July 5, 2006

Up a tree without a paddle

For years now, I have been doing battle with a Montmorency cherry tree in my front yard. It's major plan of attack has been to produce 100 000 000 000 000 cherries that much of humanity considers inedible, and then fling them onto the sidewalk in front of the house. Then the tree invites 100 000 birds over to it's branches to peck juicy holes in the cherries and defecate a truly remarkable and astonishing amount of bird crap onto my sterling lilies, then the juicy holes in the cherries attract 100 000 000 000 wasps and fruit flies to terrorize me and invade my home. When the tree is in top fighting form, the cherries which it throws on the sidewalk are tracked into the house, down the street, into the backyard, are thrown around the entire street by hoodlums in training local children, and the tree attracts the attention of every single resident of my neighbourhood, who either try to steal cherries (Note to cherry thieves: I can hear you. You are right outside my living room window and you are fighting very loudly in Lithuanian. This is not a subtle crime. There is no point in running off like that when I come out to offer you a chair to stand on.) discuss cherries, or taste the cherries, discover they are sour and discuss this loudly, complete with spitting noises, four feet away from where I am spinning and watching "House".


The cherry tree is a formidable enemy. Also in it's arsenal is the way it sends up sucker trees all over my garden. It is a slow felony, but after 10 years I am certain that only the cherry tree and it's minions will occupy the front garden.

Two years ago, in an attempt to fight back, I picked cherries. They are a huge pain in the arse to get out of the tree, and an even bigger pain in the arse to de-pit. (It is faster now that I use a dpn.) I spent days picking, pitting, freezing and baking and despite dedicating all of this time to cherry battle, the tree still threw millions on the ground and threw a wildlife cherry orgy in my front garden. That summer though, somewhere, in a desperate attempt to use up all of the cherries, I had discovered the bright, shining, glorious true light of joy that is the Sour Cherry Upside Down Cake, and the tree had me in it's grips. I started to look forward to cherry time.

The next year, the as soon as the tree realized it had brought me some happiness, and knowing that it had failed to bring only foul expressions and work to my life, the tree managed to arrange a horrible heat wave, where the cherries literally steamed and rotted on the tree before they could ripen, and then, taunting me with a whole summer of cake-less-ness....
Then it threw 100 000 000 000 000 rotten cherries on the ground.

This year I have watched the cherry tree like a hawk, determined that at the first possible cherry picking moment, I shall descend upon the tree like a plague of locusts. Every cherry will be picked, none will fall on the sidewalk and a years worth of cake will me mine. For the last few days, the tree has been close and this morning I the hour was upon me. I took my cherry picking bowl outside and I walked up to the tree and I started to pick.

It was then that I realized that the tree has a new trick.
The perverse rat-sucking-bark-arse has placed 90% of the cherries at the top of the tree. It mocks me with it's unreachable fruit.


(There's a cherry sky for Sandy.)

Now I am not easily defeated (I want the cake) and our bedroom window is near the cherry tree, and there's a little roof there.


I took down the screen, opened the window and squeezed myself out onto the little roof. I waved to my incredulous neighbours (who are all about 5 seconds away from offering to buy me some stinking cherries if I will only please, please stop being so freaking odd) plunked myself down on the roof and picked what I could reach.


Since the neighbours already thought I was as crazy as a soup sandwich, I took the opportunity to show the travelling sock the top of a cherry tree.


Two cakes worth of cherries are mine. (I am developing a plan to get the rest. Thus far, it involves two chairs, a rope, and all of the courage I learned playing D&D as a teenager.) I shall prevail.

While I formulated a battle plan yesterday, I spun some really neat new fibre. This is "Hot Mama" (I think. The cherry war has me so discombobulated that I can't find the label) from Farm witch.


A rustic batt that's a really neat combination of Cotswold and recycled sari silk... I found it interesting to spin. I had to let go of the idea of a perfectly smooth single. This batt has lot's of personality and I had to just. Let. Go (Really, my best thing) and let the fibre be itself.


The resulting single is completely charming, and I'm debating whether or not it even needs to be plied. (Can you do that? How do people spin a single for spinning? What about the twist? Do you have to plan to spin a single?)

Then I spun this one.


"Lady Starlight" (also from Farm Witch). 70% Cotswold, 29% silk, 1% "Glitz". Again, I surprised myself by having a really good time with the unexpected nature of the spining. I usually like a really smoothly prepared, well blended fibre, but these batts are a lot of fun. My usual fibre is to this fibre, as vanilla ice cream is to Rocky Road. I loved coming across the little nuggets of neat things, and I'll be darned...


If it doesn't really look like the night sky. I was thinking that it would make pretty neat mittens for someone who owned a navy coat. I'll think about it more while I make cake, pick cherries and win wars.
(Anybody have a really good way to get the high ones too far from the window?)

Posted by Stephanie at July 5, 2006 12:24 PM