Little Things

– Posted in: Garden chores
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The daffodils are blooming. They are such a bright yellow. The flowers light up the lawn like little droplets of cheery sunlight. They look like they have so much energy it can be envy inducing.

April is racing along toward its conclusion. Spring does go so fast. Next time I turn around it will be the end of May. In this latter portion of April it has become noticeably warmer. Instead of a chill gusty wind it is now a mild pleasant breeze with the amazing fresh smell of spring on the air. We have begun opening windows and allowing the sweet air to filter through the upstairs. The first clean fresh air we’ve had inside since summer ended last year so many months ago.

I finished pruning the three big apple trees. A little late, and just in time. As always.

There was less apple tree to prune this year since I had to lop off a major limb from two of the trees because of insect problems last year and the third tree suffered from being smashed by the willow tree when it came down. Less limbs to prune, but in the case of one tree this made my job more difficult because the removed limb was one I stood on to prune branches higher up. I managed by standing (illegally) on the very top of the step ladder.

The good news about the apple tree that was mauled by the willow tree is that it appears to be recovering. It still looks a bit ratty and there are scars that will last for many years to come. However, the tree survived through last year. It hasn’t come down with any deadly infection, and so long as it doesn’t I expect the wounds will heal and the tree will slowly get back to normal. This year will tell a lot. So far I am happy about the prospects.

At pruning time I always wonder what I will do when I get older. Way out on a branch–clutching the very end as I lean out over open space straining with clippers in hand to reach the last twig–I think that if I were the least overweight, out of shape, or plain stiff in the joints I don’t know how I could do it. Most of apple tree pruning is easy. But the very end of those few branches pushes safety, sanity, and physical ability to a realm I am not sure I will always be willing to venture to. Maybe I will surprise myself. Or maybe I will find some amazingly tall step ladder that I can use to reach those branches that are way out and far up.

Then I always wonder what will happen the first time I miscalculate the loading bearing capacity of a branch and end up, finally, taking “the big plunge.” Every year there are a few moments that come close (don’t read that, Mom). The important thing, of course, is to remember in that fleeting moment of horror to land right side up.

About the Author

At age fifteen, Rundy decided he wanted to write for his living. He is currently working on a novel, although it is not the novel he started at fifteen. When not working on the novel, he might be riding his bike, feeding his chickens, helping his neighbors, messing around with web design and computers in general, or writing on his blog, which discusses other topics in addition to gardening. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: fruits, vegetables, major landscaping, chickens and other poultry

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

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