Last Days –

– of the cold. For a week or so anyway. I am feeling desperate for the warm to come.  For just a touch of green. The promise of it makes it seem so much harder to wait. Do you remember that feeling when you were taking an exam and you were on the last two questions, that rise of anticipation – almost there – almost there! Your body starts to tingle and answering that last question is Interminable. Just the fact that you are  almost done meant everything was so much harder to bear.last-of-winter-005

Waiting for the weather to break is a lot like the last few minutes of an exam.  Soon, soon I can take off my hobnailed boots and walk like a real person.

I am the only person I know who LOVED taking exams – I loved the order of it.  Did you? The quiet. The teacher walking up and down the rows, her gentle heels clicking in such a tireless comforting rhythm – eventually I was that teacher too – I loved the clean sheets of supplied paper and my wee bag of sharpened pencils, an eraser (in NZ we call them rubbers  – for Rubbing Out – no smart arse comments please). I would place my Dads large-faced mans watch on the desk beside the pencils, and three peppermints. Upon reading the exam I would allot the appropriate time to each question depending on its value,  and then begin when everything was in place, only when all was in order and I was settled  and calm would I begin.  I never hurried. I always passed.  Everything was in place.   Nothing mattered anymore. The knowledge was there or it was not. I had done the best I could. I never felt the weight or possibility of failure only the finite-ness of completion.  Actually, though I will only admit it to you – I miss the learning and then the exam.

But we were talking about weather. Always with the weather. You know how cold it has been here. It is winter after all. And I cannot complain as I have had three separate summers during this winter. But the weather man said, on the pigs radio today, that there is only One more cold, cold day -this morning is FREEZing and tomorrow will be very cold then we will rise above freezing. ABOVE FREEZING! (The crowd Roared!) last-of-winter-009

And as I was saying – Knowing that the weather man might be right and it might warm up for days at a time makes the next two cold days feel Interminable.last-of-winter-020

Good morning.  Other news! Out here in the Mid West boonies the local Countys offer cut price native (to this area) trees, to try and encourage farmers like me to plant more trees. (Like we need encouragement).  Usually I can only afford a couple. But this year they are offering packages of bare root trees. So this year the Fellowship Forest will be receiving 25 Black Walnuts and 25 American (Wild) Plums at a very reasonable price.  These will be twigs, barely a foot long. So we will pot them up and grow them on and hopefully plant them along the fence lines and along the creek, that is really a ditch, in the fall.  (Unless I can find a way to winter them over in this environment and plant them the following fall as bigger trees). Black walnuts are reported to grow 24 inches a year in this area.  The wild plums are for the bees… of course.  I have also ordered a peach tree for our John to replace the peach he lost in last years bad winter.

One of the most important objectives I have is saving the soil here on the prairies.  Just my little patch. Trees can do this better than I can.  When we save the soil, we save the birds, the air, the water, the butterflies. We save ourselves. And more and more. RE -forestation is the key. The Fellowship Forest is spreading.

They say the best time to plant a tree is yesterday. I am working on it! And if you have no-where to plant a tree let me know – I will plant one for you and attach a name tag. We already have a number of Fellowship trees growing here.  Here and all around the world. Spring is coming. Not overnight! But it will come!

Have a lovely day,

Your friend on the farm,


ps.. Do you remember Grace our wwoofer from Korea – she is on spring break from her university in Wisconsin and is coming to visit this weekend.  Her U.S. home. I told her she has to share her room with Six chicks!!   She has learnt to write LOL on her texts!


118 Comments on “Last Days –

  1. I am almost giddy with the thought that the forecast is for 35F tomorrow and 50F next Wednesday — it cannot come soon enough. I would be honored to have a tree on the farmy. If I have a choice I would like a plum tree as my father kept bees many years ago. One more day to warmer weather — the crowd is indeed roaring! Have a lovely day!

  2. We are waiting for the temperature to drop below 35, but for us, it’s Celsius, not Fahrenheit! Give it a month or so, and the heat will moderate, the soil will relax its hard, frowning surface and I will be able to dig! I have trees to plant too, that have survived the heat of summer in irrigated tubs, but come autumn, it’s time. I will be planting an Illawarra Flame Tree, a mango, an avocado, a lychee, a cherry guava, a Tahitian lime and a Meyer lemon. Mine will be a little tropical fruit forest!

