Local legend has it that a wind surge swept through the cutoff a few years before we moved here, taking down a path of mature trees with its force. Some had to be removed immediately, of course, and there were three or four stumps left behind when we moved in. We had the stumps removed last year as part of a larger plan to eventually reforest our little acreage.
It’s slow going. Besides the resident herd that have left a browse line that evokes an image of badly plucked eyebrows on an aging doyenne, trees of any worthwhile size are costly. We are, however, committed to slowly planting trees as we are able to.
First, there was Harry Lauder. Not a tree, but a rather eccentric bush. Harry was a Mother’s Day gift from Tom that I’ve spoken about before. Harry has kept us entertained for several seasons, until last winter, when a randy buck decided to sharpen his antlers on some of the gnarled branches. Harry Lauder, I am sorry to say, was a tad more dapper last year. I gave him a good clipping this spring, and, except for being a bit embarrassed, I think he will make it and revive his vaudevillian act again in another year or two.
A Royal Frost birch took up residence last year. It was a fairly good-sized tree, dwarfed by the stately oaks and elms and walnuts standing guard. We know that we will be “pushing up daisies” before this tree reaches any appreciable height, but we feel a responsibility to improve the property for the next generation.
We like to mark milestones in our family with living things. Jennifer had a white lilac and Katy a pussy willow. Jennifer and Jason gave me a Clethra bush for Mother’s Day a few years ago and its sweet cinnamon scent makes me want to bake cookies come July. One year, the girls gave their daddy an Austrian Pine. It was barely two feet tall. It eventually grew taller than Jennifer, then Katy, then Tom, who had it moved to another part of the yard when a new garage was needed.
This one is for Kezzie. A Donald Wyman crabapple that will hopefully bloom in the spring, just as she did. It will be covered with fragrant, white blossoms, then tiny red apples to attract the variety birds that hang around on the cutoff, As she grows and comes to visit us now and again, she will see the tree and mark its growth, just as we will mark hers.