Our 2021 garden: some pruning and cleanup – and we are forewarned!

While doing my rounds this morning, I decided it was time to do some pruning and clean up around the squash and melons.

With the summer squash, I cut away a lot of the bottom leaves, and anything dead or dying. The zucchini didn’t really need it, but the sunburst squash needed quite a bit.

Noting for next year: while I am happy with training the summer squash to grow vertically, and will probably do it again next year, I now know to make extra certain the support poles are more secure. I thought they were, but as you can see in about the middle of the squash bed, one of them has fallen right over under the weight of the squash attached to it – and I’d already added a second support pole with it! The zucchini on the far right of the photo is also tippy.

We are in a strange sort of state right now, where the squash and melons are continuing to bloom and produce, recovering for the extreme heat and dryness over the summer, but also dying off as they reach the end of their growing season. A couple of Halona melon plants were completely died off and got taken out. The single melon on the ground ground had come loose from one of those.

The three biggest Red Kuri squash are coming along nicely. The mottled green one is quite noticeably bigger. With the colours and slightly different shape, I find myself wondering if it got cross pollinated with one of the nearby Teddy squash.

Speaking of which…

There’s a new one! Of the two plants, one of them now has four squash developing on it. 🙂

After I finished pruning the squash and melons, I went through the other beds, doing a bit of cleanup, and found this.

We’ve somehow lost a sunflower!

It doesn’t even look like it was bitten – there is no sign of critter damage anywhere. It looks almost as if it were cut! It’s also in the middle of a row, in the middle of a sunflower block.

Very strange.

I took the seed head inside and put it in a very small bowl, shallow enough for the barely-there stem to reach the water. 🙂

As I was finishing up in the garden, the grader went by on the road, and the driver stopped to talk to me. He let me know that he’d seen a black bear – a big male – on our quarter section, and he thought it was heading for the newly dug out gravel pit for water. He’d actually seen 7 bears, just today! The most he’d ever seen in one day – and it wasn’t even 11:00 yet, at the time I talked to him. He suggested we might want to pick up an air horn to carry with us, so if we see a bear, we can use the noise to scare it off.

One of our neighbours, about a mile away, has been posting photos of a bear that’s been raiding – and destroying – his bird feeders. I would not be expecting any to come to our feeding station, though. With both bird feeders broken, I’ve just been tossing a scoop of seeds directly on the ground, so there’s not a lot to tempt them. Especially since we have zero saskatoons and chokecherries this year, and almost no crab apples, thanks to that one cold night in May. Even the ornamental apples in the old kitchen garden, which would normally be full of tiny bunches of apples, and birds eating them, have nothing. No hawthorn berries, either. Between the drought and the wildfires, this loss of berries would be quite widespread, and the bears are starving at a time they should be building up their fat reserves for the winter.

I really appreciated the grader driver stopping to let me know. I have never seen a bear in our yard, but this is not a normal year, so we will have to keep our eyes open!

The Re-Farmer

Fall planting: the last of the flowers, plus other progress

Along with the three types of garlic that came in, my daughters’ flower bulbs arrived.

The tulip collection included 10 bulbs each of Orca, Pinksize and Brownie, and 8 bulbs each of Black Hero, Pamplona and Vanilla Coup. There was also 6 bulbs of Gardenia Daffodil.

So while I was having fun working in the soft soil, planting garlic, the girls did the hard work of digging holes for bulbs in hard soil, and between roots!

They did not take pictures of the process, unfortunately.

The tulips were planted not far from where they’d planted the Bulls Eye tulips that came in earlier. This area was selected for its combination of sunlight and drainage, and because they’re not supposed to be watered, and this is not an area where they might accidentally get watered along with something else.

The tulips need to be planted up to 12 inches deep, if we want them coming back year after year, but that depth includes the depth of any mulch. So they planted the 50+ bulbs at 6 inches, adding a 6 inch leaf mulch. Leaves, however, crumble and settle quite a bit, plus the wind was threatening to blow it way, so they also wet down some peat, which we still have lots of, and added that to the top.

The Gardenia Daffodil had different requirements, so it was planted with the Eye of the Tiger irises planted along one side of the old kitchen garden.

