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It’s times like these that I wish I had gone to 4-H and learned the “proper” way to handle cattle. And then spent the time breaking them to halter. This year’s Jersey steers are off to a good start and I wanted to move them into the Sheep Barn where they’d have more space and be easier to feed and water till they get turned out onto pasture. They are pretty friendly guys and usually I can get them where I need them to go with a mixture of poking, prodding, pulling and luck.

There may have been moments of Jersey prancing. Slipper and Paddie loved it. I was happy when it was done.

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I know it has been at least 5 years since our orchard has been pruned. And possibly much longer. We have a plum tree that is 30 feet tall. It’s built like a poplar and has never fruited. The apple trees are inconsistent producers, are growing straight up and heading out of reach (and sight). Our pears are small and our beautiful sweet purple plums have had a problematic fungus the last 2 summers. Sounds like a need for a prune!

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I’ve had it on my radar for a couple of years but never really freed up the time during the appropriate season to do some pruning. Till this year. I know I didn’t do a great job cutting some of the limbs as flush as possible but it was tough to get the perfect angle with my bow saw (and chainsaw for a few branches).

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I was trying to open up the centers of the trees to more light and air and also tame back the branches that were heading totally out of reach. Also I focused on any branches that were crossing and the “water suckers” that are smaller branches heading skyward. For some reason I had a mantra of “prune aggressively” echoing in my head. I don’t know where that came from. Hopefully a reliable source.

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The apple, pear and plum trees now look much more like fruit trees. I’ve heard an aggressive prune can severely impact fruit production for a year or two. Hopefully not, I have big plans for cider this fall. There were some trees too fragile to prune (very old trees rotten hollow at ground level). My better trees I pruned less. I taught a real good lesson to my inexcusably poor producers.

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