    • hmm, perhaps a Banana and paw-paw and you will have the whole fruit salad 🙂 Laura

      • Pawpaws are easy to grow here, but I don’t like them much. A banana tree is on the shopping list, together with some pineapple bushes, both of which I’ve grown before in our previous house. What I’d really like is a guava!

  3. I’m looking at the weather myself – it’s much warmer here than where you are, but I need a sunny day to make a film and the weather man seems incapable of telling the truth…
    We used to call them rubbers here when I was little, but I suspect they might be called erasers now 😉

  4. It’s warming up here, too, with sun forecast all week and, when today’s has disappeared, no more frost. Good on you for planting the trees – you may be doing it for the sake of the soil, but you are also helping to save us from (more) climate change. I’m doing a Climate Change MOOC course at the moment, and it makes depressing thoughts.

    Have a lovely weekend with Grace

  5. Yes, they are called rubbers here too! Would love to have a plum tree on the Farmy (allergic to nuts) please. You really do deserve some warmer weather, holding thumbs that it is on the way very soon. Laura

    • The first time I ever heard of ‘erasers’ being called ‘rubbers’ was when we lived in Malta. But remembering to say ‘rubbers’ was easier than this American learning to drive on ‘the wrong side of the road’……. ; o )

  6. It sure has been a horrifically cold winter here too. Most of our dear friends have bought homes in Florida or Arizona to help manage the winter. They’re saying this past February has been THE COLDEST on record. Ever. At least we don’t have the frequent power outages that we had last year. Possibly because we purchased a generator. Murphy’s law.

  7. I loved taking exams, too. I actually liked studying for them, as well. I am weird.

    The temps rose to 71 degrees yesterday. Six of my large tortoises got to experience the outdoors for the first time in six months. They were delighted, Today, we have a predicted high of 29 degrees and an ice storm. I am hanging my hat on May. May is the great equalizer, and the balance will tip toward the warm for good. We’re almost there.

    I don’t have a place to plant a tree. We live in an area with dense trees surrounding our property, but only steep hills for our yard. I don’t think there’s a Heather tree yet, and if there is, I do not want to be greedy.

    Two critically endangered and very valuable (genetically) animals hatched yesterday. I am bursting to share the pictures, but there are rules I have to follow. It will likely be a week. *sigh*

        • My brain is spinning….. I’m wondering if it might be a baby turtle…. But I know you can’t say right now. Again – looking forward to the photos!!

          • It IS a baby turtle! I can’t give specifics, but it is a precious baby turtle. I have to wait until it is weighed, measured, and officially recorded as a viable hatch before I can post images publicly.

  8. I don’t think I ever met anyone who actually liked taking tests! But you were lucky. And, because you weren’t stressed, you were able to do your very best. About the Black Walnut trees, my neighbor (who also lived in an old New England farmhouse like mine) planted Black Walnuts not too long ago. I never saw any trees grow so fast!! ++ Just like you, I always get excited thinking of spring being on it’s way!! In fact, people at our local hardware store said they’ve already started their veggie plants. I’m going to have to get right on that !! That is, as long as I can get someone to help me build a groundhog and rabbit-proof fence this spring. Of course, I don’t mean a Rabbit Proof Fence like they have in Australia…. Did you ever see the movie of the same name? It’s wonderful !!

        • Nothing like getting in the first vege plants.. could you put a netting cloche on top of the seedlings? Our cats made short work of the rabbits.. we have nothing like the problem we used to.. c

      • Fabulous!!!! I love learning new things but I never liked exams. How wonderful to actually enjoy them – and how wonderful that you gained your degree at 72. There’s certainly nothing wrong with YOUR memory !!

  9. How exciting about the trees! Our conservation office does the same thing usually with pine and pecan. Pine seedlings are a nickel! I’m sure you know this, but you have to be careful where you plant black walnut trees. Their roots contain a toxic substance that can kill plants 80 ft. from the tree.

