There are many wise sayings about trees. The best have already been repeated many times. My favourite is ďThe Best Time to Plant a Tree is Ten Years AgoĒ. This simple phrase hits on the point that planting a tree is always a good thing and donít procrastinate in doing it.
In my case, my Dad planted the trees of which I speak. He believed in supporting nature and not putting things off. Letís get it done! He planted these jewels almost 10 years ago in 1998. As was customary, in his quiet way, he acquired a large burlap sack of black walnuts. Dad loved the wood of the black walnut and the walnut tree is highly prized by anyone who really knows trees. Squirrels love the black walnut as well! He thought that a forest of black walnut trees would be a wonderful addition to the slopes of our small farm at the very crest of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Dad criss-crossed the slopes of the farm planting a nut into the soil every 20 feet or so. He let the nut drop from the height of his belt buckle. He planted the nut into the ground in the same way that it struck. He did his best to replicate natureís way which has a secret wisdom within it. He did all this as cancer was wracking his body. His health would not stop him from doing what was right.
Two years later and there was not a black walnut in sight. The cancer had continued to take control of Dadís body but not his spirit or sense of humour. I was keeping a watchful eye out for the bright green leaves to poke above the grasses. And they did!
In the summer of 2000, almond shaped bright leaves started to pop along the slopes. I rushed out with mouse guards to protect the little trees whenever and wherever they showed their tops. A forester friend of mine told me that it was customary for the nuts to take a couple of years to break open. These trees were right on schedule.
Dad passed away in the spring of 2001, before the horrors of 911 but not before I had shown him pictures of his trees. Another World War II veteran has passed away.
Now in the summer of 2007 I try to continue to walk in the footsteps of my Dad, twenty paces at a time. I check on the mouse guards and pull away the taller grasses. I always keep a watchful eye for the stragglers of bright green leaves that might still poke above the waving fields of grass. Some of Dadís trees are quite spectacular now. It is my simple desire that they continue to flourish on the Oak Ridges Moraine long after I am gone as well.
Phil the Forecaster Chadwick