Life is all about this at the moment and it's lost its appeal. Maybe because we are on to year 8 of trying to tame our manky can(tan)kerous, way too vigourous apple trees and we are getting too old for this? Or it's just so grey and dismal every time we go into the orchard, even if it seems the sun was shining 5 minutes beforehand? Whatever, I think it's a touch of SAD plus boredom!
It's a two man job, so many tools to take over the road and someone (me) to decide what to chop off and thin out and someone to stand on the ladder base whilst the other tries to get up in the tree to do the actual work. Then you realise you can only reach a couple of the branches or twigs you wanted to cut off and have to come down again and move the heavy ladder. And all the while you are getting a rotten sore neck from all that looking up - which requires sunglasses against the bright light of the sky - which is probably why everything seems so gloomy, because then looking down at the ground it seems soooooooo dark!
I've been sending the OH up the ladder more and more, as he's got 8 inches on me and has more strength in his arms for using the loppers so I'm getting very bored standing around pointing, which is doubly hard when I have to think very hard which way is right and which is left.
I am most definitely not giving a tutorial on how to prune apple trees; suffice to say they do not grow like the book, any more than raspberries grow in a nice neat little line like the book shows or redcurrants grow into nice neat little one trunk bushes with no canes coming out of the ground like the book shows. This all makes it very difficult for a beginner as only time shows how things really grow; all I can say is that if you cut something, it will grow back with vigour, hence the next year you will have to cut again, and so it goes on. And on and on and on!
We had a break from all this over the weekend and I baked more crunchy chocolate brownie failures on Saturday for our annual winter hamlet get together. This resulted in a hasty decision on Sunday morning that I had to bake something else as I couldn't take a failure to an event where I have got a reputation for producing cake success, so with thanks to the stored apples we have, a quick fresh-ginger-and-apple-cake was produced, again proving it is failsafe, and everyone at the do seemed to like it. So is it worth all that hard work in the orchard? Look, it's six months since we started eating those apples, so in a word, YES!!!!!