    • I have heard this, but my black walnuts grow along side other trees quite happily, so maybe it is just some other species that it moves off so it can get more light.. sensible tree. These ones will be planted in a long line, evenly spaced parallel with the ditch, but not too close, plenty of room to spread and in 20 years i will run the pigs under them at fattening time.. (how FAR ahead wwe gardeners need to think!)..i c

      • that’s good! they make great shade trees. We had a whole field of them when I was little. We had to pick up walnuts and put them in the ruts of the road so my dad could run over them and remove the hull. My grandmother would spend all winter cracking out walnuts for us to eat. Funny how the mention of a tree brought this to my mind.

  10. I loved exams as well but not when I was at school. I took all my exams after I had grown up, got married and had 2 children. It was only then that I realized just what I had missed so I went back to college and got my qualifications….
    Yes Spring is just around the corner, I can see it on the trees. Here in Bulgaria last Saturday was Baba Marta day when Spring sort of begins at the end of March Baba Marta finishes and goes away leaving blue skies and the sun behind.
    Good news about she staying long….we had an enquiry from a woofer but when I said it involved painting she replied that she did not know how to paint…well would you believe it!

  11. We most likely would have had to suffer a sit down with the principal if anyone had referred to erasers as rubbers around here. Even from a young age, and through lots of giggles and remarks, most of us knew what was being insinuated by using the word rubbers…even if we didn’t understand the rest of the process 😉 Am I wrong, or aren’t/weren’t rain boots referred to as ‘rubbers’ in some parts of the world?

  12. I feel almost guilty posting early blooming cherry blossoms from here when it seems that the rest of the continent is freezing! 😦 I sure hope your spring is just around the corner. I’m looking at the jet stream and it is still resolutely dipping directly over you. I’ll do a little sun dance.

    Funny story: When we first immigrated to Canada, I couldn’t believe that someone would send you a watch for eating three packages of cereal. So I begged mom, got my cereal and sent away for the watch…a great big Mr Peanut watch, yellow face, black numerals, and the watch hands were Mr Peanut’s arms. I loved that watch and wore it every day. And then came a math exam and someone complained and the teacher asked me to take my watch off please and he took it to the principal’s office over the time of the test because the loud ticking was driving my class mates crazy! I never even noticed it! 😀 Oh, one more thing, I saved three vine maple twigs at the recent home and garden show and will plant them up at the cabin. 😀

    • Vine maple.. They grow fast too.. I just looked them up and they go to zone 6, I am 5 – poo.. I like to plant trees that will survive a zone colder than me due to the over all cooling trends in the climate.. c

  13. I confess I never liked exams or studying for them & always had a novel I couldn’t put down when it was time to cram for a course. Where I grew up in central Kentucky we wore rubbers or galoshes. Rubbers slipped on over the tops of your shoes, galoshes were big old rubber boots with some kind of buckle closures—-I think. It was a long time ago. But I certainly do remember very clearly that I adored all things black walnut: ice cream, cake, fudge, and especially Kentucky Colonels, pulled cream candy made with brown sugar & black walnuts. Since they are not compatible with some other plants, plant your black walnuts in their own grove or in a row up the drive – so you can run over & de-hull them when the nuts fall. I would love a black walnut please, Celi. — Judith, in chilly damp Asheville, NC, where just yesterday it was sunny & 72 F.

    • I may need to grow them on for a years or so. Then I intend to plant them in a row just out of the new fields across the way.. I will put YOUR black walnut next to mine right here in the drive, so i can run over yours too! c

    • I’m going to be near Ashville next week for a knitting retreat. Please tell me it won’t snow?

  14. I’m so glad to hear of your forest! We just acquired two kumquats to plant out when it’s done freezing here, along with a Meyer lemon. We don’t have anymore room for additional larger trees (three on our city plot already, and four small ones) but there’s still room for citrus!

  15. And I am so excited that it will be 45 tomorrow – practically balmy! – which is the weather moving your way. I would live it if you would plant a black walnut tree for me. Something about the complexity is shelling the nuts always appealed to my father, and it is the tenth anniversary of his death today, which I am taking surprisingly hard, even though I have been quite at peace with this day these last few years. This post and that tree feel like a serendipitous remembrance, as I would not have thought of his penchant for black walnuts (which he always put in his brownies) without it. Thank you, miss c.

