Sunday, April 23, 2006

Trees and Dirt

     Last night as I prepared for bed, I reflected: I can’t remember a time when I’ve been this tired, this dirty, or smelled this bad!  It had been a beautiful day with no obligations, so we made the most of it here at home.  The original plan was for me to clean and organize the garage and for Alaina to work on landscaping, but that’s not how it worked out.  We did get some junk out of the garage, but I spent most of the day working with Alaina buying herbs, trees, planter pots, and trees.  Oh yes, and dirt.  Lots of dirt.  Most of which I proceeded to get on myself.
     When we purchased our house, we covenanted to plant at least two trees in the front yard.  While I was on the homeowner’s board, they got on my case, saying I only had one.  I pointed out that we had three!  They double-checked and decided the evergreens we have on either side of the garage did meet the definitions in our covenants.  Well, there’s no longer any doubt that we’re in compliance – a newly planted Bradford pear now also adorns our front yard.  Of course, it was much easier (and considerably quicker) writing this than actually planting it.
     Cherries are one of Alaina’s favorite fruits.  Depending on how quickly our second new tree bears fruit, she may be making cherry pies from her own tree sooner or later.  Planting the cherry tree in our backyard was the most strenuous task of the day.  Hurrying to dig the hole in the last remnants of the daylight, I struggled against concrete-like soil.  And rocks.  Lots of rocks.  Indeed, as the light fled and darkness settled in, my shovel put on quite the sparkler show.  I now definitely understand, first-hand, the fire-starting principle of flint and steel.  
     I dug deeper to try to make it easier for the roots, and found it so difficult going I tried something I’ve never done or heard of before – I poured water in the bottom of the hole.  Sure, water and mud sprayed me whenever I threw my shovel at the bottom of the hole, but I do think it helped a little to soften the hardpan.
     By the light of the stars the cherry was planted and the hole filed.  I sure hope it grows, and that the fruit taste good!
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     The other big part of the day was discovering a greenhouse offering for sale more kinds of herbs than I have even heard of.  Alaina was looking for three or four kinds to add to her collection, but she found far more than she began to hope for.  I’ll let her tell you more about it, but just let me say it was fun to be part of it.  She was a little like the proverbial kid in a candy store.  And some of the herbs even have candy-sounding names!
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     One final thought for the day.  As we selected our cherry tree and deliberated what other kinds of fruit we should get, Alaina reflected that her family had the most success with apple trees.  In my memory, our apple trees didn’t do quite so well.  But perhaps, I told Alaina, that’s because of the abuse they received from two boys.  Like the one that was tackled in a one-on-one game of football.  
     You see, the tree served as the sideline/touchdown pylon at one end of our “football field.”  I don’t remember whether it was Peter or me that was diving for a corner of the “end zone,” but the end result was that both of us ended up on the ground with the apple tree at the bottom of the dog pile.  Sobered, and a little scared, we did our best to stake it back up, taping it together and desperately hoping it would grow back.  It did, but I don’t recall it ever producing apples!

1 comment:

steph said...

Andrew, I enjoyed your description of the day. I talked to Alaina about the various herbs she bought and had no idea so many varieties existed! And, I could totally imagine the cherry tree planting by moonlight. :O)
I miss you guys...but I'll see you Saturday!