Pruning The Apple Tree In The Barnyard


The apple tree this morning, still with one dead branch to be pruned.

I grounded my feet in the branches of the apple tree and started sawing the thick dead branch with my bowsaw.  I noticed yesterday that the whole branch was dead and could be cut from lower down on the tree than I thought.

On Sunday I pruned most of the tree.

First cutting the branches lowest to the ground, then getting the ladder out to cut the ones higher up.  Eventually, I climbed into the tree to cut even more.

It was a few years ago that the apple trees were so heavy with fruit that many of the branches split and broke.  They’ve been hanging dead in the appletree in our pasture ever since.

I had thought about cutting the dead branches out many times, but it wasn’t until Sunday that I actually did.

It’s been a long time since I’ve climbed and sat in a tree.  When I walk in the woods there are a couple of tree stands, left by hunters that I like to sit in.  But they have ladders leading up to the wooden platforms.

I think I was a kid the last time I actually pulled myself up into a tree and found a comfortable seat in its branches.

I wasn’t high off the ground when I sat in my apple tree, but it wasn’t about that.  I remembered how comfortable it feels to be in a tree.  To find the right place for my feet, and the perfect branch to lean or sit on.

There’s always at least one.

It’s like being held, cradled even.  I thought of the big cats who sleep in trees and the ease of monkeys who live in the treetops.

How I envy them.

The branch I was cutting through was hung up in the live branches of the tree.  So even when I got all the way through, it still hung in place.  It was big and heavy enough that when I pushed on it, it didn’t budge.

I didn’t want to leave it hanging, the sheep were already beginning to wander under the tree looking for the apples I had knocked loose.  I wasn’t sure what to do but as I climbed out of the tree to chase the sheep away, a gust of wind came through the barnyard.

I watched the limb fall.  I moments the thickest and heaviest part of it was standing straight up from the ground.

It took a bit more cutting and pushing to get the branch all the way down and drag it into the pile of limbs I had cut on Sunday.  But the wind had done the hardest work for me.

When the work was done I sat on the grass, Fate next to me, looking at the Apple tree.

For the first time, I saw how the lower branches reached out evenly from the trunk.  And, instead of being dense with dead hanging limbs, I could see spaces between the branches.

It felt to me like once again, the Appletree was able to breathe.

Posted in Art

2 thoughts on “Pruning The Apple Tree In The Barnyard

  1. Always when Nature gives a hand in what I have to do or I know that celestial or cosmic do a hands on for me, I say thank you. Often I hear not necessary but I know when it is my effort and when it isn’t. And a thank you is never thoughtlessly pushed away. We don’t give them often enough and don’t hear a thank you much anyway. Now , do we? And now that apple tree breathes and I hear from someone, you’re welcome. Veronica

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