There are still a few trees holding on to their green. But by the time they turn color most other trees will have dropped. There are also several bare trees in the woods even now.
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It’s not a very big thing. At least not now, maybe in a hundred years or so. I adore trees. Native trees. The Wife can vouch for me. I was stratifying seeds in her refrigerator twenty years ago. Then an entire fridge drawer filled with soil & seeds from November to April. Of course the soil could not be used for stratification until I sterilized it. Into the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Have you ever cooked dirt. Guess what that smells like? I did this each year for many years. Now days I just keep a handful of seeds in the fridge if necessary.
Oh, and there were the flower boxes filled with hundreds of seedlings. In the windows, all the windows, INSIDE the apartment from February on. All trees never flowers. Plus, there was only one table in the basement next to the washer & dryer. It, of course, was used for my seed propagation chamber. Laundry had to come upstairs to be folded. All two flights.
That apartment and subsequent houses have many great trees in their yards. Now I work on this house and it’s woods.
I know The Wife loves me, not because she puts up with me but because she hasn’t killed me, yet. What a Doll!
These days I take it easy on her. Stratifying, propagation, & first years growth all happen outside. On her deck. Hey! it’s some progress! You wouldn’t want wee critters getting at my trees now would you?
Last year I collected about 1000 River Birch (Betula nigra) seeds and put them in a pot with soil. Watered them every day and Got 30 plus trees out of it. River Birch have notoriously poor germination. All of which I planted out into my back woods where Winter snows brought down several weak trees.
Except for the smallest one which volunteered to be a off-center Bonsai.
To date 13 have germinated. If you click on the image below you can count their tiny little leaves.
I sowed several thousand and maybe a few hundred came up.
Sycamore becomes a very large tree. I’ll plant them along side the creek down in the woods. If I plant 50 maybe 10 will reach maturity. I have no idea what to do with the rest. I guess there may be several Drive-by-tree-plantings in peoples yards. The local park needs some more trees I’ve heard.
I may only get a few dozen Sweet Birch. All of them have homes out back.
I’ll hope to get some Yellow Birch (Betula Allegheniensis) this year as well. I’ll keep you posted. I tried to get American Elm (Ulmus americana) but I missed seed drop. Now I need to hunt for new seedlings if I hope to get any.
The Goal? you ask. Well the back woods was being regularly grazed by cattle thirty years ago. That’s when the land owner cut it down before selling it to developers; hence the handful of houses on this road. The current forest stand is young with only moderate diversity. My Goal is to have every tree native to this area present in these woods. The list may include a hundred tree species or so. I’m still compiling it. Also Native rhododendrons, azaleas, & mountain laurels are included. The Wife, bless her soul, is helping me to include herbaceous species as well. When I’m finished I hope not to be able to see any farther than 20 feet when standing out back.
So I like to watch trees grow..I never said I was Mister Excitement. A hammock stretched between two trees can keep me busy all day.
The quick & dirty for this weekend goes like this.
The Wife and I are painting the foyer. Late Saturday night Kid One trips over the bucket of paint sending it down the stairs. The stairs, banister, & floor are unpainted wood, or were. Not only did the paint splatter the woodwork but it seeped through some backboards and ran down the basements stairs too. Coming to rest in a pool on the downstairs rug. Unfortunately, as if the previous wasn’t unfortunate enough, the foyer is adjacent to the living room we had a new floor put in a week ago. While I was desperately toweling the paint off of the new living room floor I realized I had not yet replaced all of the table lamps. Meanwhile the paint is seeping into the joints, permanently like. I desperately need enough light to fill the room so I can see all the spots. I yell at Kid One to ‘get me a light fast’. Two minutes later he shows up with a small flashlight.
