Cherry Orchard

It has been a wonderful week here in Italy.  The sun has shone every day, temperatures in the mid thirties, and a bit of a breeze.  As I look out from the terraces at Bellaugello the fields are still green, there is still the freshness of spring in the air, crops are growing, roses are in bloom and the lavender is just about to burst forth, and of course the sun is shining.  For me this is what Umbria is all about.

All around this part of Umbria the farmers are cutting and baling hay, I am late this year and my fields are still with standing crop, I just need to find time to get round to the job, it is gettig kinda embarassing!

Here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, near Gubbio, the trees are laden with fruit, and in particular the cherry trees.  Last year I planted two species cherries, and these I seem to be sharing wit hte birds, the fruit is large and juicy and ever so sweet.  The other cherry trees are ones presumably planted by the birds many many years ago as they all produce small fruit, thaat is sweet, but decidedly on the less than average size for a cherry.

This year I planted peach, plum, almond and apricot trees, all doing well, and some with fruit already on the young tender boughs.  Sadly the nectarine seems to be suffering from leaf curl and I noticed tonight on my watering rounds a diseased red leaf, so it will have to be off to the specialist to find out how to treat the tree as I just lurve nectarines.

The two old apricot trees are also heavy with fruit, still green but swelling nicely, leaving me plenty of time to look out recipies for apricot tarts and pies for the summer.  The cherries I will bottle and try making cherry liqueur for quiet evening indulgence here on the terraces of Bellaugello Gay Bed and Breakfast

Calabrone and the cherry orchard

Calabrone, known in English as Hornets are not the nicest of insects.  Recently some calabrone had taken up residence in a large cherry tree, ok not really a cherry orchard, vacated this spring by a colony of ants (thanks Marius!).

The calabrone had stung the builders twice, so they had to go.  Emilio the bee-keeper was summoned, he donned his kit and proceeded to smoke them out.

After ten minutes he thought he had done all he could to eradicate the calabrone.  However…..

An urgent cry from the builders had me hurrying outside.  Smoke was exiting from all the branches of the tree.  It seems that the inside of the tree is very hollow, and whilst spectacular to see as smoke exited from many limbs an branches, we still had calabrone and now a fire too!

Hosepipes to the rescue, two of us doused the tree from a safe distance.  It took a good half an hour to quell the smoke, but sadly there are still calabrone flying into the nest,other remedies are being explored.

cherry tree burning insidecherry tree chimney?