When we are next able to, we’re thinking of picking up a couple of bags of soil to scatter on top of the mulch. The soil under the mulch in the old kitchen garden is much improved from before, but the straw itself, and even the grass clippings, aren’t breaking down very quickly, making it not at all conducive to planting in it. It’s all just too stringy! 😀 And now there’s the excess flax straw from inside the cat shelter. Adding some soil and peat, as well as moisture, for the microbes and worms to do their stuff should help it break down faster.

We also got a couple other things off the to-do list today.

Now that the soil around the support post has had a few days to settle (and get stomped down some more, every now and then), our new bird feeder is now hung up. Hopefully, this less decorative design will not get flung around in the wind as much as the church and barn shaped ones were, and with the support now buried in the ground like a fence post, we don’t have to worry about it being knocked over any more!

I also had a chance to work on the grapes, while the girls were still digging holes for tulips.

The first thing that needed to be done was prune them. I hope I did it right. From what I’ve read, they should be pruned above the second bud from the ground, as grapes will be produced on first year vines. The problem was, I couldn’t see any buds at all! So I tried to err on the side of caution.

I had to move the trellis supports so I could get behind to harvest the grapes. Today, I finally set them into the ground in their new locations, so we can squeeze behind them again, if necessary. On the right is a long piece of rebar, but the white support on the left is actually two plastic tubes on a shorter piece of rebar. The bar wasn’t long enough to hold the trellis wire, but it is long enough to support the plastic tube. I had to lift off the piece that was woven into the wire mesh, then reset the position of the other two pieces.

When I set this up as a makeshift trellis, I was able to bang the rebar into the ground with a piece of broken brick I’d found while cleaning up around the storage house. I tried that again, but it broke. So I dug around in the sun room, among the things we’d found in there while cleaning it up. There was an old hammer with a ball peen on one side, and a heavy flat head on the other. Much heavier than a regular hammer. For the long piece of rebar, I had to stand on the stairs to reach the top and start hammering it in.

The head fell off the hammer.

It turned out the handle was rotted out at the head!

Thankfully, I still had the new handle I’d found while cleaning up the old basement. I’d intended it for something else, but it didn’t fit right, so I’d left it for later.

Now, I’m glad it didn’t fit the other thing I’d meant it for!

Mind you, it didn’t fit the head of this hammer, either, but I was able to shave the corners of the top, and got it on. I was able to finish the job!

After hammering the rebar supports into the ground and getting the plastic tube in the wire mesh back in place, I was able to use foam covered garden wires a darling friend found for me, to tie the pruned vines to the mesh. Then I used one of the bamboo poles that we’d used in the squash beds as a support for the top. With the grapes growing so well this past summer, I was able to see the weight of the vines were pulling the wire mesh downwards, so this should add some extra support.

Now, all they need is for some mulch to be added to protect them from the winter’s cold. From what I’ve found out about growing grapes in our zone is that they should be just fine with snow as insulation; the vine would be laid down on the ground to be covered. Planted against the storage house like this, that doesn’t really work out, so mulch it is!

We now have all the flower bulbs we ordered planted – 200 grape hyacinth, 100 snow crocuses, irises, gladiolas, and almost 70 tulips – plus the garlic.

That’s it for fall planting this year.

Now, we need to assess how our vegetable gardening went, and decide what we want to plant next year! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Did it work?

This afternoon, the girls and I did a bit of winterizing around the house by laying sheets of foam insulation around the base of the house and covering the septic tank, and the pipes to the house, with straw. The only part that is left to do is around the tap at the back of the house. There is still a hose attached, and we’ll likely be using both front and back hoses for a while longer. Once those are put away and we shut the water off from the inside, we’ll cover it with more pieces of foam insulation. We’re doing this quite a bit earlier than last year. There was already snow on the ground then!

Once that was done, one of my daughters and I decided it was time to take down a branch of the tree in front of the kitchen window. This is the branch the tech from our internet provider singled out as the last possible thing that might be preventing our secondary internet account from having any signal at all to its satellite dish. I can’t say that I was hopeful. There are far fewer leaves left on the branch, yet the signal to our primary account has been worse than ever.

Still, the wasps are gone, so it was time to give it a go.

We considered our options and decided to use the extended pole pruning saw to take the branch down, rather than climb up a step ladder and use something else. We figured that, this way, we could more easily jump out of the way if the branch went in an odd direction as it fell.

