I have some more photos that I had problems uploading before, so here they are. It is April 30th and I spent the Easter holiday on the orchard and had to cook for myself. The weather here is coming to winter so it gets down to about 5 degrees at night and it is cold when I have no heat in my room and not much thermal gear. As of today there is only about 2 days left of picking so I should be out on the road by the end of next week. My first trip will be from Nelson to Westport where I plan to attack the river at Buller Gorge. It has taken a while but this should be my first chance to ride some white water. From there I will continue traveling south until I get to one of the closest civilized points to Antarctica. I will try and keep you posted.
And while I have the chance I would like to say hello to my mistress who I have spent the past three summers with and will unfortunately not likely see for a long while. Of course I am talking about the EMEND project, my Peace River home. I am sure it won't be the same without me and my accident reports. If Jason or Charlene sends me the address I will bless the crew with a postcard.
For those who don't actually know what I did here is a synopsis of the last 11 weeks. I arrived at the Orchard on Feb 13 and thinned fruit on the 16th and 17th. Thinning involved removing small fruit from the trees and breaking up tight bunches of apples so that the tree can put more energy into ripening fewer apples. This was my chance to learn how to work with the ladder and get comfortable 10 feet off the ground
On Feb 18 I started picking apples and there was steady picking for 2 weeks. In that period we picked Cox's Orange, Galaxy, Royal Gala and Brookfield apples. I averaged about 3 bins a day and realized I was pretty soft coming into the season. On March 1 I started picking Taylor's Gold pears. The bins were smaller so I picked 13 bins in 2 days and then got shifted to the pack shed where I had to unload the pears onto a conveyor belt. I was given this task because pears do not float, and when they unload apple bins they dunk the bin in pool of water and then run them down a water way. After I was done in the pack shed there was 1 week of down time because the Braeburn apples weren't ready to be picked. In that time I hiked Travers Saddle in Nelson Lakes National Park. Regular picking resumed on March 20 and I averaged about 3.5 bins per day. By the end of the season I was averaging about 4 bins a day. I met some interesting people in these last 11 weeks and some really weird people as well. I didn't mind picking apples and I was pretty comfortable there for the most part (nights were a bit cold at the end). Who knows, maybe if I get home by August and really need some money I will be picking apples in the Okanagan valley. I have a full wallet now and am looking forward to getting back on the road.
Add this song to the playlist: Carmelina by Fred Eaglesmith from the album "Ralph's Last Show". It is a song about migrant workers that the Cowboy Junkies also recorded.