Monday, 7 February 2011

In praise of a saw

    From time to time we all have jobs to do that are part of something we enjoy, but not necessarily the part we'd choose as the defining moment of that activity. If you crossdress for example you probably don't rate the annoying task of hair removal as highly while it is in progress as you do the moment when it all comes together in the mirror.
    If you've followed this blog at all you'll have gathered by now that as well as being an oversized t-girl I'm a cidermaker. Cidermakers live for the end of summer when apple trees are laden with fruit and the orchard is warm and green. We don't live for January and February when the going is muddy amid the apple trees and our feet are chilled to the bone. Yet the orchard is where you'll find us at this time of year, as our charges need pruning - removal of excess summer growth, diseased and dead wood - if they are to provide good yields of apples in the year to come.
    Over the years I have used many different tools for this task. A small chainsaw for the occasional big branch is fine, but most of the work involves fiddly little branches, wands of fibrous and flexible new growth that cling tenaciously to their mother branches and punish you by splittng into fibres if you detatch them carelessly. Sandvik bow saws are too unwieldy, secateurs are too small, lopping shears promise much but are never up to the leverage I can put through them and larger pruning saws never fit in the available space. You wouldn't think such an outwardly simple task would present such a problem, would you. So for me my most invaluable companion in the winter orchard is my little handheld folding Felco pruning saw.
   Small enough to fit in my pocket, short enough to be used in confined space, sharp enough to cut through very large branches yet comfortable enough to use that I get no blisters on my hands from it, it means I can work my way through an orchard of trees in the time it used to take me to do one or two of them. Yesterday I filled the farm truck several times over with cut branches and aside from an unfortunate cut finger from when I became a little too enthusiastic in my sawing I'm none the worse for all that effort. (I came very close to crashing the truck into an apple tree, but that's another story.) That's how useful a single tool has become to me.
    So now you've read it all. A t-girl blog in praise of an agricultural tool. I will have to disappoint you though if you are staying tuned for the accompanying review of a pickup truck, they don't do 'em in pink.


  1. there's nothing worse than doing a job with the wrong tool for that job.

    Well, maybe there is something worse, but you know.

    I got a book of Evelyn Dunbar's paintings recently. This one shows Land Girls a-pruning. Enjoy.,r:0,s:0

  2. strewth! or possibly

  3. Oh yes, there are times when the hammer and screwdriver come in very handy.

  4. I have one of those!

    Now, about that truck almost crashing into a tree....

  5. You do know that you are supposed to drink the cider *after* finishing with the saw and little farm truck, right? ;p


  6. Wow! That Felco pruning saw even has a pistol grip. It looks menacing! I can imagine some tough walking up to a bank teller and brandishing that thing saying, "Give me all of your money, or I'll saw your hand off!"

    Melissa XX

  7. I'm thinking that saw is the real tool for the job and all the others imposters! Never accept what you have been told, always test things out for using a Felco pruning saw! Happy pruning!

    Shirley Anne xxx

  8. Morning everyone, and thanks for your comments!

    Evelyn Dunbar has captured the cold and damp of a winter orchard very well! I wonder where it was painted.

    The saw is an effective tool, make no mistake. It also has the ability to be opened one-handed like a flick-knife, very menacing. Handy when you are hanging onto a branch with the other arm.

    No cider was involved in my near miss. I simply found the wrong pedal while twisting round to see past a load of prunings as I reversed.