Being newbies to this life in country lark, there is so much information to be absorbed.
Even a task like pruning our fruit trees is a totally new experience, and one that this time around fell to me.
I knew that if we were to have the best yield possible, I needed to prune and prune right, so this simple task to many, but not to me, required:
a. a trip to the nursery to talk to our kind garden guru about how it is done,
b. a perusal of all our gardening books and magazines to clarify the above information, hopefully with foolproof diagrams for me to follow,
c. and just to be doubly sure, a quick look at you tube videos to see it actually being done. In real time preferably.
Some of the advice turned out to be confusing including this gem: a bird should be able to fly through the middle of the tree. Easy as, right? Except it left me wondering whether the bird referred to was an anorexic wax eye or a kereru with an obesity problem?
And, of course, some advice was just plain contradictory. Sigh.
Regardless, yesterday I took the pruning saw in hand and began on one of the apple trees. I started off pruning fairly conservatively. Yes, the trees probably hadn’t seen a pruning saw in the last decade, maybe longer, but I still felt it prudent to exercise a degree of caution.
However, there is something about cutting off branches that seemed to bring out confident me. Admittedly, probably a decidedly unhealthy level of confidence, but confidence nonetheless.
I loped off branches like there was no tomorrow, following each cut up with a slap of paint. At regular intervals I assessed my handiwork, and worked out my next move.
An hour or so later, I finally stood back and looked at the tree in a smug and satisfied way. It may not be perfectly pruned, but it was acceptable.
I put my saw away for the day. I deserved a drink!
Our tame young farm manager popped by to say hi and check on his flock.
We stood chatting to him for a few minutes as we watched a plane land on the farm airfield across from us.
We asked him who was the owner of the farm and its airfield. He replied the owner’s name was Biggles. First name apparently.
The man and I smirked. A polite smirk, mind you! The farm manager looked utterly confused.
We explained that Biggles was a World War One pilot in a kids’ book from our childhood,
We all laughed.
A week or so after the Biggles incident, the first of our lambs were born. Twins and a singleton.
About two days after this, the man noticed a newborn lamb abandoned in the paddock; its mother standing way off.
The lamb appeared to be breathing shallowly.
We called our tame farm manager. He told us to stay away from the lamb and he would swing by in half an hour.
We kept away as instructed, but kept a close eye on the scene – our townie colours truly showing!
When Kayel turned up as promised, our near-dead newborn lamb was standing up looking decidedly healthy.
The lamb was neither newborn or about to meet his maker. Our lamb was in fact the singleton born a few days previously and his near-death experience was simply a nap.
Our young farm manager just grinned at us in a very amused farmer-y sort of way.
And we grinned back too. Sheepishly.
Learning curves – a two way street.