Sunday, January 23, 2011

Beware of Gifts

Our third week of pruning and our achy-breaky bods are complaining big time. It's hard not to keep at it, though, since we've been blessed with beautiful weather during the day. The area's gotten more than 15 inches of rain this year, but not a drop after the first week. Mushrooms which were so prolific have all dried up, as has much of the ground that was so wet and muddy earlier.

This year, the residents at the back of our property, the McCs who have much more experience at these things (he's a groundskeepers, she's a horticulturist) helped us out a few days. I guess they know what they're doing, though it takes some effort for me not to yowl in pain as giant limbs come off.

"See how the crotch has some kind of fungus?" Mama McC points out to me. Fungus in crotches is NOT appealing, I agree, but...

Their fearlessness has completely emboldened Big Dog who is going chain-saw happy.

"I'm taking you down!" he announces to the giant apple tree. If this were a cartoon, the apple tree would be rearing up, I know.
"I'm sure it's going to be a lot happier now, with more light and air," I say, more to placate myself. If Mama McC is a surgeon, Big Dog sometimes looks like The Butcher of the Orchards.

That's why it's so nice when I have the whole orchard to myself. Like today, when the others were working other orchards and I got to spend the entire day picking up the prunings in peace, disturbed only by the antics of the chickens.

"Well, Freddie, whacha got there?" I chat to the rooster who's a little Freddie Mercury. He's got a worm in his mouth and he's giving it to Two Tone, the black and white hen. I am touched.
"Aren't you a little gentleman!"

Is there chivalry in the animal kingdom? I wonder, but even before I can pick up more branches and twigs, there's a loud squawk as Freddie tries to mount Two Tone.

"Get off me, you creep!" She goes running into the bushes, wings a-flutter.

"So, you buy her dinner and immediately expect her to put out? You're just like the rest of them." I laugh. But Two Tone wasn't about to be bought off with a little morsel, which makes her a lot tougher and smarter than SOME women I know.

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