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Friday, February 3, 2012
When I think of still life I think of a bowl of fruit, maybe a vase full of flowers. Well, I have a bowl of citrus fruit on my table, but it just felt too easy, too expected. Don't get me wrong, the grapefruits, lemons, and oranges are beautiful and bright...perfect pops of color during the winter, but recently here in Virginia we have had some of the warmest winter days I can remember. Oh sure, we usually have a warm winter day here and there, but they are usually sandwiched between weeks of frigid temperatures. But this winter we have been blessed with long stretches of spring-like weather. I love warm weather. Love.It. The girls and I have spent much more time outside than we normally would this time of year. I have been staking out my garden spots, choosing seeds to start, finalizing chicken coop/yard plans, and pruning the fruit trees. I have read a half dozen books on how and when to prune them so they will be healthier and produce more fruit - any fruit. The poor things look like they haven't been pruned in 20 years. They didn't produce much last year when we first moved in, so I'm on it. I am the crazy neighbor with super-cute pink Liberty of London gardening gloves, a ladder, bow saw, and long handled loppers. Yep, that's me. Oh, and what's that thing on the ground I keep looking at...well, that would be my most favorite pruning book, Storey's Pruning Made Easy, that has great tips from master gardeners and the oh, so helpful illustrations. I laid my sweatshirt across the top of it to hold the pages open because the nice tropical feeling breeze kept making me loose my place. That's right, it was that warm. I was pruning a fruit tree on the last day of January in a short-sleeved t-shirt! Go ahead, snicker a little...or a lot. I know I'm a big nerd, but if I do it right my trees will thrive and I'll have apples and pears this summer. What better way to spend a 71 degree day at the end of January than playing in the yard with my girls counting the daffodils that are popping up and working on my trees. So as the sun started dipping back down in the sky and I set my tools down to clean up the pile of branches I saw it...my still life. Hmm, still life. We have been anything but still.