June 2012 Tree Planting

Farmer’s Market

It was a pleasure to kick off the first two Collingwood Farmer’s Markets. Some of you may also know me as the mustachioed actor in the past two years of the Collingwood Gaslight Tours community theatre that helped provide funding for the lively Clay and Paper Theatre group on Week 2.

For those that missed me, I will make a very brief appearance during the mulberry and saskatoon berry season in a few weeks (rabbits enjoyed all the strawberries). After that, my presence at the market will be minimal until the final 4 markets of autumn. I have rabbit, apple and pear preserves, and tea upon request.

Oh and for those that actually missed my mustache, how about auditioning for this year’s Gaslight Tours plays?

Tree Planting

Pretend you are a forest. As a living organism, you breathe, drink, get nourishment, excrete something valuable for others, and find pleasure in the reproductive process. Whether it’s a sunny day, a snowy winter, or a few years embodied as charcoal waiting to regenerate from your earth womb, you are a forest being. You are an ecosystem in yourself, within which are many interconnected species and ecosystems, and you are also interconnected with the larger ecoscape.

Being so interconnected, there are things affecting us even if we were the most pristine escarpment forest removed from legislation and machinery. Besides the stresses of climate shock and escalating pollution levels, there is no escape to be found for the newest threat of introduced diseases: Dutch elm disease, butternut canker, Asian long-horned beetle, emerald ash borer… coming to a forest near you.

What is the cumulative effect of these infestations? The hopeful message is that we will survive and adapt just as we have with chestnut blight and the passenger pigeon, just to list a few.

It seems reasonable that if people devote their intentions to develop a sound financial plan, retirement plan, and career plan, it would also seem prudent to develop a landscape plan. What legacy would the forest want ten years from now? Twenty? One hundred years from now? As the proverb goes, the best time to plant trees is twenty years ago. And knowing what we know now, the next-best time to plant is now.

Image

The photo above is of the forest edge on one of the properties I steward. It’s in quite a beautiful setting, which is saying the obvious given that anything created by mother earth is beautiful. The raspberry cane pioneers are virtually the only woody plants to have found a foothold in a field that has been donated to nature for the last ten years. Within the patchwork, I transplanted hazelnuts and nut pine seedlings last month. The couple of hazelnuts that are within range of this pic barely registers and demonstrates how invisible the first tree plantings appear (or how bad a photographer I am). The first few years are for acclimatising and building root systems. So I apologise for the lack of sexy foliage displays, plus it will be 5-10 years for the first nuts.

Plant of the Month-ish

Enjoy asparagus? Pluck the tender milkweed shoots and boil for 10-15 minutes. If the milkweed shoots are too developed, the young seedpods can be pan-fried like fritters. Now that’s talking the wild asparagus!

Please forage responsibly and safely. It should be noted milkweed is in relative abundance, and is poisonous eaten raw.

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