We also chose to cut it further out, so that the cats will still have their perching branch. They like to sit on it and watch us through the kitchen window! 🙂

It was a pretty large branch, so rather than try and manhandle the whole thing, I used the reciprocating saw to break it down to smaller pieces. The thin, leafy branches went to the chipping pile in the outer yard. The lengths of the “trunk” were big enough, we lay them out around one side of the bed the white lilacs are in. We only needed to grab one more piece from another large branch we had taken down from the tree near the gate to completely line one side, and curve around the end.

Then, because I was able to find some this summer, my daughter sprayed the cut end with pruning paint.

At some point, we are going to take this tree out completely but, until then, I’d really like to get the branch hanging over the roof removed. There’s no way for us to take it down without it falling on the roof. We just don’t have the equipment to take it down safely in pieces.

So it will wait. It seems to be quite strong and unlikely to come down in a storm, but then, so did the branches on this tree that have come down in storms!

Once we were done and everything was cleaned up, we went inside to see if we could notice a difference in our signal with the primary account.

We had no internet.

Nothing.

Zero.

Zilch!!!

After doing the usual troubleshooting, there was still nothing.

So my husband started phoning our internet provider. After several calls that went straight to a busy signal, rather than their usual recorded messages to direct calls, we figured we were not the only ones having issues! My husband tried again about an hour or two later, and this time it went straight to a recording saying they were getting an unusually high volume of calls and were not able to answer.

Eventually, though, we did get our internet back!

Once we did, one of my daughters tested it out by trying to log into a particular game where our intermittent signal was giving all sorts of problems. She was actually able to log in first try – and was even able to switch servers in the game! Now, this could just mean we are having a particularly good night. It could mean taking down the branch made a difference. Or it could mean that, in fixing whatever shut down our IPs service completely, they also fixed whatever problem was causing our intermittent service.

One thing I’ve noticed in preparing to write this post, though; WordPress seems to be loading better now! I have been having endless problems embedding images into posts, and this time, they worked just fine. I still had tabs that didn’t want to load, but even those were able to finally load, much faster than usual.

Tomorrow, my husband will call our IP to get the suspension on the secondary account removed, and we will see if we finally get a signal. If there is still no signal to that dish, there’s nothing else here that would be causing the problem. For all we tried to ration our internet usage, we still went over last month, and the overage fees per gig are so high, the final bill was higher on one account, than the cost of both accounts together!

Until then, I’m just happy to have any internet at all, again!

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: deadwood

It’s a hot day today, but it’s going to get even hotter throughout the week, hitting above 30C/86F in a few days. Plus, I’ll be doing a lot of driving throughout the week. I figured if my brother could be out baling hay in this heat today, I can prune some deadwood!

There were two trees in particular I wanted to get at. Here is the first I worked on.

I had already cut the dead parts of the main tree, our first summer here. What was left were the suckers growing out the base. As the main part was grafted, what grew out the base was not the same type of apple as what had already died.

When I first worked on it, the live parts were bending low, so I left tall stumps of the original tree and used them as supports to tie the live ones to. One, growing out the middle, didn’t need the support.

As you can see in the photo, that’s the one that is now dead.

It actually did have leaves and even flowers this spring, but they didn’t last. As I cut it away, I was surprised it managed even that much. It was so dead and dry, I could only cut about half way, and then it was easier to break it off by hand.

One of the live branches was hanging down again, even though part of it was supported, so I got creative.

I found what was probably an old mop handle and zip tied it to one of the old stumps at the bottom, and to another live branch higher up. Then I lifted the bent branch and attached it to the support. Hopefully, this will be enough for it to start growing straight – or at least straighter – on its own. If nothing else, I won’t be getting my hair caught in it when I mow past it, anymore!

The next tree was a bigger job.

I’d actually thought I would be working on an old plum tree, but it was another apple tree that needed help.

There are two large branches on the apple tree that have died. In the background, you can see the dark coloured plum tree meandering its way up. The branches are so tangled, it was hard to see what belonged were, but it seemed that the plum branch still had live branches and little plums at the top.

I would see better, after the apple was cleared.

I took the slightly smaller branch off first (on the left of the trunk, in the above photo) using the reciprocating saw, and it came down fairly well. The branches at the ends were tangled with live branches, so it ended up standing upright on its cut end when it fell. Once I cleared that, it was time to get the big one down.

