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Start of the winter spray

The orchard a little earlier in the winter (there are still some leaves)

The orchard earlier in the winter (there are still some leaves)

Today I made the first tentative start at the winter spraying of the orchard. It should be the easy one because all the trees are bare and there’s no fine timing between tight buds and half-open flowers, or discrepancies in defoliation, or whatever.

All seemed well, although the little hand-held pump (for various reasons I’ve not been using a knapsack sprayer) seemed to be having difficulty changing between spray settings for the different distances.

Then it blocked altogether and nothing came out. I cleaned the nozzle – no difference.

To cut a long story short, it started to spray (or rather shoot out) continually and with such a short reach that I had to go from one small tree to another trying to use at least some of the mixture.

At that moment the Postwoman arrived – a charming and obliging lady who tries hard to do the right thing. She went right up to the house obviously with something more than just letters. I yelled to her from the middle of the orchard:

“Hello. The sprayer’s not working properly. I can’t come.”

I doubt she heard me; just carried on looking at me expectantly with a parcel in her hand.

“If you need a signature my husband’s in the house.” I doubt she heard that either. The pump continued to shoot.

But I did hear her asking where she should put the parcel.

“On the bench,” I called.

“Shall I put it on the car?”

“Yes, fine.”

“I’ll put it here.” She put it on the windowsill.

“Oh I see, you’re spraying,” she observed.

It’s surprising she even recognised me in goggles and with a headscarf pulled tight over my hair!


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