The Big Push
Eight hundred trees are now planted in various locations around the property.
Most of them are on the eastern two acres where the swales are. They are mainly in the swale berms. One hundred chestnut trees are planted on contour around and about on the same field. They are not in the berms though. They cost about six dollars a piece so we babied them a little more than the other trees. The other trees are from the State and were very cheap so I won’t be concerned if we lose some of those. Many of those will be sacrificial anyway.
The trees that we planted are paw paw, persimmon, false indigo (nitrogen fixer), elderberry, pecan, and black chokeberry. They are all native to Missouri and came from the state’s forest that is up around Columbia somewhere, north of here a couple of hours. The trees were just pennies on the dollar, mostly thirty three cents each. The pecan cost more. We also put in one hundred black walnut trees but those went in on the back pasture. They are going to be more for saw logs than for nut production. They are planted pretty close together unlike the chestnuts. We had a lot of pecans that needed to go in various places and they are spread out around the property. There were also twenty five tulip poplars that we planted mainly next to the fence of the front two acres. They are for saw logs as well. I put four in front of the fence by the mailbox to try to get a screen going there. In Georgia they were a fast growing tree and I imagine its the same story here.
It wasn’t very long after the swales were dug that it started raining and they filled up completely. There are varying degrees of clay in that field and some of the swales are holding water very well. Perhaps a bit too much really. After all the point of swales is to soak the water into the land not hold it like a pond. I may have to break up the bottom of the ones holding water a little bit. The others seem to be soaking in a bit faster.
There is one thing that happens when you have water on the land, wildlife will show up.
In our case geese have been utilizing the swales already. Little frogs have also taken up residence as well. They hatched in the existing pond and are dispersing up into the swales. They jump into the water when I walk by and it’s clear enough that I can see them waiting down on the bottom for me to pass by. I also noticed that frog had deposited eggs in one of the swales and now tadpoles are there on the bottom of the swale sort of resembling tiny sting rays.
Whether bird or amphibian one thing that wildlife brings is nutrient deposits. The geese have been making deposits into the water and that’s a free fertility enhancement that was unplanned, but not unexpected. An ecosystem is already in the making.
I have seeded the berms with bee balm, lemon balm, yarrow, sage, echinacea those seeds are beginning to sprout.
Today the oaks had bud break. It could have happened yesterday or the day before but I’ve been watching pretty closely and today I noticed it clearly.
About twenty miles away in Lebanon there is a hatchery. Two weeks ago we rode over there and bought eight ducks and four chickens. We have resuscitated the old poultry house and put birds back in there. The little ducks are growing like weeds. You like to think that the building actually does appreciate being used again. Hopefully it does.
I’ve put a little bit of work into the building itself, bolstering it up where needed. I re-hung the door and put on a new latch. Big mama put in a lot of time setting up straw bales so that the birds would be protected from the wind. We put a hog panel that partitioned the little yard in front of the poultry house into an area for the chickens and we moved the chicken house from near the deck out to that area. Cleo was destroying our new beds that we had installed. Also with our chickens doubling in population we felt it was necessary to get them a little further away from the back door.