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In 2017 I am making it a goal to post more about Phenology and what we are observing in nature/climate around our area. For those of you who are not familiar with the term "Phenology" its the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life. So, after that brief introduction here is your phenology tidbit for the week: Keep a look out for raccoons this time of year, its mating season for these guys! Yes, warm weather will bring raccoons out of their winter slumber on a sunny day in January, but right now they are more than just out for sunbathing, they are looking to find a mate!
Another thing noticed is that with these warm day time temps and cool night time temps, you way want to start thinking about getting your maple syruping equipment out - by the weekend were are expecting day time highs of 40's and lows in the teens, perfect for sap to be running!
Last but not least, I have always enjoyed the phenological part of farming, especially in the orchard. People ask, "when do you prune" and to be honest, there is never a specific "Date" that I start - rather I think of it much like maple syrup running, I prune when the day time temps are at or just above freezing and the lows at night are below freezing. I do this because it shortens the amount of time between when we prune the tree (literally a wound), to when it can start healing. Pruning too early in the winter can open the tree up to injury from the cold. So when do I start? Some years in late January, some years in Mid-February and maybe years even in March. In 2017 I will be starting this week!