Sunday, 15 February 2009

Tree life: The ascent of man (or woman in this case)

Gerrup't' tree, lass!

I am no technophobe but the technology of getting images off my mobile phone onto my computer has defeated me - until now. Finally managed to get some shots taken during a collection expedition to the luvverly village of Lambley, near Nottingham, where Helena and Dean had kindly offered their excess apples to us for the second consecutive year.

In her usual ultra-competitive spirit, Gail was determined that she would climb the tree to give it a damn good shake to try to bring down those crafty and sneaky little apples hiding in the upper-most branches. That's the trouble with "standard" trees, ie. those with a lot of bare tree trunk (usually about 1.5 - 1.8 metres) before the branches start - it can be a pig to get up and into the tree. Luckily we had a step-ladder to help, so Gail was quickly up the tree.

Gail also has considerably less girth and weight than me, so maybe it was better for the tree for Gail to go up it...

For the uninitiated, a half-standard is a tree which has been cleared of shoots and growth for the first metre or so. A bush or pyramid tree has growth close to the ground and is limited in height by it's rootstock, so is the sort favoured in most modern orchards as it makes fruit collection much easier.

You can see the walking-stick dangling from the tree in the photo - we use this to hook around branches to give them a good shake to loosen the fruit and cause it to fall. We really need to make ourselves an extendable panker, the name given to very long poles with a large hook on the end, which were traditionally used to reach up high into the branches of apple and pear trees to shake down the fruit ready for being made into cider or perry.

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