I learned a lot from my dad-in-law.
As a member of the "Greatest Generation," he had life experiences that were both interesting and inspiring to me. As a boy, he hitch-hiked his way to a school a hundred miles from his home, and worked for his tuition in the school's dairy. He was truly a self-made man, and showed determination and fortitude in the ensuing years. He reluctantly left his young wife and infant son behind to be part of the Army Air Corps, and stayed in England for over two years, before returning to the US to resume his life as a civilian.
His interests were many and varied -- he never seemed to stop wanting to learn. And he tried to pass some of that along to his kids and his grandkids. Some of it "stuck" and some didn't. (Grin)
I recall his working to prune the scuppernong and muscadine grapes that my hubby planted near our house. He would take pruner in hand, and with a practiced hand and an expert eye, would prune them in the dead of winter.
I would stand there with him and try to learn how, so that I could do the pruning in the future. I often would ask him why he pruned certain branches of the vine, and not others.
He told me that it was important to have air circulation around the vines, for that would discourage some of the problems that grapes can fall victim to -- molds, fungus, even "bad" bugs. It was important, too, to train the vines to grow along the wires, so that they could be more easily harvested in the fall. (Scuppernongs and muscadines are late to fruit....they begin to ripen in the late summer, and are pungent and delicious just before the frost.)
My dad-in-law also told me that some vines were pruned back to increase their strength. Some, he recalled that they did not produce well, so he cut them back. Some did not produce at all, and were snipped off entirely, and discarded or burned. He was careful to prune them at just the right point -- there needed to be a bud just before the cut, so that the correct growth would occur. In that way, the best growth for strength and for increased production of grapes would happen.
I'm sure that you see where I'm going with this.
I remembered, standing there in the cold, the verses that Jesus spoke:
Oh, that our lives will truly bear fruit to the glory of our Father and His Son Jesus!