The pruning shears were left outside all winter. I knew it too. But once the snow actually fell, I couldn't bring myself to go dig them out. And so they sat. And rusted. And waited for the Spring that dragged it's heels and mocked us from our fattening couch positions until we were ready to face the sun and the million jobs to do that had rested, dormant, beneath that blanket of white.
I slammed the blades down into the dirt, pulling them back out of the ground like the sword from the stone, leaving much of the winter rust in the soil. I worked the handles and they seemed more-or-less functional despite their abusive respite under snow.
I've learned a lot since we moved back here. Mostly that a property of this size has a list of jobs that NEVER ENDS but with the sun on my back and the wind in my hair and us - the army of 5 - I felt more than ready to tackle them.
The poor apple tree. That sweet lady only gave us one lonely apple last year. We treated her well - the weather did not. This year, we're hoping for apple pie and apple sauce and apple crisp and apple salad.
I pulled out the ladder and lifted those less-rusty shears and set to work.
Pruning is a violent affair. It is aggressive and ugly and savage and necessary.
"Are you sure you're doing that right?" Scott asked after hauling all the broken branches from the walnut tree to the fire pit.
"Everything that points up," I told him. "It will look like something from The Nightmare Before Christmas by the time we're done."
He hoisted himself up into the branches, using another set of pruners - the ones with the broken handle - and set about reaching the offshoots the ladder couldn't get to. And of course Liam, who can't see someone in a tree without trying to best them, he climbed up too having found a third pruner behind a door in the barn.
It was time consuming and scratchy and more than once I got hit in the face with a falling twig.
"What a difference!" Scott said when we were finished.
"It looks haunted," Liam said.
"On to the gardens!" I said.