worth it for the community that is coming together and growing more resilient and supportive.
7 years ago
Thank you for putting this in the daily email. I had no idea he was so sick. Glad I had the chance to say thank you.
7 years ago
So we have to restart 3 hives. I ordered 3 packages of bees with queens that will arrive at the end of April.
DH will pick them up in SLC, about 200 miles away and whisk them home. Any tips on the transport? A few thousand bees loose in the car is the stuff bad horror movies are made of.
Tips on the installation? When we bought the hives originally, they were already established so this is new to us.
8 years ago
Here's the summary, read it and weep.

Things to note: if you aren't in the US and don't export to the US, you can ignore. If you sell less than $25K per year, almost none of it applies. If you sell less than $250K per year, you get a ramp up period.
I was at a small/urban farms workshop when the extension office did a presentation, and half of the mandatory training hasn't even been developed yet, so it is very much a work in progress.

If discussion level warrants, we can start separate threads on the key provisions like water quality, animals and manures, etc.

As the extension officer said, don't shoot the messenger. These rules were under an FDA review process for years. If you don't like 'em now, your recourse is your congressional representatives. This thread is to discuss how we are moving forward, not how we got here. That train left long ago.
8 years ago

dos zagone wrote:The search engine, is there a way to make it work better. Like a advance engine or something with more options. I use the one at the top of each forum section IE (plants) near where I can use (new topic) button. Is there a different one that covers all forums and is there a way to make particular word pairs show up in order desired or just subject line ect...?

At the very top of the page there is another menu, and non-traditionally, the search function is the top LEFT item on the menu. Once you click on it, you can search by keywords, phrases, in any, some or all forums, also by poster. You may have to actively scroll up to find it. Hope that helps!
8 years ago
I'm thinking I want to add some mason bees to our pollinator mix. We have a good number of summer natives, but we didn't get great pollination even with our honey bees last year and our hives did not do well over the winter.

Where are you getting them?
8 years ago