Thursday, March 26, 2015


The fruit trees here are overgrown.  I remember when they were planted, even though I was only four years old.  They were supposed to be semi-dwarf trees, and stay small enough that the fruit would be easily picked.  They were placed in a line across the backyard, like ducks queuing up to get into the ark.  2 apple, 2 peach, 2 plum, 2 apricot, and 2 pear trees, all sunk into the ground by my gardening grandfather, as a gift to his daughter at the purchase of her first house.

We watched those trees grow along with us, always wanting them to be bigger so we could climb them.  And then they started producing fruit and we spent many hours picking and cleaning and cutting and cooking the bounty into jewel-toned jam.

Every spring there was a (mostly) friendly tug-of-war between my father and mother about who would prune the trees.  I don't think either of them really wanted to do it, so they each wanted the other to take care of the job, but they each thought the other would do it wrong.  So do the job, but do it my way!  My dad was a shear-er, and my mother, taught by her green-thumbed father, was more of an arborist.  I laugh now, remembering the struggles, and because I haven't yet developed the skill of proper pruning.

Now there are only 3 trees remaining: apple, apricot, and a little pear tree.  The apple and apricot trees have long since forgotten that they were supposed to be semi-dwarf, and have outgrown their easily-picked size.  Something needed to be done.

Unsure of my meager knowledge, I called a neighbor to ask for assistance.  He came over the other day, and took care of the job.  As the pile of lopped-off branches increased, he chuckled and asked me not to tell my mother what he was doing.  He, too, knew of the feud.

And now the poor trees are bare.  Trimmed and shortened.  I'm not sure we will get much fruit from them this year, but at least we will be able to reach it all!  Now, how do I get my boys to haul off all these branches?

Thanks, nice neighbor-guy!

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