    • Wonderful. I will grow a tree for him. I am so glad that I can say that today for you. How did your Dad shell his? We have some big old ones out at the old farm, very tasty. The pigs make short work of them too.. c

      • My father was an Appalachian boy with strong hands. He used to crack them by pressing two together between his palms, and the used a nut pick to carefully extract the meat. He taught me how to crack them like that but it was tough on my hands, so he also taught me to use a hammer and hit them just right.

  16. I live in the woods – no place to plant a tree, though I’d love to have a little orchard. What planting zone are you in? Can you grow persimmon? They are lovely fruit and the trees are easy to grow.

    • We are zone 5.. I will look them up – Diospyros virginiana (American persimmon) .. Look what i found – what do you think?
      American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is native to the eastern United States and is higher in nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium than the Japanese Persimmon. Its fruit is traditionally eaten in a special steamed pudding in the Midwest and sometimes its timber is used as a substitute for ebony (e.g. in instruments). The American persimmon fruit is proven to be valuable food source for white tail deer, because the fruit ripens late into the year and will hang on the tree much throughout the winter months.
      Hmm.. I will research further.. c

      • I love, love the American persiomns and have used them in different recipes for years…. persimmon bread, pudding , chutney, smoothies, and more. They keep for weeks because they have to ripen after you pick them.

          • There are lots of native American persimmon trees around here – they pop up from seed-filled deer poop. They are that easy to grow. The fruit is softer and sweeter than the Asian variety, and you really want to wait till they are ripe enough to fall off the tree before you eat them. Very tannic when unripe. The trees don’t seem to mind occasional coppicing because there is a tree on the side of the road that gets mowed down to about 2 ft every few years and it still bears fruit.

        • I made a mistake😁 I use the Hachiya ( AKA Japanese persimmon) and I don’t think that they are same as the American persimmon.

  17. Two bad words in one paragraph for me today – School and exams. I hated them both with a passion. Long story. Very long story. Not for today when we have hope of better weather. Yesterday was lovely, so long as you stayed on the sunny side of the street, turn a corner and it was a horse of a different colour! Trees are important and I am glad you have the opportunity to get so many this year.

  18. Our sun arrived yesterday ( we asked for overnight delivery) ! I hope it comes soon for you!

  19. The waiting sometimes is horrible. Time seems to go by slower than molasses in freezing temperatures. We are in a mode of waiting right now with our pup Gracie. She will be 10 next Wednesday, but she will always be my beagle puppy…. She has pancreatitis, quite sever pancreatitis too. Her kidneys are not doing well at all either. So we wait while the vet gives her IV’s. We wait to see if she will eat the chicken water (not really broth since it was boneless skinless chicken breast and water)…. We wait to see if she will eat a grain or two of rice…. It feels as if we are waiting for her to tell us she is tired and in pain and not happy, but she keeps telling us she wants to try….

    These animals that come into our care become such a part of our lives….

    • Oh Pat, it is the hardest wait.. dear old dog.. Our thoughts are with you .. no easy way through it either..many of us in The Fellowship know this feeling.. all my love c

    • We had a beagle many years ago, our first ‘child’ really…very fond memories there, but the day we decided to let him go still is difficult to remember. My thoughts to you…

    • A sick pet is so very stressful.causes such anxiety. You can’t think of anything else. I find myself practically wringing my hands looking at my cat in this case, checking the litter box. Cecilia was kind enough to plant a tree for him last year. He’s doing okay, but he is at least 17. I know that pancreatitis is the most awful thing to deal with. My heart goes out to you, PatR.

    • Thank you all for the support. I have had a beagle in my home since 1990. Doc Holiday lived 15 wonderful years, and in May 2005 we adopted 6 week old George Burns and Gracie Allen. 1/2 brother and sister. George has been the picture of great health from day one, but poor little Gracie has had bone issues and poor health her whole life. Her momma was not yet 2 when she had her so I think that lack of age impacted her health. George’s mom was 5 and her 3rd litter. Breeding is very important isn’t it….

