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TWIP Vol. 6 Issue 04

In this issue:

  • Titi(18) Writes about a morning in Purdyville
  • Rundy(21) Writes about pruning

Find the current issue of TWIP on the web at http://www.purdyville.com/twip/current.html


Both of the following peices were written earlier this year. In the case of "A Hard Day" it was initially published on my blog (found at http://homefront.silverwarethief.com/) in April. The writings are included here because of their interest value to TWIP’s general readership.–Rundy, TWIP Senior Editor.

Just A Day
By Titi

Last night was library night. Mom, Collin, Evan, Justin, Owen and Caleb went to the library. Dad went to bed. Teman was on his computer. Rundy, Arlie and Lachlan disappeared somewhere upstairs. So Cadie and I (who were washing the supper dishes) got stuck with Deirdre the Great. Deirdre the Great, who was rapidly getting tired, and had a cold. At first she was content to pull all of the cups out of the cup cabinet, and stack them, and pretend to drink out of them. Soon she got a lot more whiny, but Cadie and I refused to stop washing to attend to the needs of her royal highness. So every time she got almost unbearable, we would start singing some nursery rhyme, which always makes her thoroughly forget what she was whining about. There’s nothing more amusing than watching a little one-year-old (little enough that, after climbing up on the stools to reach the kitchen table, only her head shows) hanging on to the kitchen table with one hand and doing "The Eensy Weensy Spider" hand motions with the other hand. Just one little hand, and one little head, singing the Eensy Weensy Spider! Of course, I always play a music CD while I wash the dishes, and Watermarks was not exactly singing the Eensy Weensy Spider, so it wasn’t really very musical with two totally different songs being sung at the same time. And then the phone rang, and of course no one was around to answer it but us. I went for the phone, Cadie went for the CD player. (Lots of times when Deirdre hears the phone ring or sees someone pick it up, she starts saying "Hewwo? Hewwo?") It was our uncle Nate, who wanted to know if our chicks had come yet. (If he had read his email, he would have known that they came this past Monday.) So he thinks he will come down this Sunday.

We turned on the CD player again, sang a few more songs to the increasingly exhausted Deirdre, and the phone rang again! I went for the phone, Cadie went for the CD player. This time it was Marianne, and she had read her email, and she and her family want to come down on Saturday! It’s amazing how a batch of very cute chicks will draw the visitors.

This morning I got stuck with Deirdre again, because Teman and Dad went to work, Rundy went on his morning bike ride, Mom went back to bed, and no one else was up. So I put her in her high chair and sat her at the table like a Big Girl, which is very important. We had plain, bite-sized shredded wheat with raisins and milk. First Deirdre drank all the milk out of her bowl (half of it went down her front). Then she sorted between shredded wheat and raisins (shredded wheat goes on the table, you eat the raisins). Then she decided that everything nutritionally important, or at least that tasted good, had been eaten, and the shredded wheat was obviously something to play with. She grabbed someone else’s used bowl and began transferring her half-soggy building blocks from one bowl to another. Then she got a really brilliant idea!! She started climbing out of her chair, even though she was strapped in. Titi vetoed the idea. Deirdre became heart-broken, and she was never going to recover. Titi didn’t care, and told her to knock it off. Bummer. Failing at getting what she wanted her own way, she resorted to actually asking for help. You point at what you want (the cereal box, just out of reach), and repeatedly say "uuh? uuh? uuh? uuh?" until someone gets it for you. Then you say "Thank You" by saying "huuhhhhhh!" with a very satisfied expression on your face. I thought she wanted to look at the back of the cereal box, like she has other days, and like all of her role models (Caleb through Evan) do. Instead she plunged her hand into the box and pulled out a fistful of shredded wheat, and dumped them into the "somebody else’s" bowl. Seeing she obviously never intended to actually eat them, I refused to let her take any more.

Then I got her down, and in the time it took me to get a washcloth she managed to wiggle out of her straps and turn around, holding on to the back of the high chair. This position is known as "The Lookout Tower on the Top of the Universe" and is so enjoyable she almost didn’t want to get down into my arms.

The rest of her morning was spent doing other daring things: trying to help Titi type (one fingered typing is very cool; Deirdre considers herself an expert), pushing chairs around (Mighty and Very Clever Deirdre), and reading books with Justin, who had gotten up. Reading is also a Highly Esteemed thing. Deirdre rarely rips newspapers on purpose. She sits very importantly on the couch and seriously reads The Wall Street Journal. While it’s upside down.

