Monday, May 1, 2017

90 Trees. . . and Poison Ivy

This past week, DH and I added 90 new trees to our property. Yes, ninety.  Nine, zero.  Ten times nine.  That's a lot of little seedling/sapling trees to plant by hand. And, since we wanted them not as nursery trees, but as specimen trees in the yard, screen trees along the road and the south property line, deer cover behind the marsh, mast trees to draw deer in the future, shade trees near the lawn, and a visual boundary line between future horse pasture and future hay field, that meant we were all over the entire property (several times, actually) planting certain trees here and other trees there and also keeping in mind mature size (and nutrient needs) of those trees as well as not blocking off the sites of future structures (such as hay barn, riding arena, DH's storage barn/wood shop/butcher shop/brew haus).

It started back in early April, when we heard that (through K3's preschool) the local garden club was offering white pine and/or Norway spruce seedlings for fifty cents each in observance of Earth Day.  You had to order and pay by April 12th, and the trees would be delivered on April 24th.  DH and I had been discussing for a while now our desire to acquire more conifers.  So, at 50 cents each, we couldn't resist ordering 25 of each variety.

I picked them up at the delivery site on the afternoon of April 24th.  We planted half of them that night.  The next night, both DH and I had obligations away from home, so the remaining 25 had to wait until April 26th to be planted.  On the 27th (Thursday), I noticed an extremely itchy spot on my left ankle that looked suspiciously like poison ivy.

Also on the 27th, DH commented that he would be bringing home an oak sapling the next day.  His employer had purchased a sapling for each employee at that location (in observance of Earth Day, I guess); so we would have another tree to plant on Friday the 28th.

On Friday I decided that the itchy spot on my ankle was definitely poison ivy.  It was blistered up and driving me mad.  I doused in it cortisone cream and stuck a band-aid over it in attempt to ease the itch, keep my fingers off of it, and hopefully prevent it's spread.  I'm not sure exactly where I contacted the poison ivy vine, as I'm typically really careful to not touch it.  The only thing I can think of is perhaps I brushed against a root or dormant vine without realizing it when planting some of the spruce near the ditch.  Many years ago, when we were cleaning out vines and scrubby stuff from the road frontage of our property I'd gotten a raging case of poison ivy.  So, even though we've been very proactive at eradicating poison ivy from this little place here, perhaps I'd brushed up against some down by the road.

Friday afternoon, DH texted that he had gotten 'his' oak sapling, plus "a few" more.  Because of course not every employee owned their own home or had space to plant an oak tree.  He'd been given his at the appointed pick-up time, and told if he was interested in more, to go to a particular conference room in the mid-afternoon to see if there were any left unclaimed.  When he went to see if he might be able to bring home a couple more, and answered the question "Do you have room to plant a few?" with "I own 40 acres", he was given an entire sack of 50 red oak saplings!

Between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, we planted 40 of those 50.  At which point we offered the remaining 10 to a couple of DH's friends.  I'm really glad they took those last ten, because believe it or not, I was tired of planting trees.  And I had more poison ivy blisters popping out on my right hand and arm.

So, now we have 90 young trees to keep watered, weeded, and protected from the browsing teeth of the local deer population.  And I'm trying desperately to stop these itchy spots from weeping and spreading even further.  I don't want to end up having to go to the doctor for a cortisone shot like the last time I had poison ivy.

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