  20. My brother planted trees on the dirt roads of our village in Germany. He planted pear, apple and plum trees , the dark purple kind that is used in Zwetschenkuchen , his favorite cake. My mom used to bake it for him all the time.

      • My brother is good guy. Here is a description of the plums , they make a jam that is to die for. Zwetschge
        The zwetschge is a fruit-bearing tree, or its fruit. It is a subspecies of the plum Prunus domestica. The freestone fruit is similar to, but distinct from, the clingstone damson and is especially popular in Central Europe. Wikipedia

  21. It might be cold Celi, but it’s beautiful! 🙂 Good luck with the trees, I’ll try and plant one here for a representative of the fellowship on Spanish land 😉

  22. I have one black walnut tree, it is lovely. It is also one the trees the Big-Horned Owls love to sit in. At night, around mid-night, when I take my walk, I look up into the Black Walnut tree and see the lovely owl(s) hooting down to me. Although, the owls nest in the cottonwoods, they seem to hunt from the Black Walnut and the Weeping Willow.

    Like you I’m starved for spring.

    Linda ♪♫❤

  23. Thank you very much, Celi, for planting a black walnut tree for me & next to yours! The leaves fall early in the September sun & come spinning down to make you stop & think, Fall! Then the green hulls come plunking down. After you run the hulls off with your wheels you have to let the nuts dry for a month or so–till around Thanksgiving. Inside, so the squirrels don’t snitch them.
    Then the cracking (which I never did) with a hammer, I’d say. Pat W: It is pouring rain in Asheville here today & it won’t snow next week. I checked the 10 day forecast on & it’s going to be great knitting weather here For You! Short & Sweet Writers: I lived in Horse Shoe, Henderson Co., for 10 years & my son graduated from Hendersonville High. If you did too, Mr. Orr has a fb page where he posts fun HHS memorabilia!
    Cheers everyone for getting through the joys & sorrows & spring planning during these very last days of winter. Judith in Asheville

      • Thank you again, Celi. Through the magic of the internet, Your wonderful blog has come into our hearts & created this special fellowship of people all over the world, who care about animals, the food we eat, our environment, the beauty of the earth, hard work, well…you know…so much more. Everything, Life. Look! here comes
        Grace, back again on spring break & her roomies are– against all odds– baby chicks! We’re all in Your thrall, … er….breathing joyous caring force! Judith in Asheville

    • I went to East Henderson. Though I knew a bunch of kids at HHS.
      I am Short and Sweet – for some reason the comment box defaults to my business details instead of personal. Sorry about that.

  24. We are supposed to have a l lovely weekend. I plan to soak up every ounce of sun I can. Even though we’re all sick of winter, the snow on the farmy sure looks beautiful. 🙂

  25. Trees, trees, trees. I couldn’t live without them. Living in the city or the desert would choke the life out of me. So glad you’re getting more of them. I would love a greater variety of trees here on my little place, but we only have about 3 inches of topsoil before hitting solid limestone. We’ve actually rented a jackhammer to plant trees. Only the Live Oaks do well to break through the stone.
    On the subject of Black Walnut toxicity. There is more to it and it might be worth looking in to. Just take care in where you plant them. 🙂

  26. The warm highlights of light contrast with the stark cold landscape is beautiful… but I can imagine waiting for a glimmer of warm weather. Time is so elastic. I liked school and didn’t mind exams, what is done is done but I hated long slow afternoons stuck a classroom and would gaze out the window anticipating being set free… all which extended over the rest of my life.
    How wonderful Gracie has a US home, and is coming to visit 🙂

  27. Hello! I’m a lurker on your sight. I read it almost everyday and enjoy it very much but I’ve never posted until today. I just wanted to caution you on black walnut trees. Black walnut trees are toxic to some other plants and the hulls can be toxic to horses and dogs. It may not bother things around your farm depending on where you plant them. You may want to do a little research before planting them. Don’t plant them near apple trees or gardens. Below are a couple of links on this topic.

