It’s a start

You can barely see the wheelbarrow under the load.

My chipper has been busy this week.

Here is the action centre. I gave up hauling all the branches way down to the stables where the chipper always lives. Chipping is messy work and you get a lot of debris, so for the past decade I have chosen to do the work out of the way, beyond the orchard. I can stockpile branches over the course of a few months without the eyesore. Or the constant nagging reminder to get it done. (Did I say that? I’m mimicking the dreaded ‘Get Brexit Done’ mantra from Britain’s current Prime Minister. Ugh. I’m writing this on Election Day.)

It was one of those inspired way-too-much coffee moments when I realised that I could win a lot of time just dragging the machine up and plugging it into the power in the courtyard.

It was kind of obvious. But that’s mild dementia for you.

My main workload was the once gorgeous oak tree high up on the (appropriately named) oak bank.

Nicolas is going to come over and reshape it, and get the heaviest of the branches down. It’s a two gardener job. (Having brained myself on one after using just my pruning saw I decided to bid a hasty retreat on the ‘get it done’ front. But he is in so much demand for so many other gardens, I have slipped down the list.

This is the sort of drama he has to deal with first.

I’m doing the low hanging ones; the branches, and trying to stack the mess ready for cutting into smaller logs.

As I was working Jean Daniel came past to ask if I needed a hand. But he was on horseback at the time and I decided he could have more fun in the forest than battling branches.

Actually he was working too. But in a more unconventional way. He is walking all the forest fire trails trying to clear the broken branches off the paths. And he has been taking his nifty pruning saw with him.


He and his favourite horse (and mine) have a good routine. They reach a tree with a broken branch, Ulysse comes to a halt and waits patiently while Jean Daniel saws away from the nice height in his saddle on a very tall horse.  Except yesterday as he was hacking away at a rather thick oak branch Ulysse got tired of standing still and decided to walked on. Leaving his rider behind.

It happened without warning, so Jean Daniel was left dangling in the tree holding on for dear life in mid air by his pruning saw. And after a minute of dangling and realizing Ulysse wasn’t going to come back, he had to accept the rules of gravity and just fall a rather long way crashing to the path.

Puts my paltry efforts to shame. Especially as Jean Daniel is not going to see 75 again.

After chipping all the oak I had a go at the other drama. The two plum trees in front of the lavender bank.

If I were logical they would both get cut to the ground.

But there’s a problem. Like all rural farms you have the inevitable telephone and power cables snaking across the space.

And one of these plums does a great job of screening the wires. It does a better job of that than providing decent fruit.

So I cut away the obvious broken ones, stood back and had a good think.

The right hand tree can go. There is a weed of an oak growing out of the rocks right beside it. And over time it might reach a height where it will screen the wires.

If we don’t get too many more biblical snow storms too early in the season when all the oaks and fruit trees are in full fat leaf.