A cold front came in from the north during the night and today it’s noticeably cooler but mostly sunny.
Armed with secateurs, long-handled loppers, a step-ladder and a pruning saw, I trim back the golden hornet crab apple to a more manageable shape. It’s mainly a case of cutting back the whip-like vertical shoots that have grown since I last cut it back a year ago but I put in a bit of extra effort and use a pruning saw on one branch that’s managed to get its twiggy offshoots beyond my reach during the past few years.
Yes, it was a favourite look-out post for the resident blackbird, but it will soon find another perch. As I work at in the crown of a the tree, a long-tailed tit flits past my head and perches on a branch three feet in front of me. I don’t think it quite knows what to make of me.
It’s been a good year for apples, including the Golden Hornet crab by the pond which is covered in them. Last winter I didn’t get around to trimming off the long shoots growing up from the crown and, like the rest of the tree, they’re festooned in yellow apples. I’d normally try and prune it in the autumn but, as the tree is looking so spectacular, I’m leaving that task until the spring. The blackbirds and the mistle thrush will appreciate that.
4.55 pm; Blackbirds are alarming as the gloom of sunset fades out the remaining colour in our back garden. Not that we can see the sun setting; it’s remained cloudy with varying degrees of gloom all day.
In contrast to the twilight mood, the golden hornet crab apple by the pond is bubbling with pale yellow fruits, festooned with golden baubles.
In movement and dance, school children are asked to be a tree. What kind of tree would you be if you decided to be an autumnal golden hornet?
Although it is stretching to the skies in classic tree-mime fashion, those awkwardly bent limbs suggest that it might be attempting to support the firmament – like the Viking cosmic tree – rather than reaching for the sky in hopeful supplication.
A couple of broken paving slabs that I’ve leant against the raised bed give the impression in my sketch that the crab might have used those scraggly limbs to scrabble and scrooge up from an underground lair, like Mole in The Wind in the Willows.
Dripped in Ink
Drawn, or rather dripped, in bamboo pen using Daler-Rowney Calli waterproof ink, the drawing is so blotty that it will take days to dry, so I’m photographing it rather than laying it on the scanner. And thank goodness I didn’t use my regular sketchbook and put that out of action.
As I got inky fingers opening the bottle, I thumbprinted the basic shape of the main stem on the blank page before I started the drawing. I decided that might take away the some of the scariness of the blank white sheet while working against the clock.
I started at at five to four and called it a day after fifteen minutes.