    • Thank you so much Melody for popping to make sure. I do have quite a few black walnuts both here and at the old farm and they seem to do well. Johns great grandfather planted quite a few. These ones will be planted outside of the pastures as both shade and nut trees for the pigs. We have never had any trouble with the dogs though.. c

  28. Very hot here for autumn, summer was wet, stormy and coolish, so has decided to stay a bit and give us a big blast of heat…..mid to high 30s C. Opposite to you guys who are waiting for warmth, I long for the cooler days to come. I’d love to have a black walnut in my yard, the shells are great to dye with, giving a beautiful colour, but it’s too hot for them here, perhaps you could grow one for me Miss C? Thankyou. I liked exams and studying for them too, that sense of purpose and being organised and knowing what you knew. We have rubbers her too….and “rubbers” back when I was young….not that we knew much about them except they were unmentionable and therefore worth having a giggle over. A hug for Pat and a nose-kiss for old dog…..a hard time for you.

      • Anything from a dark chocolate to lighter goldy. It depends on your fabric, the kind of water you use, the age of the walnuts when readied for dyeing, where they grown….different soils can contain different minerals. Like any eco-dyeing, it’s pot luck really 🙂 There’s lots of info online, just google walnut dyeing.

  29. Cecilia, I delight in reading your blog and everything that is going on on the farmy. My day doesn’t feel quite right without it. I want to ask you if you would mark a black walnut tree for my Dad. He passed in 2003 and I have wanted to plant a tree for him but I haven’t had a place to put down roots let alone a tree. He was born after the first war on the west coast of BC and he lived an interesting life full of friends of all ages and from many places. He would have enjoyed the fellowship and being in touch with so many people from so many places. As for the weather, here in Ottawa it is a nice warm sunny day and Spring is in the air.

  30. It hit 75 degrees here yesterday, and today it is plummeting to 27. Kind of scary. But that was enough to bring about the daffodils and a promise of Spring. I do hope this is the end of your frigid weather. Love that you’ll be planting trees. Especially fruit and nut trees. We can’t plant fruiting trees in our yard, sadly.

  31. I am with Grannymar – I stressed way too much about tests and I never enjoyed school. We have a similar tree program here put out by the Department of Wildlife Conservation. For us it’s about creating more natural habitat for wildlife. All of the sale locations are in the eastern part of Oklahoma this year (where most of the forested areas are) so I won’t have a chance to purchase trees at an affordable price. Sometimes FD and I walk about the river area looking for young saplings to dig up before they’re rooted too deeply, and transplant them on our place. Our soil is very sandy, so the first year or two I run buckets of water all around with my electric buggy, attempting to give these younsters a fighting chance in the brutal Oklahoma heat.

  32. Cecilia – i would really love to have a tree with my name on if you have a spare one.It will make me feel even more connected..

  33. That’s great that you are planting trees. I know what you mean about the exams too, it’s like a time set apart, all there is is you and the exam paper, no other distractions and you can lose yourself in the thinking.

  34. Oh, Viv and I seem to be so similar at the same stage in life. Actually I used to get very nervous at exam times back at school, but that may have been because of the awfully high expectations my parents had of me : there was only one place to be in class and that was first 🙂 ! And my medical degree was almost ‘forced’ on me: it was ‘practical’ after the WWII difficulties – no wonder I ‘escaped’ into my husband’s business affairs and coy directorships soon after we married! But for me too the wonder of learning returned in my late forties I’d say and at present I’m doing post-grad and ancillary streams in gerontoloy and nutrition at three universities – not so much for another degree [tho’ I’d love to finish my BA begun a decade ago] but sheer knowledge and use of the same in my present world!! Not too many exams: mostly essays and more essays 😀 !! Oh, Kate is lucky with her 35C – our first ‘cold’ change belted thru’ this morning and a jacket was definitely needed to take out the garbage!!

