After my post yesterday, the grands and I set out to finish the pruning task. As soon as we got out there and started on the big peach, we spotted this:
This was the biggest Eastern mole I have ever seen and it has been tearing up the yard. It was in the grass and I had leather gloves on, so I picked it up to remove it away from the yard, away from the chickens and the neighbor cat. It was removed to the woods, but will surely return. Did you know that moles bite. Fortunately, not hard enough to get through leather gloves.
We managed to get a good portion of the pruning done, except one very over grown apple tree that has a badly damaged secondary trunk. The top was broken out and there was older damage farther down that trunk. It had two thumb thick branches that bent down and were rubbing the damaged trunk. Tall grandson, on a step stool was able to remove the broken top and cut off one of the bent branches. We finally decided that the trunk needed to be cut below the damaged areas and worked on it, but it was getting to be dinner prep time and our fingers were frozen. We quit for the day, but will have to return to finish removing the damaged wood. The burn barrel is full and there is a huge pile of branches to be removed away from the orchard.
This is just a portion of what was cut. This was a task that was years past due. More will have to be pruned next year to bring these trees back to good condition, but the inside of each crown is opened up to allow more airflow and light. No more crossed branches, no more water shoots. Guidance says not remove too much in one year. Hopefully, once they are in healthy condition again, it will become an easier annual task. There is still a dead peach tree to remove, it has been dead for several years and is small, but has never been taken down.
While we were out and about, we saw the local Maine Coon cat who decided that he could tackle a full grown free ranging chicken. The chicken is slightly injured, it looks like a puncture wound near her breast, the cat is ok according to his owner. Unfortunately, the injured Buff Orpington is the one hen who won’t let me anywhere near her to pick her up and try to assess the damage. It occurred to me to get her from the coop last night after dark, but forgot. This morning, as usual, she wouldn’t come out of the coop with me in the run. There are a few bloodied feathers on the lower left side of her breast but above her thigh. She is moving with no impairment. Monitoring her over the next few days is in order and if necessary, just close her in the coop after the rest have departed and try to catch her in the enclosed space to see the damage. They are free ranging again today since the run cover failed, the run doesn’t keep them in and they need to be able to get in and out of the gate. If one flies over the fence they are too stupid to realize they can fly back in.
Sunday morning hot blueberry made from scratch muffins have been consumed by hungry kiddos. A plan to entertain them is in order for the day. Tonight we return to their house so I can get them off to school tomorrow and help with evening schedule until their Mom gets back around bedtime. I love having this opportunity with these kids.