When cutting larger branches like this, you always have to be careful when it gets past a certain point, depending on the angle and weight of the branch. Once it starts breaking under its own weight, things can go in unexpected directions.

This one was a bit different.

It didn’t fall.

You can see the one live branch growing out the side, so I made sure to cut above it.

I cut right through, and it just sat there!

Hmmm… I wonder why that would be…

The live plum and apple branches were holding it up!

There was a lot to get tangled on!

For this tree, I used pruning spray on the cut branches, to protect the main trunk a bit.

There is still one branch alive on this tree, and it’s got quite a few apples on it.

The plum in the background does have a lot of dead branches, but at the top, it’s still alive. I am leaving it for now.

Usually, for stuff like this, I would have broken down the branches a bit, but otherwise just hauled it over to one of the piles of branches we’ve made while cleaning up over the past couple of years. I did things differently this time.

The small branches, I cut short and loaded into the wagon, to be used as kindling in the fire pit.

The large pieces will wait until I can co-ordinate with one of the girls to work on them.

The wood looks surprisingly solid. I’m going to see if anything can be salvaged for carving. If not, they’ll be cut to fire pit size for use during cook outs.

It isn’t much, but I’m happy to have gotten at least this bit done. There is another tree, an elm, near the fire pit area that is mostly dead. I actually thought it was dead our first year here, but after a rainfall, it perked up. Last year’s drought seems to have done it in, though. It’s quite large, though, so we’ll have to be more careful taking down the dead parts.

That will wait for another day!

The Re-Farmer

More large branch pruning

While we have been able to determine that the trees in the south yard are NOT the cause of our current internet problems, we did work on some additional pruning of the elm we’d worked on earlier.

This is one of a couple of large branches we took down, that were growing into the lilac bush I’m trying to save, as well as overhanging the haskap bushes and flower bed between the elm and the lilac.

This is my daughter trying to get at one of the dead branches. We added the extra length to the extended pole pruning away, making it about 12 feet long. She could still barely reach it!

Then the pole came apart at the join.

Not where it’s meant to come apart!

So that job got finished from a step ladder – which is not safe at all! – but at this point, there’s not much more we can do about this tree without calling in the pros, with the equipment needed to get high enough.

Here is how it looks now. A bit more open, and a few less branches to worry about.

At the bottom of the photo, just right of centre is a maple tree growing up and into the elm branches that I will likely have to take out, if I want to save the lilac. I’m loathe to do it, as it’s such a healthy tree!

Besides. There are a lot of dead trees and branches that need to be taken out, first, as well as continuing with cleaning out the spruce grove.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

I think that’s going to have to become my new motto. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Just a bit of a prune…

In my last post, I mentioned how we were having connectivity troubles with our satellite internet, due to heave foliage.

It’s very windy today.

Since we switched cables on accounts, we’ve had constant interruptions in service, to the point that my daughter was having difficulties working.

I’d gone outside to use up more of the rain barrel’s water around the yard when the girls came out to take a good hard look at the tree situation.

The satellites are aimed through a gap between two trees. A gap that is mostly filled with leaves right now.

The question was, should we prune?

It came down to a particular branch on one of the elms beside the small gate in the chain link fence.

Now, I’ll be straight about the pair of trees on either side of this gate. I would love for them to be gone. They were planted in a poor location, and their roots are currently pushing up the sidewalk blocks. My ideal plan would be to remove both trees, pull up their stumps, and lay down a new, wider, properly installed sidewalk that would better accommodate my husband’s walker. That is a HUGE job we are in no position to do for many years yet, if at all.

I’m pretty sure that when the current sidewalk was installed, the pavers were just laid down on the grass, and then some dirt was thrown up against the sides so the lawn mower could go over them. I think the paving stones forming a small patio under the kitchen window were install much the same way. Those ones are being lifted and shifted by the roots of the elm tree in front of the kitchen window; another problem tree.

I understand why my mother planted them. They provide excellent shade. The problem is, she didn’t think far enough ahead when she chose the locations. Now, the one by the kitchen is a problem for the roof, as well as the patio blocks and the basement wall. The ones by the small gate in the chain link fence were planted too close together, never mind the sidewalk running between them.

So these are trees that have many issues.

In the end, it was these many issues that had us agreeing to prune away one of the major branches growing towards the house.

