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.
Picture taken for The Dogwood Photography Photo Challenge: Macro