Checking in.

I felt bad for the big pregnant doe. She was tucked up under another windblown shingle oak and instinctively bolted straight up, wracking her back against its trunk. I winced as she clambered out towards me then ran the opposite direction, fumbling through treetops all the way.

It’s nice seeing something getting use out of the place, aside from armadillos. Had one practically crawl into my lap one morning while I sat listening to turkeys. Then again, the pileated and redheaded woodpeckers, indigo buntings, summer tanagers, and rose-breasted grosbeaks all seemed to be enjoying the deadfall, the new openings.

There’s still a lot of work to do on the tornado ravaged property; guy’s coming this week to clean out the fencerows. I was surprised how many split, splintered trees were greening up, who knows if they’ll survive the summer. Some of the fallen cherry trees were even blooming, a neighbor’s honeybees going to town. I may try air layering a couple of the less common species, the post oaks and the white oaks, maintaining that genetic history on-site. I’d like to leave a couple warped, twisted trees if they’ll recover, witnesses to nature’s power.

I checked the trees I planted a month, six weeks ago, and was surprised how well they look. The pines were ragged, but pines are cheap. One cherry succumbed to wet feet, the rest seem to have survived. Black and chinquapin oak were budding. Hazelnut and gray dogwood leafed out. It’s surprising, gratifying, and a bit surreal- in fifty years these trees will mature, and I’ll be nearing ninety.

I’m excited about a forest I may well never see.

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