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Bountiful Pruning

Wow! The past two weeks have been quite the whirlwind! Summer is here and now that travel restrictions have eased up, many of our friends are hitting the road and making the bluegrass state their getaway destination. What a blessing it is to finally have some normalcy! I've no doubt many of you are feeling the same way.

Of course, this is a working farm so I didn't mind passing around buckets and bowls and sending some of our guests out this week to pick more than a few berries for me. A little help goes a long way! We ate as many strawberries as we could and made a strawberry cobbler one evening to go along with dinner. It was pretty yummy! (I'll share that recipe soon.) Truth be told....they are probably "strawberried" out. It is nice though to have an over abundance. I feel very thankful to have them this year. Last year we had such a crazy hard freeze in May that I lost most of my strawberries. I feel a little like Joseph in the Bible. I'm stockpiling strawberries in my freezer just in case we have another "lean" year next year. (probably silly.....I know.)

Another project that we are working on this week is tipping the berry plants. I gave all of them a serious haircut in February getting ready for the spring growth. In the winter I cut them back to about 4 feet tall. However, this time of year, it's not unlikely for the blackberry canes to have reached 6 to 7 feet in height. They will keep growing out of control if they are not "tipped." Not only do they become unruly, it becomes difficult to pick berries that are too tall to reach. The tipping will strengthen the plant and encourage new growth. It's also a good time to eradicate any canes that might look diseased or are not producing. Any cane that is dead or diseased is removed and burned so that the risk of anything spreading is diminished.

As I wrote the above I couldn't help but think of the scripture John 15 that is found in the Bible. Jesus said that He is the true vine. He went further to say that God is the gardener. God prunes the trees so that they will become more fruitful. Any branch that bears no fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire to be burned. Every time I prune our trees or anything else it is so painful! I cringe with every snip and cut. I can't help but think that I'm squelching its growth or possibly harming the plant. But to my amazement, the tree or berry plants come back even stronger than before. I think we are like that too. God expects us to remain in Him and continue growing. Pruning and personal change is never easy. But the bountiful fruit that we can produce is not only rewarding here on earth, it can bring about changes and rewards that can last for an eternity.

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