Our observance of the Summer Solstice will be a bit of a departure from normal this year. On a day that we generally associate with Nature (even more so than normal for us) we’ll be plotting the demise of some of our trees.
We prune and cut live trees in late autumn and winter, when they are dormant. This damages the trees less (pruning) or makes the wood drier (felling). Unfortunately, our management depends on remembering conditions from the previous summer.
This year, we plan to conduct a sun survey on the day, examining the fall of shade on the garden and other growing plots at the sun’s annual zenith. We’ll also assess view sheds and ensure that the door of our root cellar remains properly shaded at the fullness of summer foliage and sunlight. We’ll mark the trees and branches accordingly, to be cut this coming winter.
We’re already noticing benefits from last winter’s cutting. Several food patches receive more sun this year than ever before, and yield increases proportionally. I’m relucant to cut living trees (see Attitude Adjustment Through Animism) but the produce boost justifies it.
I should have done this survey on the 19th, when we had full sun, and just as much daylight as today, as the solstice zenith, like the full flow of the tide, hangs for a bit before beginning to decrease. I would have had a much easier time gathering the information then than we’re likely to get today, since wet weather moved in yesterday. I would have had to do without Michelle’s consultation, but even so, it would have been more productive than how I spent the day. I fought deer and horse flies all day. They swarm in the sunny weather. I even had to give up fishing off the beach, even though some good-sized Dollies chased my lure. The flies drove me off the beach after delivering some bites I’ll be feeling for a while to come.