Farmer Zippy's Notebook: Thinning Asian Pears

Zippy, translated by Hannah
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I’m thinning Asian Pears today! This is the first time I’ve helped with the thinning, and it’s a lot to learn all at once, but so far I think I’m doing okay.

The trees make lots of baby pears on each of the branches, and Farmer Lisa says we have to cut some of them off so the ones that are left are able to grow bigger and sweeter. See the baby pears next to me on the ladder? Aren’t they cute? The ones that are left on the tree are going to grow into big yummy Asian pears before the summer’s over! We use big orchard ladders – six and seven feet tall! – to reach up into the higher branches, and they’re hard for me to climb. Some of the farm helpers who know how to drive the Brownie (a giant hydraulic lift that’s even scarier than the ladders are!) come down the rows after we’re done and thin the upper branches that short sheep like me can’t reach.

The clippers we snip the fruit with are almost as scary as the ladders are. Farmer Ike keeps the clipper blades really sharp, and I have to be careful not to cut myself when I’m using them! So, I have to hold the clippers with one hoof, a branch with the other (keeping track of where both hooves are so I don’t snip one by mistake!), AND stay balanced on the ladder – all at the same time! I sliced one hoof already – it hurt! Since then I’ve been much more careful.

So far, I like thinning the Asian Pears! It’s hard work, but there are other farm helpers working at the trees next to me, which makes it more fun! I can’t wait to learn how to thin other kinds of fruit as the season goes on . . . or to taste the Asian Pears once they’re ripe!