Wednesday, 7 May 2008
My overwhelming need to be right is not one of my finer qualities. Family and close friends know about my shortcomings in this regard and aren't afriad to call me on it. D, on the other hand, is still learning.
An excellent example of my I AM RIGHTness problem occurred last weekend while we were pruning our tiny apple orchard at Someday Farm. Whenever I've daydreamed about living in the country, an apple orchard always figured prominently, so I was delighted to find 15 apple trees in orderly rows on our new property. Sadly, they are stunted little things with nary an apple on them.
D consulted the local apple expert who lives a few concessions over. He's a good-natured fellow who supplies the boys with all their cider-making apples and I'm sure he was a bit curious to see our place as well, so he dropped by to provide us with some instruction. Now, I don't know if I just blanked out, or got distracted by a bird (this happens fairly regularly), but I swear Mr. Apple Man told us to prune the main middle branch out of the tree so that it would open up and allow the tree to umbrella out. I swear it.
We tackled the pruning the following Saturday. It was a miserable, rainy day; blessings on my bro-in-law C for lending me his cherished "rain gear," and blessings on D for buying me shiny yellow rubber boots at Christmas. Still, getting rained on when you have an outdoor task to complete does not bode well for marital bliss.
I dug my beloved red pruners (or "loppers" as D calls them) out of the depths of the unpacked garage and grimly set off through the downpour for my first tree. D was snipping off all the suckers and wasn't watching as I attacked my first victim. I hacked off the big branch going up the middle with the flourish of an executioner. Note: If you have never used a big shiny pair of loppers, I highly recommend it. It is immensely satisfying to cut stuff up. And I don't mean that in a Dexterish way.
I had just progressed to my third tree when I noticed D running towards me in what I have come to know as his panic posture, the one where he waves his long arms in the air like his hair is on fire. He was yelling, "NO! NO! HOLY F*CK, KIM, WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!?"
A bit snottily, I told him I was pruning the apple trees, just like Mr. Apple Man had instructed us to. More wild gesticulating from my mate. His voice had risen about three octaves.
"You're cutting the whole middle part off!? Are you insane!? My God Kim, look at what you did! You cut the whole f*cker RIGHT OFF! You cut all THREE of these RIGHT OFF!?!"
At this point, D attempted to grab the loppers from me but I hid them behind my back and with great difficulty refrained from jabbing him with them. Who was the gardener here? Who owned the majority of garden tools? Me, that's who! I was doing it right! He was the insane one! Humph!! Why didn't we just call Mr. Apple Man and confirm my rightness?
I suppose at this point you've already guessed that one should not cut off the "leader" branch of an apple tree when pruning it. That will stunt its growth and probably eliminate all chances of any apples appearing on it in the fall. And one should probably not have a dispute with one's spouse while holding a sharp object. Believe me, I'm right.