The Pruning Challenge

We’ve been pruning our apple trees.

I like the challenge of deciding what to do with each tree. But not so much the challenge of standing on the top of a ladder.

What branches need to go? Which should stay for the long haul? And what branches should only stay for now?

Each tree grows with a different personality.

They have twisty branches or willowy branches. They grow with limbs that want to grow out forever and others that want to reach up forever. The ones that grow up forever are John’s job. 

Pruning the trees is a constant exercise in studying the details. Watching for rot and fungus while looking at angles that limbs grow out of the main truck. Checking to see how a branch responded to what was done to it last year to know what to try this year. And double checking to see if your ladder is stable. 

And then, at the same time, trying to hold a picture of the whole tree in your mind, not just today’s tree, but what today’s tree should look like in three years. This is better than holding a picture in your mind about how far off the ground you are, that’s ill advised.

It’s a challenge, and I like it. Well, other than that whole “heights” thing.

Except that today, a week in to the process and so close to done, my brain broke. I couldn’t figure out what to do with another wonky branch or just how many waterspouts to cut and how many to leave.  I left John plugging away at it and stumbled out of the orchard in search of a Diet Coke and dinner. Also shortly before this I may not have triple checked the stability of my ladder and while I’m sure I didn’t actually almost fall two whole feet to the ground and die – it felt completely possible at the time. 

Pruning is a challenge.

I always like a challenge, I’ll be back out there again tomorrow. Unless the last trees are really tall and then it’s all John.

All John. 

Picture taken for The Dogwood Photography Photo Challenge: Macro

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Quiet Moment

Quiet Moment, week 4 of the Dogwood Photography Photo Challenge. 

I briefly entertained the idea of taking a photo of a quiet moment in my house.

There was a dog sleeping peacefully in a sunbeam.  So I snuck up with my camera to capture it. But the beep of the camera caused the dog to leap up, other dogs to run to me from all directions, and a few cats to get stepped on in the process.  The kids yelled to see what I was doing, pigeons flew in all directions, a duck got trampled in the commotion while the geese honked, the smoke detector sounded off, the radio blared and the chickens flew in circles.

Or something like that…

In reality this photo, captured outside, wasn’t that quite either, but I think it looks like it might have been, don’t you?

 

Lawnmower Limbo

There are no winners in Riding Lawnmower Limbo.
In fact, Riding Lawnmower Limbo isn’t a thing.

No matter how tempting it looks, don’t do it.
When the branches start taunting you, trying to convince you that you can do the whole thing without ever stopping, backing up or getting off, don’t believe them.

The ducks and geese can organize their own orchard limbo. They'll probably do fine so long as they don't learn how to use the lawnmower...

The ducks and geese can organize their own orchard limbo. They’ll probably do fine so long as they don’t learn how to use the lawnmower…

You know why?

Because if you are mowing an area at high speeds (There are totally winners at high speed lawn mowing just so long as you have the reflexes to miss the dead cat!) and you start doing the lawnmower limbo, you will lose. You will lose your sunglasses and your ear muffs and a bunch of skin off your back and the only thing you will gain is a lump on your head for your efforts.
Because it’s the limbo.
And, as everyone knows, when you successfully limbo once, the bar just gets lower and lower and lower – until you bleed.

True story.

Apparently branches make me competitive. I went under this one, you know, the one the dog is walking around...

Apparently branches make me competitive. I went under this one, you know, the one the dog is walking around…

There is no such thing as Riding Lawnmower Limbo.

But if there were, I would totally be a star.

A high speed, bleeding, bruised star…but still a star!

Walking in Circles Looking Up

The weather here has been nice and our days have been spent pruning the apple trees.

I feel that, in my relative apple tree pruning inexperience, I spend a lot of time staring up at the tree and walking in circles.

I forgot about the trail camera we put out to see if we could discover who ate the ducks.

pruning apple trees

Turns out that walking in circles while looking up is exactly what I do.

Only seven more trees to go!

 

Pressing Cider

This year we are trying something new.apple on tree

Using a small cider press,cider pressing and lots of help from the children, cider pressingwe are pressing each of our individual varieties of apples separately. cider pressing

As the trees have ripened each variety has been pressed, bottled in half gallon jugs, labeled them appropriately and stored in the freezer. Now, with just a bit more planning and spreadsheet making to do, we’ll be ready to offer them for sale.baskets of apples

Heirloom apple juice, ready to drink or blend into unique mixes for home cider brewing!