Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Badly Damaged Apple Tree Still Wants to Bear Fruit

God seems to have built into every living thing the urgent need to be fruitful. Gardeners are reminded of this every spring after the rains when the weeds begin to sprout everywhere. But it's also true of the larger plants, such as the apple tree you see here.  This is a huge tree, spreading as far on the side you can't see as on this side. Since we moved to Templeton in 1993 it has borne truly delicious apples. Unfortunately, we did not have the time nor knowledge to properly prune this tree those first years and last year it caught up with us. Here's what the tree looked like in May, 2010, while it was recovering from a severe blow to its growth which is explained in this short video.

Of all trees on our property in Templeton, this red delicious apple tree was our pride and joy.  We counted on its bountiful crop each year. We were sure 2010 would bring us more apples than we'd know what to do with. And then the tree split from the weight between the two main branches. I cannot locate the pictures I know I took when the tree first split and we took measures to tree to save it.

Our friend Tim and my husband tried to tie the tree together and prop up the branches with all manner of improvised supports, since the tree was loaded with fruit we were hoping to save. We thought it might still ripen. But it didn't. Tim was here again yesterday. This is how the tree looked when he arrived. You can see some of the props still there, made from whatever we had at hand.

Kosta (my husband) and Tim decided drastic action was necessary and that there still might be a chance to save the tree. As you can see in this close-up of the limb ends (above), this tree is still alive in spite of all its been through. Were we to leave it alone, it would still try to burst into bloom and bear fruit. That's the nature God built into it.  Kosta and Tim decided, though, that the tree needed to save its energy to repair itself if possible, instead of trying to blossom and bear fruit. This is how the tree looked by the time Tim went home. Sad, isn't it?

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, as Job learned long ago. With Job I echo, "Blessed be the name of the Lord." Perhaps he will yet resurrect this tree and make it fruitful again. It wants to live. that is obvious from its buds. I have given up my expectations, and will be pleasantly surprised if I ever see another of its apples. Meanwhile, I still have the hat I made last year when the tree was in full blossom. If you like, it, you can get one, too, by clicking on the link below.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Change in Focus

As you can probably tell, the squirrel attack left me pretty discouraged. I have no plans for a real garden on the Templeton property this year except for a few herbs and flowers which are already there. I don't have time to feed the squirrels anything that doesn't grow on a tree, and I have a lot of web projects that are mandatory this year. I may grow a tomato or two in Paso Robles if I can prepare the soil, but I simply haven't the time and energy to put in a big garden. Farmers Market, here I come

That does not mean, though, that I won't be observing and appreciating the gardens of others or trying to have producing fruit and nut trees. I have learned much about the power and creativity of God through gardening, and now I will look for his creativity on the land that surrounds my land, the trees and vineyards my neighbors grow, and anywhere else I'm in  a position to observe nature. I will be sharing my reflections on God's power and creativity as seen in nature and life as the new focus of the blog and will be changing it's name to more clearly define that focus. The calendula flower in the picture above is the only thing blooming on my slope. It was able to survive the squirrels and gophers, as well as the cold temperatures this January. It brings glory to its Creator. I did not plant the seed. He did, from the parent plants that bloomed last year.
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