Fire and ice

Fire and ice

SO COLD! My son Benjy and I walked in together this morning, it was minus three and felt a lot colder than yesterday.

The ground was more frozen than yesterday and even the birds were quieter than usual as if startled at this new chill. We got to work pruning the apples.



Frozen Garden

Benjy setting out the tarpaulin, ready for pruning. Note the arctic hat and two coats!


Cleaning the frozen apple trees

Lift off…reaching towards what we hope will soon be a sun filled sky (and warmer pruning)

Indeed it was so cold that when we touched the wheelbarrows our gloves froze to the metal on contact! Martin got an emergency fire going and we were soon stoking it with our fresh clippings and defrosting ourselves intermittently. There was an incident where I thought my gloves were merely steaming in the cold, but then realised I was on the brink of ignition.

Just before break time the sun rose over the walls and we watched as each apple tree took turns in the spotlight. When we returned the robin has arrived and everything was sparkling. The glasshouse looked like it was coated in billions of stars. Took this picture to show you, but I don’t think that the camera quite captures the extent of the sparkle, but yes the sky really was this blue…

Blue sky over the frozen garden


The pruning went well, but unfortunately some of the old trees had a bit of canker, so we cut out as much of the affected areas as we could. We lowered the canopy to make picking easier in the coming year and left lots of promising fruiting spurs.


The apple trees

Who is this creature? Colder than a snowman at this point, that’s for sure!

At the end of the day we needed to clean and sterilize our tools, but all the taps were still frozen, so look what we improvised…

Cleaning the garden tools

Cleaning the tools, Inuit style. We sliced through a good few inches of ice – a great way to clean sharp toothed pruning saws…

Luckily, no fish were resident in this particular water butt.

Walking home I managed to slip over on clay lane and landed mostly (thank goodness) in a frozen puddle. Benjy is still laughing as my hat stayed at head height, hooked onto a tree. Talk about a day of fire and ice.

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