Any rationality I had left…Left. I went off like a bomb. I over reacted. The poor kid. He’s a klutz. Just like me. The wife said I sounded like my father but not in the good way. More like ‘this guy needs an intervention or medication or both’ kind of way. I don’t go by the moniker of Polar because I like the cold folks. What an ugly scene. There is nothing good about a gallon of paint cascading through one’s house. But it’s worse, I think now, to down dress your kid for doing it accidentally. essentially I made the situation much worse for everybody in earshot. Yeah, yeah, it was a unusual paint in that one MUST maintain a wet edge while painting or the job goes to hell. Which means one cannot just stop halfway through a wall for an hour to clean a spill. But once the can went down the stairs all that became moot anyway.
I wish that I had said something like ‘Um, your supposed to play Kick The Can with an empty outside in the yard.’
I wish that I had made like a foreman on a Exxon Valdez clean up crew calmly pointing out missed spots and issuing towels. letting Kid One learn how to clean up paint.
I wish that I had made this a lesson instead of a catastrophe.
I wish that I had laughed instead of panicked.
The real mistake here was not made by Kid One but by me.
The real damage here was not done to the house but to the relationship between Kid One & myself, Dad Zero.
White vinyl cabinets
Pond scum green linoleum
1 fluorescent light
Of all the reasons we moved here
This kitchen was not one of them
So the kitchen becomes a pot
To which we added
5 quarts of sweat
10 bundles of lumber
Stir with a drill
Fold in 1 hammer
We set the oven on Hi destruction
And cooked it for many months
When the timer went off we had
Handmade natural oak cabinets
Stretching to the ceiling
With corner cabinets and spice racks
A Floor with 12″ sand colored tile
Making diamonds instead of squares
A skylight in between two dome lights
With a spot light over the sink
And counter lights under each cabinet
All visible from the great room
Through the 7 foot by 3 foot pass-through
Cut into the once solid wall
A pass-through decorated by a 10 foot bar
Supported by more oak cabinets and trimmed in tile
For bar-stool seating for 4
A wood valance hung above the bar
4, 4 foot fluorescent bulbs
Illuminating the bar below
With recessed rope lights
Sparkling above the valance
Showcasing the wife’s art
My wife loves to cook
And is happy to be in the new kitchen
I can only make Ramen
So am thankful for my table saw
An antique is
Serving no purpose
That is my aunt’s kitchen
Cooking here is minimal
But style is at a maximum
Old oak floors
And a tin ceiling hung with fans
Antique glass on each cupboard
Displays urns of hand dried
Noodles and herbs
Like a mausoleum
All of which clashes with the
Of the most modern
Framed in worm bored antique wood paneling
We are visiting, my wife and I
I am talking with my aunt
My wife goes to the kitchen
Looking for something to drink
She finds the fridge in a recessed corner
It is an old fridge
My aunt thinks it’s ugly
She hides it
My wife opens it
She does not see drinks
She does not see food
Ketchup can make anything taste good
What once was food is now
A governmental experiment
Wrapped in cellophane
Green, red, & brown
Frigid, toxic rainbow
Ten minutes later
My wife hands me my coat
Her stern eyes glare into mine
“It’s time to go”
MISS HARLEY QUINN’S
Take on Her Kitchen
An Antique is
And full of memories
This is my kitchen
Cooking here is a constant
Style a vain hope
New sticky tab tile flooring
And an old ceiling with flourescent lighting.
A 23rd coat of paint on each cupboard
Keeping safe hand picked herbs
Like a magician’s hat
All of which comes together with
witch dolls on high
cats on counters
candles that flicker
If you were to visit, your wife and you
You’d have no room to gather or stand
If your wife went to the ever so small kitchen
Looking for something to drink
She coudn’t help but find the fridge
I think it serves its purpose
And it can’t hide
If your wife opened it
She would see drinks
She would see food
Feta and truffle oil make everything grand
The food thats there,
made with love and care
Is kept in lead free containers just waiting to be enjoyed
Yummy, savory, a culinary rainbow.
10 minutes later
Your wife hands you her coat and says,
“Please hang this up…we’re staying to sup.”
This is my kitchen.