    • You two have much in common. Viv is a linguist too and you both have a great thirst for learning. I love essays, and am looking forward to the days when i have the time to study more.. it wold be english i think.. I would like to use words better.. What is gerontology? I could ask Mr google but I am sure you will say it better.. c

      • [laughing] Yes Mr Google would say it better than me too BUT it is a composite term for all the studies and sciences regarding old age: what is usual when aging, what can be done [especially naturally] to slow it down, how to best cope with the various facets etc . . . . for me rather a natural progression . . . . am most interested in the nutritional aspects as you will have gathered and all the ‘tricks of the trade’ to keep one’s mind young!! Of course the studies themselves help 🙂 ! Am also ‘doing’ straight out mind-body medicine, Buddhism and meditation . . . but have this year picked up two facets of modern history as a personal interest as well, hence my being very much ‘quieter’ on line: am certain many are saying ‘thank God’ 😀 !!! Not that much into writing and I only speak 3 languages and can manage another two sort-of – everybody has to cope with that in Europe . . . .

  35. Everyone sounds giddy with the thought of spring, me included! We have quite a few black walnut trees, the squirrels take them into the barn to eat them so there are shells all over the place. You also have to watch your step in the long grass, they’re real ankle twisters! The juglone in the roots is toxic to many plants and is known to cause horses to founder if shavings from the trees are used as bedding. We had a 5 yr. old gelding who died of liver problems, after he was gone I saw that he had chewed on the bark of some of the black walnut trees. I don’t know if there was a connection or not. On a brighter note I have seen buttons made of slices of black walnut shells, really pretty! We are fortunate that we have a lot of trees, all different kinds, one silver maple that has a diameter of 6′ and two burr oaks fully as large as well as willows and hickories and many softwood trees. The only ones I dislike are the box elders, giant weeds they are.

    • Your trees sound wonderful.. I kind of respect how the black walnut has created a system where he does not have too much competition for his canopy. But a silver maple that large around sounds fantastic. Sadly around here more trees are taken out than planted. It is all about the corn and beans and the Extra Row.. It is a grievous loss to us all. So as we take back small slices of field so must we add the trees to start the healing. And the walnut loves to grow around here.. and his roots go wide and deep drawing up and holding the moisture. c

  36. While this winter was cold, it didn’t seem to be as stressful on the animals as last year. That has to be a blessing.

  37. Oh, sun today! With 30’s, but SUN. Palms are in coats just in case for a few days, still spring is refusing to wait much longer. (and I have to look for some new (to wear out of the house and yard and presentable so as not to embarrass my daughter) sandals as by old favs have finally died. Not a fan of shopping. May have found some online.
    I always did tests in reverse: started at the back and worked forward. Had a bad problem with going totally blanks from stress and worry and forgot every single thing I knew. Working backwards helped. Later found out that most standardized tests start with easier questions getting more difficult as yo go along ( and some value rank the latter questions more). In any case, finding a comfortable starting point and working systematically in little chunks to the end accomplishes much in life, too.
    We had a giant old black walnut tree in the “yard” at our last farm. It had been struck by lightning, but kept growing. Mom wanted dad to cut it, but her wouldn’t. We’d crack those walnuts – as well as throw them at each other. While there were cattle in the pasture, we mainly farmed trees. Planted thousands of pines about a foot tall ever January – by hand. Sometimes the ground frozen so hard it was difficult to stab the shovel-thingy into the ground. Thousands and thousands. As they grew and were harvested, we replanted – in January. By hand. Trees paid for my college. Ci, could you plant a black walnut tree for my dad? Of all the kids in is family, he’s the one who would have been happiest to stay and live forever on the farm. (retired and went back to it). His name was an old fashion one: Harmon. Somehow seems in tune with the farmy? would appreciate it. Thanks

  38. I’m waiting for some warmer weather too to start planting the terrace below Casa Debbio. Last autumn I planted 40 fruit trees and I can see tiny buds appearing. Fortunately plants are quite cheap here as I will need at least 200 for the terrace. I will plant lavender, peonies, roses, hydrangea an anything else I can find that is pink, lilac or white. Spring is like magic.

  39. Wonderful news about the black walnuts and wild plums. I am moving back to San Leandro where I can have a tree or two, but I don’t want to plant trees until the drought is over in California. Once we get some real rain again, I will have a Gravenstein apple tree and a Meyer lemon. Right now what I have out there is chard that re-seeded itself (I’d rather have chard than weeds!) and a few shelling beans that started up by themselves. I’ll be moved in a couple of weeks and am already dreaming about what I can grow.

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