That, and they’re elms. We could cut them down to stumps, and they’d grow back. The one in front of the old kitchen had already been cut back significantly, leaving behind a flat top the yard cats now use to hang out on. 😀

I didn’t have my phone with me, so I have no before pictures, but this is how it is now.

As you can see, this is not the first time this branch has been pruned!

This was also our first opportunity to use the pruning paint I found, which is black, so it’s not easy to see in the photo.

The girls had started off using the long handled pruning saw to cut it, but it started to jam. I ended up bringing over the step ladder and a buck saw. Once up there, I could see that where they’d started cutting had a huge knot, out of sight from below! So I started cutting a few inches away. We never did have to cut all the way through; the weight of the branch itself started breaking it, long before. One of my daughters grabbed it with the hook on the long handled pruning saw and was able to pull it the rest of the way down. After that, it was just a matter of cutting it free from the tree, which required one daughter to lift the weight of the main branch while the other did the cutting.

Once it was on the ground, I was able to go at it with the reciprocating saw and cut it into manageable sized pieces for hauling away.

Except for the main body. We set that aside for now.

We were thinking of the possibility of my using parts of it for carving, but I don’t think that will be possible.

It looks like the core of this branch was already rotting away! I think I even see insect damage.

Which means, if we hadn’t taken it down now, it may well have broken in high winds, like branches in the tree in front of the kitchen window already have. Well, that’s a likelihood for any of the trees. The rot just made this one a higher risk.

You can just see the black end of the branch we cut in this photo.

You can also see some of the many dead branches above it.

In this photo, you can see part of the elm tree on the other side of the gate, on the right side of the photo. Lots more dead branches, all out of reach.

Taking this branch down has opened up the yard quite a lot! I remember getting that same feeling of openness when I cut away the broken branches in the elm by the house (on the left edge of the photo, you can see part of a branch from that tree). We still have plenty of shade, too.

In the end, I’m glad we got it done. Whether or not it reduces how often our internet cuts out (which happened again while I was writing this, but only once, rather than the 3 or 4 times when I wrote my last post), we will see. For now, though, we got the one branch done, and will hopefully find a way to get at the dead ones, too. I’d really rather not wait for storms to bring them down, if I can!

The Re-Farmer

Clean up progress

I had originally been thinking of working in a different area today, to remove more dead and damaged trees in the West yard. That pile of apple branches, however, was bothering me.

So I started breaking that down, instead. Here are the before and after pictures.

This is as far as I got, before it started to rain.

I’ve been breaking it down to firepit sized pieces, to make it easier later on. I have to admit, as I cut some of the larger pieces, I find myself thinking that … some of them look pretty good … maybe I could salvage some of them… It seems like such a waste to burn this beautiful apple wood! I wouldn’t even want to use it for a cookout, since I don’t know how the fungal disease would affect the smoke. But gosh, apple is a beautiful wood!

I made very good use of the new long handled pruners I got not long ago. It was going through nice thick branches like nothing! I used to have to use a saw for a lot of these. I noticed, however, there was a rattling noise that seemed to increase. And was that anvil supposed to rotate with the cutting blade like that?

Nope.

At some point, we lost a bolt. There is no nut at the other side. It looks like a proprietary shape, too. Or at least not something I have seen when perusing the section at the hardware store.

It has a lifetime warranty, though, so I looked up the website and sent an email with the above photo and another of the bar code (because, of course I don’t have the receipt anymore… LOL) as proof of purchase. We’ll see how that goes. I might just zip tie it in place for now.

Hmmm… It looks like the rain has already passed. I might be able to finish breaking down the pile today, after all. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Crab apple pruning

The down side of using what clear weather we’ve had to keep on top of the mowing is, lots of other things aren’t getting done.

Today, we tackled one of those jobs (though I could easily have spent a couple of hours mowing).

We worked on pruning the dead wood out of the crab apple trees. This first one was losing the most.

Honestly, I think this one is probably a lost cause. It has a fungal disease, and much of it is already dead, but if we can save it, that would be great.

This next one is already completely dead.

Last year, the stems that were growing out of the base were still alive, so we left it. Not a sign of any life at all, this year.

Unless you count the ant hill that appeared at the base, or the fungus growing on it, we discovered last fall.

This last one is not too bad.

