Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tree Massacre

No, I didn't kill a bunch of trees today. It looks like it, though. I employed the Chuck Drouillard "Cut 'em to bloody stubs" method of pruning our apple trees.

We have several apple trees in our front pasture. We had a bumper crop of apples last fall, but way too many of the apples ended up staying on the tree. They are just too big, and even with that apple picker I made, along with a nice step ladder that was left by the previous owners of this fine estate, we just couldn't reach them.

I'm afraid I removed too much from some of them. I intended to leave them about twelve feet tall, but I cut some a little too much. Still, they will be OK in a year or two.

I, on the other hand, need to see a chiropractor.

The trick to properly hacking the trees is to first remove the dead wood. Then, get rid of all of the limbs that cross and rub, get rid of the limbs that go too high, and get rid of the limbs that are shaded. If you are doing this to old trees that have never been pruned, you'll end up with a bunch of branches littering the ground. If you want to save your back, cut off smaller pieces so you don't end up dragging pieces of wood that weigh a couple hundred pounds. If you happen to be in your 40s, cut the macho stuff and drag something that won't kill you. [groan] (Maybe I can talk Mary into working out the kinks in my back.)

Unfortunately, I need to do more because the pole saw threw its chain, and I have to put it back in the track. Oh well...

I had never heard of a pole saw until recently. It really is a nice thing to have around. Imagine a chainsaw at the end of a stick, and you just about have it. Actually, the engine is at the end that you hold, and the cutter bar is at the other end. It's really good for cutting off limbs that are too high to reach. It is also great if you're a klutz who might hurt yourself because the cutter bar is twelve feet away from you. Even my brother, who has done interesting things like driving a nail through his knuckle, would have a hard time hurting himself.

It isn't totally foolproof, of course. You have to be aware of where the limb you're removing is likely to fall, and you have to be ready to dodge if your prediction turns out to be a little off. Ask me how I know about that one.

But I managed to get most of it done, and I have no major injuries (strained muscles don't count).

It feels good to be getting some stuff done around here. My list of spring projects is under way. I pulled the feed containers (garbage cans) out of the storage area so that we can rinse the chicken poop off of them and shovel the contents of the concrete slab into the roost area (where it will be tilled, removed, and used to fertilize the carrots and potatoes). I also planted two grape vines. We now need to get more fruit trees to put into the orchard, and make some modifications to the coop area. Things are definitely coming along.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Ray, sorry no answer been AWOL..
love the flowers alot ta.
congrates for getting out there adn trying new things.
love that animals, get down to there level sometimes when you shoot them, much more mess and fun.

10:28 PM  

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