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Voyageur's Best Features of 2006


Whoops, there goes another...
by Jerome Little  |  May 16, 2006

Weíve had several days of beautifully light steady rain and the time for tilling and planting is nigh. Flowers will be bedded and tomatoes and corn and other stuff gardened. I love to see things planted in the spring. I donít like to plant them, I like to see those who know what they are doing plant them. I am not one of those green thumb people. Most of what I have planted over the years didnít make it. That is the primary reason that I write a column instead of hosting a TV gardening show.

I like the veggies and fruit that come from the family plot; I just wished it were the fast growing variety. Someone needs to develop a three week corn plant. Knee high by the fourth of July my foot. I want to be gnawing ears by that time. Everything in the garden seems to take much too long to produce a level of satisfaction equal to the effort spent.

Now trees are an enlarged version of this problem. Our home has no trees around it. The closest shade producing plant is some seventy yards away. We have fantastic woodland all around, but not close enough to actually be in our yard.

My wife loves trees, and has taken it upon herself to move the woods closer, little tree by little tree. Shortly after we moved in, she found a little oak tree in the woods and enlisted me in the transplanting of the same. I opted for pounding several acorns in the ground but she didnít think that was a good idea. If we dug up the tree and transplanted it, she reasoned, we would shorten the growing period by some several years.

After a couple hours of sweat and mud, there stood our mighty oak, in all its four foot glory. I produced more shade that it did. I asked her how old she though weíd be when that tree was actually taller than either of us. I figured Iíd give Noah a run for his money on that one. Nonplussed, she tromped off into the flora in search of another victim, I mean tree.

She had a book on trees and in point of fact had learned several indigenous species. I on the other hand, knew two kinds. The bushy topped ones and the pointy topped ones. I told her I didnít want the pointy kind in the yard, get bushy ones. She complied. Within a couple of weeks we had two apples, two maples, one box elder and a couple of something I canít remember planted around the yard. All we had to do is sit back for a couple decades and viola, shade.

But alas it wasnít to be. You see, I also had made a new acquisition. A riding lawn tractor or mower, if you will. I think tractor sounds better. At any rate, I found out it cuts trees as well as grass. That thing can make Paul Bunyan look sick.Hard as I tried, that machine sought out anything growing taller than the lawn and attacked it with a vengeance. With all my might I would get a death grip on the steering wheel and slowly navigate around and between the trees, watching the edge of the cutting deck ever so closely. Whoops, there goes another... The ones that werenít completely severed I would try to stand back up, hoping they would re-take. Fat chance. Off to the wood, spade in hand to replace my harvest.

My lovely mate decided that if she surrounded the fledgling trees with chicken wire, they would have a chance to see their teens. Letís just say sheís lucky she didnít try to raise chickens. The vision I have of that is just, well just too graphic to elaborate on here. At least with trees there arenít all those feathers to clean up. Then thereís all the, well, never mind.

I came home from work the other day to find new recruits lined up on parade. Pointy topped trees! I guess my ever patient wife figured I would see the evergreens better than the other kind. I hope sheís right. I am pulling for the survival of these, as not only will they provide shade, but also a wind break during those long cold winter months. Of course, this will take many years and by that time Iíll have been put in some retirement home. Maybe theyíll have a nice patio with tall shade trees for me to enjoy. Itís a safe bet they wonít let me near any lawnmowers. See you around.

This article first appeared in the May 16 issue of the Voyageur Press.