The main trunk of this tree – which my brother tells me was grafted on by my late father – has died, but the suckers that grew out of the base produced very well last year. They were decently larger, for a crab apple, and while it took quite a while for them to ripen compared to the other trees, once they did, they were the tastiest of them all.

Mind you, last year was not a good year for apples.

I had help, while doing this, and not just from my daughters…

What a silly boy! 😀

Here is how the trees look now.

There is not a lot left on that first one. On the stump we cut short, you can see little dots – those are ants! The last one is looking pretty good.

The pile of branches next to the first tree is what we cut away from these three areas.

After that, we decided to cut away the dead wood from the other trees.

I’d actually done a major pruning of dead wood on all the trees, our first summer here, and kept it up a bit last year, so I wasn’t expecting to remove all that much. Which is why I didn’t thing to take a before picture.

I was really amazed by how much dead wood we got out of these, and how much more open the trees looked! They were hard enough to clear on their own, with how much apple branches twist around each other, but with the trees planted so close together, they were also entangled in neighbouring branches! The biggest tree, in the middle of the photo, had a really surprising number of dead branches. This also makes it more dangerous to take them down. They catch on everything on the way down, and time and again, we’d bring down a branch that turned out to be much bigger than we’d expected it to be. They’d get caught on the other branches, and were quite difficult to remove.

Here is the final pile of branches.

All of this needs to be burned, due to the fungal infection. No salvage to be had, here. What a shame. While we did get a few dying branches with leaves still on them, this was almost all dead stuff. We did not actively try to prune any of the live branches.

Since we also have to burn out infected stumps, we’re leaving these branches here. When the conditions are right, I’ll be bringing a metal ring we’ve got to place over each stump and start a small fire. We need to burn out the stumps, but they are also under live branches, so we have to take care to keep the fire small enough not to affect those. While these will need to be done on separate days, weather willing, this pile will be used partly to feed the small fires, but also broken down and we’re just going to burn it in the garden. We’ll be able to have a slightly bigger fire, but not by much. Thanks to the rain we’ve been having, there would be no complete burn ban right now. So no controlled burning of fields, but yes to fire pits and burn barrels.

It was good to get this done! With how much more open the trees are, this should help increase yield quite a bit – though I think all the lovely rain we’ve had so far will play a much bigger part!

As an aside, we got some unexpected entertainment while working. At one point, we heard a tractor go by on the road. It was our vandal. Some time later, he made his return trip. I could just see him through the lilac hedge and something seemed… odd. It took a while to see him clearly, but the entire time he drove past us, he had one arm out, giving us the finger! 😀

So juvenile!

Which reminds me. Before we started on the trees, my daughter and I planted new sunflower seeds in the spaces that either didn’t sprout, or the sprouts got … eaten? Of the seeds we originally planted, we’ve got about a 50% loss, in total, between the two varieties. I found another variety in the grocery store that is supposed to be a large head, eating/bird seed type. It’s so late in the season, it’s hard to know if they’ll reach full growth, but even if they don’t, I’m hoping they’ll fill the gaps to be part of the wind break/privacy screen we also planted them for.

While we were putting things away, I spotted a pleasant surprise.

We put this up to encourage local pollinators last year, and not a single tube got used, so I was very happy to see some of them have been filled. It’s only in this one area, but hopefully, that means we’ll see more of them, over time.

I’m really glad to have gotten this job done. Now we just have to get rid of those branches, before things get overgrown again! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: west fence line and maple grove

Today turned out to be too cold and damp to do the mowing between the trees I cleared last year, that I hoped to do today. I thought I might be able to at least use my reciprocating saw to cut some of the smaller stumps of trees I took down last year to ground level, so I could mow over them. In the end, I decided it was just too damp to drag out the extension cords and use electric tools.

Instead, I worked on an area I left partly unfinished last year; a double row of elms leading to the garden gate at the west fence line.

Here is how it looked before I started.

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Just a bit more…

I wasn’t able to get back to working on getting the tire planter out (I can wiggle it a bit more, though! 😀 ), but yesterday evening I decided to deadhead the spirea by the storage house.

I also cut them back from the grapes they were starting to encroach on again.

As I was doing that, I noticed some dead branches and figured I may as well take them out, too.

And those other ones.

Oh, and there are a few more…

Just a bit more…

The next thing I knew…

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