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Fresh Facts 31: Skilled Living

There is so much water running down the Kings River by our house it’s amazing. How much water is there Uncle Vern? Well, the wettest year in my life was 68/69. I was 11, and carried a can of paint down to the cement boat ramp and painted a line at the highwater mark.

We’ve preserved that mark, and right now, it’s only a couple inches below that line. Also, a neighbor who would know told me there is enough Kings River water heading to the Pacific every day to satisfy the needs of a city of 60,000 people for a YEAR. 420,000 a week 1,700,000 people a month if we had the leadership to store it… We have an endangered species in California called common sense; and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

On the farm, it looks like our crop will be on the light side of adequate, which is really ideal. Our biggest expense is thinning, so a light crop means less work to get the tree load where we want it. Let me explain.

Everyone’s seen a peach tree blooming; there’s a gazillion flowers and if each one became a peach, there’d be no way the tree could grow that many big juicy happy peaches. To the contrary, the limbs would break and the fruit would be all pits and dish water.

Fortunately, the majority do not “set” (grow into viable fruit) but fall off shortly after bloom. Of the remaining, our experience tells us how many can be confidently left to achieve the fullest potential of the tree. A common number is 500 peaches on a tree, but it can range from 350 to over 1,000 depending on timing and variety.

Back at pruning time, we had the same information, so we pruned for this same 500 peaches on a tree with a goal of 2 peaches per branch. I can see your eyes growing heavy out there but stay with me just another couple lines and this will all make sense.

So, if we had 10 little peaches set on that branch, we have to remove 8 by hand to leave the desired 2; very expensive. Ideally, there would be 3 on that branch and we only have to remove 1; inexpensive.

Regardless of how much fruit gets pollinated and sets, men have to go up ladders and tediously remove the excess from each branch. And since the biggest puppies grow into the biggest dogs, you want to leave the largest little fruits on the branch.

I’ve been thinking that there’s excellent application here to our own lives. There’s a gazillion good things out there we could possibly do. Fortunately, the majority aren’t viable. Of the remaining, we have to realistically evaluate our individual carrying capacity.

At thinning time, the inexperienced farmer always leaves too much fruit because the big tree looks so empty with so little. The key is to visualize what it’s going to look like at harvest with two big peaches on each little branch. Also, two nice big peaches are worth more than three medium peaches.

So it is with ideas and plans. When they’re just starting, it looks easy; yeah, I can do that! … How ya gonna do that? I know there are plenty of people out there who do the bare minimum to get by, but they aren’t reading this note. I know I’m writing to the too much going on tribe and so, with much love, I say: Skilled living is all about thinning. Tediously removing the too much so what’s left can be adequately supported. And two things done really well is so much better than three done mediocre.

Eat better!

Author Uncle Vern

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