Thursday, September 26, 2013

Collecting Fruit Wood

There was a touch of panic after I decided to start this project - it was just forming as an idea when I heard that the trees being pulled out at Shepparton would be burned as soon as they had dried out - and before the fire season started. So with help from people in the fruit growers association I set off to Shepparton in a rented moving van - fortunately with a friend - and looked at the mountains of trees awaiting their fiery end.

remains of the William pear trees

Three great piles of William pear trees that were already planted and growing there when Marley's father bought the orchard in 1948 or 49. All around other trees were blooming - their fate sealed by being a different variety suitable for the fresh fruit market.

Packham pear blossoms
new apple trees leaning out of their double rows
apple blossoms
As it turned out the orchardists were flat out that day - there was a storm with rain coming and the trees had to be sprayed beforehand. All around you can see the different way the newer trees are trained - apple trees in double rows leaning out must yield their fruit more readily and likewise open to the sun as needed.

One thing I was glad to have was a strong Dutchman to cut, and roll and wrestle the big ones into submission:

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