My mom said it was like the Sahara Desert out here, although she had never been to the Sahara or any desert, for that matter. I suppose it may have seemed that way. It was the remains of a pasture in 1984, no trees except the big live oaks that lined the blacktop road. We bought this property in 1984, 2 acres, then 2 more and then more until we ended up with nearly 8 by the late 80s.Except for 3 acres of woods, it was completely barren. I began, in 1985 to change that. I planted every one of these trees you see pictures of at the end of this post(there are many more, by the way), over the next 30 plus years. I was 30 when I began and now I am nearly 64. My fear is that one day, when I am not here anymore, some people will come with heavy equipment and knock them all down so that they can subdivide even more. I watched it happen in Acadiana, it is still happening…we are losing much of our natural connection to our past.
Each tree here has a moment of my life. I realize a hurricane can come and knock them down but I can think of that bearably because it is nature reclaiming what is hers. I would be sad and certainly feel loss but I would not feel anger and resentment; ultimately, they belong to the planet.
Anyway, I am posting this curious post to, perhaps, encourage someone to plant a tree this autumn or even (possibly) hundreds like I have done and also, to say that I hope to spend the next years off my life learning to recognize the birds that live in these magnificent houses that I have spent over 30 years building. I want to know my neighbors. I don’t know much about birds, but, I know that with each hour of the day with each season of the year, the birdsong is different…I want to know who they are. I have spent much time within these 33 years of my life providing for them and now I hope to enjoy the shade and protection their homes give me and the happiness their songs bestow.
The house smells like apple cider vinegar and turmeric…it is still those times in summer to preserve. Today, I am canning more Bread and Butter Pickles. And this evening, when it cools down and I can stand the heat from the stove, a few more figs will simmer.
p.s. I am sharing snapshots from my yard because stories are so much better with visuals…but please recognize how messy and NOT picture perfect this place is. I would never want anyone to think it is well maintained…I keep bees and chickens so there is no poison to control the weeds and the woods are nearby so the wildness of it shows up everywhere. I do my best, but I am definitely not OCD and nothing here would ever belong on Pinterst (sp.?)…LOL I feel presumptuous even saying this because you could be thinking…”oh my, how could someone ever post such a calamity of a yard”. Insert another LOL…just focus on the massive amount of trees I have planted…and there are many more outside of the picture frames and while you look at these pictures, know and imagine there was absolutely NOTHING here in 1984. Some of these trees are from my parent’s yard, two, specifically, are from acorns that had sprouted in clay pots that I found when we sold their home…a maple and a water oak. Some are transplants from our woods and some were from saplings we bought for $3 a pack from 4 H…Either way, understand, it is so easy to do and now I kinda have this ecosystem where wildlife can live and flourish…
Paint your canvas,
you will be so happy that you did.
I close with, perhaps, a challenge…
“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.”