Solar Production 2016 and 2018

Solar Production 2016 and 2018

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Pruning

    Late January is pruning season. All over town, ladders lean into fruit trees and piles of twigs grow between the rows. It is a good time to prune. Seeds are ordered, the garden is pre-plotted, the weather is not too cold, and there is still a little light when I come home after work. I’ve been pruning myself this week.
            Yesterday, I worked on the hazelnut trees. The Beeyard Hazelnut has a lovely, curvy, cooked shape that just needs to be cleaned up every year; I trimmed it down some as well, as some shoots were reaching for the sky. It was clear in the afternoon, and I perched on the top of the twelve foot orchard ladder, above the trees, and shook down greeny gold pollen over everything.  The Compost Hazelnut is more of a shrubby tree. Because of Mark’s compost hoops, it is harder to trim. My goal is to keep it out of the electrical wires and then let it be. Mark likes to hide in its branches in the summer and it curves over his work area nicely.
       This afternoon was foggy. It started out light, but, as the day went on, it came down darker and darker. It was a good day, however, to work on the front yard’s fruit trees. The apple just needed a little tipping off, and I took out two crossing branches. Moving the ladder took most of the time. The plum was a little more work, as it loves to sucker, but it is a smaller tree. I cleaned up some messy cuts from last summer, took out a few crossing branches, and de-suckered the whole thing. While I was balanced in the center of the tree, a neighbor walked by and smiled. “Looks like an art form,” he commented. When I finished, I brought some of the twigs inside to bloom on the mantle.

                        Pruning is an art, searching for the shape of the tree hidden in the branches. It is like reading the rough draft of an essay. It requires climbing up and down the ladder, shaking branches to see were they lead, considering cuts from a distance. Once the design is established, it needs to be maintained, every year. The result, however, is lovely. When all of the trees and hedges in the yard are trimmed, light moves across the yard more freely and the back yard world is more beautiful. And, unlike other yard chores, this one can be done slowly, in the late afternoon, as the misty sun sets in our winter grey skies.

Parsnip Cheese soup

1 onion
4-5 parsnips
3 potatoes

2-3 t of caraway seeds
1-2 t dried mustard

3 c of milk
3 c of grated cheddar

Saute the onion until soft, then add the parsnips and potatoes  and spices and just cover with water. Cook until soft. Puree with the milk and cheddar, and reheat. Eat with salad and new  bread. Maybe some apple sauce...

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