Pruning at a Fast Clip

160324_FirstCrocus

[ We don’t trim off EVERYTHING! ]

March 24 – We have had some BUSY days lately! You might guess what we have been doing if you have read some of the blogs that have to do with working outside because of the beautiful weather in the low seventies. It’s so hard for either of us to be content sitting behind the computer screen or doing little jobs that demand we stay inside! Yes, I’m sure that you already know we are outdoors people, but we enjoy it all so much that we try to get our indoors work done as quickly as possible so we can take care of tasks outside, even if they don’t need to be done right now!

For instance, this pruning and cutting and pulling on vines that are entwined way up in the trees, and bringing them down against their will, and finally raking all of the cut stuff together in huge piles, ready to burn when it’s not so dry. That doesn’t have to be done right now, this very minute, but we are inspired to keep on working as we see the big difference in the before/after scene. Since one of these days soon, we will be working in our garden and mowing, we want to get the other jobs done now.

160324_YardTools

[ Tools of the Trimming Trade ]

Since Dale had other tasks he had to take care of, I recently tackled one section on my own that was composed almost entirely of huge rose bushes! All went well until I tried to cut off a branch that must have been too big for the clippers I was using. With the clippers in place, I raised my arm and slipped the handle under it. Unfortunately, that gave me just enough extra leverage that the branch fell off as the clippers closed, and hit me right about the top of my ribs! Dumb me! I think that must have numbed the area, because I went on working, only stopping now and again to feel sorry for myself.

However, later in the afternoon, I could easily tell that I had made a mistake with that clippers and would have a good deal of pain. First time I have taken an aspirin for a pain like that in a long time! I didn’t work the next couple days, but last night, when I woke up several times, I thought about the jobs we would tackle today, all dealing with the cutting out of the big area surrounding a couple oak trees near our pond. I skipped the three other areas that needed to be taken care of, but went on to the last one in the row. Dale finally got his chain saw working and said that he would trim out what’s left of the branches hanging down from the trees if the rose bushes and fallen branches were taken care of first. Unfortunately, most of them can’t be reached from the ground, and we are in solid agreement that he should not use a ladder to try to do the job. Too easy for the ladder to sink down into the soft ground and fall over.

160325_DaleBurningPile

[ Starting another burning pile ]

After breakfast one day this week, we headed off to clean up the area. I told Dale that if we counted how many clips we made, sometimes needing two or even three clips to cut down some of the buck brush or rose bushes, even WE would be more than surprised at the work done by our hands and clippers! Since I didn’t have time the day before to rake together in piles what I had clipped off, Dale did most of the raking to get rid of the mess before we started cutting again. Talk about BIG piles of stuff.

Since we have cut down so many huge rose bushes, we are a lot more able to pick and choose which part of the bush goes first! Sometimes we can just bend over and lop off some of the canes right at ground level, but usually we have to cut off just parts of the stems round the bush. Then when those bush canes are cut and deposited safely on the pile, we can cut the rest at about ground level, without getting scratched and scraped. (I already have more than enough of the bruises and cuts and thorns, many of them in my thumbs, caused by those roses, and I don’t want any more!)

After working about three hours at that job, we were both ready to walk across the field and on up to the house. For awhile, we sat on the tail gate of the truck in the garage. Nice to rest in the sunshine and look out across the acres, watching the myriads of grackles and starlings moving up from the pond area into the trees around the bird feeder. Just a bit after they had arrived by the hundreds, they must have figured out that we wouldn’t hurt them, so they swooped down, covering the entire area around the feeder, and spreading out into the garden and north fence area. Hundreds of them, rising and swooping, pecking and eating. This happens every year as the birds are making themselves at home at a feeder that always has plenty of food. Since they clean up most of that food while they are in the area, it’s a good thing that after a while, they move on to other areas and settle down with a family.

160325_Buckbrush

[ More buckbrush to cut ]

I really hadn’t planned to go out to clip and rake again in the afternoon, but when I heard that rain was coming, along with some very strong winds, I decided to try to clear up more of the buck brush and roses. Poor Dale has such a hard time with RA in his feet that he just can’t keep going for hours as he used to do. Instead, while I was out cutting, he was sorting and cleaning in the barn, finding lots of stuff dumped onto the tables and shelves by scavengers. Couldn’t be our friendly possum, as we haven’t seen him in the garage or in his nest in the big tree. Don’t know if he doesn’t need a warm home when the weather is nice, or if something caught him. We have so many memories of that strange animal!

So out in the field, I worked another three hours and finally got most of the area cleaned out. Another day should be enough to finish the job. The last four areas are not as full of those horrible rose bushes so the work should go a little faster. As I told somebody just the other day, this should be the last time we will plan to do that job again. Lots of other areas to clean out, but we may be satisfied just to cut out the osage orange. More on THAT tomorrow… – CHRIS

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