Walking through the orchard today, got me thinking. I had to squish tent caterpillar before it defoliates the whole orchard, and I had been climbing and working all day, and I was tired.
When squishing them, a nest of tent caterpillar has an initial resistance, but then sort of ‘pops’ and feels slime-jelly like. It bleeds a deep, opaque green fluid. Your gloves ( because I absolutely DO wear gloves) are stained green after a few squishes. It’s sort of disgusting.
I ran into two large nests in the first two trees. I had to climb one of those trees- not too high, my feet were only five or so feet off the deck- but I had to climb one of those trees to get to the nest. It was out of reach from the ground.
That was how I spent my late-afternoon evening.
At the end of the day, with the was sun riding a little lower, and a little cooler, in the sky, things felt pretty good. Soft light, beautiful blossoms on the trees, a bit of a nice breeze, and yet…
I almost ruined all that.
You see, I can use a chemical spray against tent caterpillar. Dipel 2X is acceptably organic, and it’ll do a fair number on the squirmy little leaf-eating machines. Not only that, but I have Dipel. And I have a tractor. And I have a sprayer. I could have fired up the tractor and had that work done in half the time.
But, I didn’t. Instead, I walked the orchard, and tree-by-tree I cleared the pest. Cringe, squish, stomp, repeat…
I did this the old fashioned way, and in the absence of the tractor noise, and the smell of that spray that lingers afterwards, and by walking, taking notice not just of the nests, but the leaves, the trees, the blossoms, it was a better experience. I felt I understood the orchard more, and knew, better what needs to be done. I heard the bees buzzing, and saw a red tailed hawk that I might not have, and noticed some vine creeping up an older tree.
So, while I appreciate my tractor, and marvel, sometimes, at the shear utility of it, it’s really nice to take things a bit slower.