She loves any kind of chasing game, and the louder you scream the more she likes to chase you. (What, you thought we chased her? Ha ha ha. Deirdre chases everybody!) In fact, if you forget your role, she will politely remind you by screaming. And if you do properly scream, she decides it’s soo much fun she simply must join in.

And just about the only time she is quiet, paradoxically, is when she is saying "No." She figured that she could quite clearly tell someone she doesn’t want something without saying a word, and she loves this new-found power. A silent shake of her head, and everything stops! Almost. Every time she sees me coming with a tissue to wipe her nose, frantic head-shaking ensues. Unfortunately, it never works, and her nose always get wiped.

She like playing with the refrigerator magnets, especially the ones that have the photos of all us kids as babies. She likes clapping her hands, and the words "roll over." She is completely convinced that she is the Most Cleverest Person in the Whole Wide World. After all, she can eat with silverware, can’t she? What more do you need?

Comments, questions? Write to Titi at purdyville@earthlink.net

A Hard Day
By Rundy

While pruning the apple trees this spring I noticed extensive bark damage on two trees, similar to damage I saw on the third apple tree last year. Since the problem was mostly located on a single tree last year, I simply removed the affected bark and took a wait-and-see attitude. That was probably not a good idea. It was clear this year that the infestation had spread.

The damage was caused by a bug–that much was clear from my observation. There were little round entry holes in the effected portions of the bark, and when I stripped off the dead bark I found gnawed tunnels along the branches, and little holes in the limbs which held white larvae. A bug. A pest. But what pest was this?

To find the answer I had to do a bit of research. I had no idea what the name of my pest was, but I searched the Internet (via Google, of course,) for "Apple tree pests" and then started to wade through the results. The initial search results brought up nothing close to my problem. Then I came upon the Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries for British Columbia. The site had a long list of apple tree pests. I scanned the list, reading the various names and won
dering if I would have to click on every one to find what I wanted. Near the bottom of the list was a pest named Shothole Borer. Descriptive name, and it sounded like my beast.

I clicked on the link and was immediately greeted with pictures that looked just like my problem. The page gave a concise description of the bug, its habits, and how to control it. The information confirmed my worst fears. The most effective way to control Shothole Borers was to cut off the affected wood, and repeated attacks by heavy populations would kill healthy trees.

When I saw the damage done to the trees I already subconsciously feared these very facts. I had hoped that somehow the information I found would tell me everything was okay and I had nothing to worry about. Hah. The dreadful premonition was right. I had a major catastrophe on my hands.

I still didn’t want to admit to the facts. I reasoned to myself that since I stripped off all the affected bark, perhaps I had contained the problem and I wouldn’t have to go lopping off major limbs. Perhaps because I subconsciously realized the stupidity of that logic, I dragged Dad outside to get his verdict on the case.

Dad was as dismayed as I to see the damage wrought on the trees, but he was firm in his verdict. Cut off all the affected wood, he said, and burn it. This was the best hope, and even then, the trees might continue to succumb.

This was news I didn’t want to hear, but it was the truth. Coming to grips with these facts required a great deal of mental readjustment. The trees are my babies. I have worked years, pruning and caring for them in the hopes of many wonderful harvests. And now I was going to turn around and cruelly saw off major limbs? The trees would be disfigured for the rest of their lives. How many apples lost in one year? A hundred? Then make that a thousand for ten years.

I stared at the apple trees, and thought about shearing the limbs off. It was both terrible, and not as bad as it could be. I only had to take one minor limb from the middle apple tree. I had to remove one major and one minor limb from both of the other trees. Crushing yes, but I thought about losing all three of the trees entirely. What is the loss of one fifth of the harvest when everything could be lost instead? I considered this, and firmed my resolve to do what was required.

Once I came to the decision in my own mind, there was no point in putting off the action. I climbed into the trees and removed the smaller limbs with a hand saw. I brought out the chainsaw to execute the major limbs. It was all quick and ruthless.

Then it was cleanup time. I dragged the large limbs up the hill to the burn pile. All the twigs from the spring pruning I raked up and carted by wheelbarrow to the burn pile.

I’m still in mental shock, I think. Or else I’ve truly gotten over it, and things don’t feel so bad anymore. How do you know the difference? The trees don’t look so very bad. Where the limbs were removed I see an empty spot. I suppose they don’t look too unbalanced. Maybe someone who hadn’t seen the trees before the surgery wouldn’t see anything amiss. But I still see.

The cuts were clean. All the refuse was cleaned up. I hope the trees heal.

Comments, questions? Write to Rundy at purdyville@earthlink.net