That’s right, tis the season of PRUNES and Pruning. However, in this story I will be talking about general work life for the month of June.
June is a hot month traditionally. One of the main things or most time consuming things to do on our farm during this time is pruning trees. This means 80 acres of walking each row and trimming each tree by hand. Yup…This is a mandatory thing for us tree people (walnuts, and fruit trees) because we don’t want branches touching the ground, or suckers growing out of the base of the tree, and we have to be able to get our machines under it. For this reason we have to stretch our tired arms up to the branches and start chopping. Of course there is a bit of skill involved, but by the time you get to the end of your day some of that skill goes straight out the window. My arms feel like jello and my neck is strained. I will hear the complaints from family members down the road when they see I have missed a branch or cut one crooked. Yup, they notice.
I grew up on this farm my whole life doing the same work, and I feel lucky because of it. It can be extremely difficult at times, like harvest and pruning or fixing irrigation, but in between when I stop and look at the actual tree with the sky floating up above and listen to the sounds, and feel the cool air coming from within…I breathe it all in and it just plain feels good.
“A family that prunes together stays together”.
What feels even better is being surrounded by family. This farm has been family run and operated for almost 100 years. Back in the day it was expected that as soon as you could walk you would play a major role in farm work. I suppose not much has changed. When I was young I started off dragging heavy bales of hay to feed the cows, working on an almond huller ,on the conveyor belt or shoveling almonds into the hopper (we were low tech.) Or driving the old pick up truck from tree to tree to pick up dead wood when I can hardly reach the pedals. This was never ending work for me…and somehow, when I moved away to experience city life, I missed it.
Now here I am with my very own family walking the trees while my little ones mostly run along side us looking for bugs in the trees, digging holes that our walnuts will get stuck in later, and once in a while begging to use the clippers to chop off their own branches. They could barely hold the things, but they were super excited when they were able to do just that, chop off a branch. I love watching their creativity in the orchard and comparing it to when I was young.It motivates me to make it to the next row.
Besides having to go about pruning all the orchards, we still have to keep up with the garden, continue rebuilding the barn, mow the orchards, irrigate the orchards, continue cleaning and organizing old part of property for new house, and finish working on my produce cart. Did I mention I was building a produce cart? I will have a thorough update on that later.
So as you can see, June is crazy and there is no slowing down from here. Produce gets picked every other day, two garden beds need to be redone, and at some point the rows for the new blueberry plants will go in…all done by yours truly. Oh, and I have two little ones to help me along the way. Stay tuned as I have a lot to share with you this month from food preserving to my journey of building a produce cart from scratch. And nothing was purchased, all recycled wood and metal. I am excited!
I started with 2 wheels and nothing else…..Then I just kept adding on. You will see.