Thursday, September 12, 2013


That Spouse o' Mine presented me with an interesting task this week, which I have yet to complete.  "Go out and count all the trees and shrubs on our property.  Make a list of each type and variety."  You may think this sounds like a cowman giving his hyperactive Aussie Shepherd a job just because it always "needs" a job, or it finds trouble, but I think this sounds like terrific fun!  (Ok, ok, maybe that Spouse o' Mine sees a major project (i.e., trouble) being mulled over in my mind...and he doesn't want to have any part in it; who knows?)  In any event, we have 15 acres of all sorts of flora and fauna, and so I have me a project to complete before autumn when all my horticultural clues will fall to the ground.

The last time I undertook a task such as this (of my own accord, about five years ago), I counted all the trees that we had planted since our move here to rural Kansas.  In that the Spouse o' mine was born in South Dakota (read: flat and ...tree-less?) and was then raised in Australia (read: tropical rain forest?), he had a drive to plant and plant and plant trees, just as his father did some fifty years ago, to make his property better for us, and really, REALLY better for the next generations.  (By the way: tree-count then: 63.)

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."  ~Martin Luther

Conditions for survival of any kind here in rural Kansas call for tough-a-bility.  Horrid wind, triple-digit heat, double-digit sub-zeros, grasshoppers, tornadoes, hail, floods, fires.  It's like a natural disaster free-for-all of Biblical proportions, some years.

One fun activity I have taken up, and I have written about this before, is my acorn collection.  I don't think people realize how easy it is to plant an acorn and acquire an oak tree by means of a little water and diligence.  I have Capitol Hill oak trees.  On my last visit to daughter Gillian's on Cape Cod, she handed over a treasure: Central Park (Manhattan) acorns!  I am very excited to plant those guys.  I will have my own Central Park lane, right here in the Tall Grass Prairie of Kansas!  And also, when we went to do our Ocean Spray visit, what did they have lining their long drive to corporate headquarters?  Oak trees!  And what did Gillian do?  Quietly swoop down and grab some acorns on our walk out to the cranberry bogs.

Oh, and by the way...I pronounce them a-kerns.  Like they were meant to be called.

This week the cicadas have been positively deafening in the evenings.  For me, it's a love-hate aural sensation.  Somewhere in my head it signals deep, deep summer, with its dinners on the grill, and bike ridesand gorgeous pre-dawn walks.  But as soon as I walk indoors, my mind thinks, "My gosh!!!  That was a lot of racket, hey?!"

Speaking of trees, (we were), tonight I made an apple cake with apples from our orchard, with a salted caramel frosting.  We have too many apples.  Back when we had horses, that was never a problem...


Louise Plummer said...

I'm not sure what the reason is for counting and cataloguing the trees. What am I missing?

Thank you for the cello birthday greeting with that funny ending.

Gill said...

Speaking of, how are my fig and avocado trees?

twebsterarmstrong said...

Louise: It's just nice to know what we've put in and what has survived. Plus, when we ever decide to move away from rural Kansas, it would be good records to have on hand for future interested parties. (e.g., two apple trees, two peach trees, two plum trees, 61 Austrian Pines, ten lilacs, six oak leaf hydrangeas...)

Gill: fig tree: awesome!
Avocado trees: Meh.
However, I have eight more growing in the old living room! Every time I eat an avocado, I plant the pit. We will never be without avocado trees!

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