Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cutting Switches

"Will you come and help me cut some nice long flexible ones".

With those words, my Bandree enticed me out of our weekend cottage last weekend, lopper in hand. As we headed down the track, she was eyeing young ash saplings but rejecting them "Too short", "not straight enough", "Not long enough", "Not flexible enough".

Eventually we came on a grove of tall willow on the bank of a stream. "Those look good" she cried "come here and help". Fortunately, I kept my balance and stayed out of the stream. When we had a good collection on the track, we started to strip off the leaves, twigs and small branches, to leave two or three feet of whippy wood, about the thickness of my little finger.

Once finished, we each hefted half the heap and started to walk back to our cottage. Once there, B subjected herself to the final, painful, ritual. Deftly, each rod was flexed and carefully applied on top of its earlier predecessors. Notwithstanding the pain inflicted by the sharp blackthorn spikes, my B wove the wattles into the hedge, creating a few more inches of the fence which will ultimately provide a little more privacy in the evening sun catching corner of our country cottage garden (meadow?, field?).

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