Thursday, May 17, 2007

Consider the conifer

Tracking animal tracks in the first snow

Half of our property, more or less, is wooded. It's more like a park than a dense copse, though. It is actually an overgrown meadow.

When the original woods was cleared for farming at the turn of the last century, the original owners planted a peach orchard. Peaches are a huge crop in this town. The Red Haven was cultivated here. The peach orchard remained until about 1960, then this family cut them all down and planted strawberries. This lasted a while, then they let it return to being a field and used the hay for their milk cow.

When the cow was gone, the meadow remained. But, as many of you know, nature abhors a vacuum, especially in the form of a field, so soon came the brambles (wild roses and blackberries), the seedling trees like sassafras and maple, and of course the pine trees. The old fart (the guy we bought the house from; he was one of 10 children raised here, and he sold it to us when he was 89) liked pine trees, so he let them grow, and mowed everything else down.

Conifers. They make me itch, but I do love looking at them. And surprisingly, they're not the static things I thought they were. They change color all the time. They change shape. Right now they're candling (sending out shoots for this year's growth). Last week they were pollinating. If the breeze picked up, it looked like the fog had rolled in.

And, if we look closely, the trees share their secrets. Like this cedar apple rust gall on this juniper. Spooky, isn't it?


meresy_g said...

I love conifers and wish that we had more of them. I plant a few every year, but they just seem to grow so slowly. What a huge difference they make on our property, blocking us from the wind. That rust is very cool.

Rurality said...

Alien invaders! That's what that rust reminds me of. Pod people...