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Winter pruning is hard work, but rewarding

— One cold February day, my husband and I had lunch together in the warmth of our kitchen. I got up to put on another sweater; he got up to go out and prune in the orchard. The wind was raw, snow drifts were deep and wet. I thought to myself: “Better you, than me!” While I had summer-pruned and trained in seasons past, I hadn’t yet had to winter prune. The guys use chain saws and pole pruners, which I am not strong enough to operate.

I thanked God that I was married to a guy who would tackle hard jobs without complaining. And I thought about how we benefit from occasional “pruning” in our lives, as well. From time to time we prune out activities that we’ve lost interest in. We cut out events or hobbies that outgrew their purpose, making room for something new. Sometimes we prune in response to what’s good for the loved ones around us, according to what fits with their schedule or needs.

Pruning is not always comfortable. At times it hurts. But the goal of my life is to bear good fruit -- the large, sweet, crisp apples of love, joy, peace, patience. My kids need this fruit from me; my friends and neighbors need it. It doesn’t just grow by itself – in fact, by nature I grow straight up, focused only on my own survival, content to be the way I am, tolerating no interference. I want to bear fruit. And in my years of farming, I’ve learned that we do whatever it takes to produce that precious crop.

Karen Abbott is a published author and the mother of four girls, raised at Abbott Farms in Baldwinsville. She enjoys quilting, teaching and home economics.

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