Heart of the Matter
By Mayor Robert Hale
February is the time of year that I have traditionally put on my boots, work jacket, a hat and gloves, pushed the wheelbarrow to my fruit and pine trees and begin the pruning process. I’ve often thought, while working in the typical February weather, “Why am I doing this? What possible good can come from clipping off these small branches that were all leafed out last summer? Isn’t this harming the tree?” The right answer is, of course, correct pruning is very beneficial to not only the tree, but to the lover of fruit and shade!
Left un-pruned, trees of all varieties become overgrown, sick, and die much sooner than would be necessary. Limbs and branches become spindly, weak, block life-giving light from lower or outer branches. Disease can spread much quicker limb-to-limb. Pests don’t have to work at all, they just crawl or spread from one limb to the next.
There is nothing better tasting in late June to early October than fresh, tree-ripened fruit: apricots and cherries early on, nectarines and pears in the mid to late summer, and apples in late summer to early fall. Can you taste one right now? If you do, most likely it is your memory bringing back those tasty and delightful memories!
But now, back to this cold and wet month of February – I am outside crunching through snow, maybe on a short ladder, with snippers and a lopper nearby, spying the layout of the limbs. Which ones are diseased? Spindly? Blocking valuable light from fruitful lower limbs? Growing vertical like a flagpole? Those are selected and cut off for the tree to produce the best fruit possible next summer. I say to myself: “I am not just pruning my tree in the cold and wet, I am tasting fresh sweet fruit this summer!” With this mindset, I go about my work, filling the wheelbarrow with layers of long and short limbs. I use a chipper/shredder to reduce these limbs to mulch, which then gets used in my grow-boxes to become the food for vegetables a year or two later.
Where am I going with this? We all have stewardship of small or great consequence to ourselves, perhaps our family, extended family and friends and certainly to our neighborhood and community at large. Each of us must take the time regularly to evaluate what we have, own, use, store for another day, or just pile up in a closet, room or backyard. It is probably time to “prune” those goods and stuff! We have a responsibility to care for our stewardship at home, work, apartment, yard and city. What hasn’t been used in the last year, has a high probability that it won’t get used in the next year either. I am NOT writing about heritage items, souvenirs, long-term food storage, or the like. No. I am writing about the stuff and things that haven’t moved, been worn, used or looked at in a year and must receive a serious evaluation and probably (as our garbage can’s volume limits us) need to be discarded or find a reuse. There are several locations nearby that take useful good-condition materials. A tax-deductible donation can come in handy in April a year from now.
Just this last month, I was on Oak Street where several homes have been purchased and vacated by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) for the widening of the northbound Interstate-15 corridor. Habitat for Humanity, in coordination with UDOT, had volunteers entering the vacant homes where the useful fixtures, appliances and materials like countertops, lights, etc., were skillfully and carefully removed from the UDOT-owned homes. All this was transported to the ReStore at 1276 S 500 W, where it becomes available at a drastically marked down price for other homebuilders, remodelers and homeowners to put to use in their projects.
Let’s take advantage of the bulk waste pickup during the third full week of each month. Ace Recycling& Disposal is very happy to collect our bulk refuse on this monthly schedule. But be aware, move the things to the curbside no more than 48 hours prior to the scheduled day.
Let’s enjoy the rest of this winter, a beautiful spring, and the harvests of a fruitful summer and fall.