I think I'm stealing this from somebody, but there's nothing to make you contemplate the future like planting a tree.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Shortly, I'll be planting seven of them. I expect my shipment from Trees of Antiquity within a couple of weeks. For those of you who have asked, that's four apples - Ashmead's Kernal, Golden Russet, Hauer Pippin, and Saint Edmund's Pippin -, a Stella Cherry and a Bavay's Green Gage Plum. There's also the Christmas tree to plant - a Korean Spruce, if anybody cares.
So today I was walking the property during the twenty minutes of sunshine we enjoyed just before sundown, checking out the orchard and trying to decide where to plant my new trees. Walking the prop was a pretty squishy proposition. It has been raining pretty steadily - not to say unceasingly - for the last week, and even the highest and driest parts of my land are not so dry.
Wet wet wet wet wet wet wet. My boots were making an icky squelching sound on the lawn. The hole that is left over from the burial and re-emergence of the famous roadkill deer (The Redneck Rubicon (WARNING - GRAPHIC)) is in the middle of the orchard, and it has a foot of water in it. Everything I have been reading about fruit trees tells me that they hate having their "feet wet." I was planning on simply expanding the existing orchard where it sits by planting my six trees in two rows of three directly to the north. However, I doubt that is a good idea. It just isn't the best place for trees.
I know that this is most likely one of the wettest weeks of the year, and that the ground will not probably be so saturated for more than a few weeks a year. But even so, there are better places on my farm to plant than this one. If I want my new trees to live, I should look for several different spots here and there suitable for one or two trees - break them up and give each tree the best chance it can have. And furthermore, who knows what the future brings? According to the newest research (What Could 4 Degree Warming Mean For The World?) I can expect my area to experience MORE seasonal heavy rainfall.
I love the idea of having an orchard, a discrete area given over to fruit trees, rather than simply scattering them here and there helter skelter all over the landscape. In fact, I really like the idea of having several discrete landscapes, as it were... or habitats.... here, the vegetable garden... there, the barnyard, and over here, the fruit tree grove. Over there, the fishpond. Yon, the lawn with it's playground, complete with adorable children in pastel dresses chasing butterflies. You get it.
Five acres is not really a very big homestead, especially when you consider than fully half of it is pasture and of what remains, the house and it's immediate environs takes up a big chunk, and my husband's shop another one. Breaking it up into separate "habitats" provides visual interest, varied opportunities for recreation, and not least, a sense of satisfaction in laying out my kingdom according to my will and plan. It's annoying to have to abandon that vision because of certain facts of the terrain.
Hmm. Who said "there is nothing more disappointing than the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact?"
Perhaps there is another kind of aesthetics I could aspire to. A more organic one. If I let my farm grow according to the dictates of it's real nature - that is, plant trees where trees might thrive, regardless of where I think they'd look best, and put the garden where the sun is hottest, et cetera - maybe I will come to appreciate the beauty that comes from the true potential of the place, rather than continuing to wrestle with nature to force it to produce something approaching my vision - a Sisyphean task doomed to failure in any case.
Is that enough of a run-on sentence for y'all? Maybe I should concentrate on following the organic nature of the English language and not try to bend it to my evil will, eh?
Anyway. The goddamn Christmas tree is going along the western fenceline and that's that.