Friday, June 22, 2012
From an early age, my father planted trees. He and his sister dug up a small spruce tree, when they were still children, and moved it to a spot beside the driveway on the farm where it stands to this day, almost a century old.
Growing up on that farm, I helped Dad plant trees in areas that were unsuited for agriculture, a small patch here and there. As the years went by, I would go with him as he checked on how they were doing. It gave him immense pleasure to see the seedlings grow to become young trees and eventually small stands on the landscape.
In the mid-70's, when Mom and Dad were visiting us in Yellowknife, we went out into the bush and dug up a birch, planting in the front yard of our first home. Many years later, after we had moved back to Ontario, I was visiting our daughter, Megan, who was working there at the time and one picture we took was of the two of us in front of the birch her grandfather had helped plant.
In the '80's, in our Ontario woodlot, we planted white pine in open areas where only ground juniper existed. Dad and I manned the shovels and my three children carried the seedlings and placed them in the ground. Today, in that woodlot, the pines are two storeys high and taking over from the juniper.
One of the first things I did when we bought our present farm, in 1990, was to begin planting trees. I would guess we've planted 15,000 seedlings over the twenty plus years we've owned the land. This spring, our two oldest grandchildren got their first instruction in planting trees. They listened with interest and put the seedlings in the hole with great care making sure all the root hairs were covered with soil.
Dad would have been pleased.