De-vine Oaks.
  This was a pretty good week as far as exercise goes. I hit the Y Monday thru Friday, without a day off. I ran five miles Wednesday, and that felt good again. The downside is I’m pretty much spent right now and have used this day for little more than light yardwork. The oak saplings in the back acre need to be de-vined so they can grow up rather than be a base for vine life. I’ve found a couple that were broken or misshaped under the mass of vegetative pythons, and I think they are beyond hope. Trying to sort out what is vine and what is sapling is a Zen thing at times, and this is one of those tasks where deep suspicion falls as to whether or not I can actually clear the mess out without killing the young oaks, or dying of old age first. The heat index has to be pushing mid nineties, and it doesn’t help at all that the air is filled with Deer Flies, Yellow Flies, Black Flies, Horse Flies, and all manner of Flies that not only bite, sting, and carry switchblade knives, but also seem to be able to gnaw through hats, jeans, and class four body armor.


It’s a form of vegetative prejudice, I know, to put the welfare of the oaks in better light than the life of the vines. After all, I tell myself, this is a natural environment. Vines make the oaks stronger by killing off the weak, and any oak capable of surviving the green gang tackle the vines put on, ought to grow up big and strong, if it does survive. But I keep clipping the vines away, pulling them off one by one, cutting them at the ground, clipping their runners and bodies. It’s a reverse jigsaw puzzle with sap. But one by one the little oaks are cleared, and dozen by dozen the vines are rebuked. Sweat pours down like rain, sap falls, vines are ripped asunder, and I wonder what will become of these young oaks. There are three truly massive oaks near my house and two are under my care. The third is barely off the property line, but I don’t think it is in any danger. My neighbor has never taken axe or saw to any of the oaks on his property, and this bodes well for the massive giant.


The back acre is wooly and wild with no one but Mother Nature directing what grows and where. The attack on the vines is my single contribution to Her program, but I’m seriously thinking about transplanting some of the young oaks next autumn. The back yard, which is fully Mutt Territory, needs more shade. I’ve lost two big oaks in the last three years and it’s time to replace them with the next generation though I won’t live to see them tall. Oaks don’t always live long, grow straight, or get big. Like humans, each has their own body style depending on water, light, food, and whether or not someone tears the vines off of them at a young age. Okay, I made that last part up, but an oak in the fence line I recently cleared is bent almost to the ground because of the vines that once covered it. These are serious wild grape vines whose trunks, yes trunks, are thicker than my wrist. I regained three meters of the side yard by cutting the vines back there, and freed the oaks in the fence line from the grip of the vines, too.


Nothing draws the attention of the Mutts like freshly tilled earth. Any attempts at growing or garden have led to both Bert and Sam pitching in to help as best they can. If a little digging is good, then a lot of digging is great, right? And see, Mike, we’ve taken those weird looking plants out of the hole for you and made it deeper and wider too! Somewhere there is a photo of Bert running across the yard with a tomato plant in his mouth. He was just a puppy, adorable beyond belief, but just as destructive. My brown thumb blackened with the acquisition of dogs that dig.  Bert digs bunkers that would cause World War One vets to have nightmares. Sam trenches, deep straight and never-ending ditches. They’re getting some age on them now, so mowing the backyard isn’t the dusty obstacle course it once was, so maybe I can plant some trees without either and or both of them eating the trees, or digging them up.


I’ll be out back pulling vines, cutting them up, getting the stems as close to the roots as I can, and trying to free up some candidates for relocation later today. I’ll get the offspring of the big trees, and hope that they’ll get that size one day, hundreds of years from now.  I wasn’t here when those giants broke out of the acorn, and I won’t be here when these young tree make it gianthood. But maybe someone will look at those trees and wonder how they came to be where they are, and maybe, just maybe, they'll plant some saplings from my giants.


Take Care,


Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 5/25/2008 7:41:49 PM

auba   auba wrote
on 5/25/2008 7:38:59 PM
thinking cap for sure

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 5/25/2008 6:06:46 PM
Starfish too? Hmmm. Your writing is like that, you know. It's easy to read but the reader has to unscrew the cap to get inside.

auba   auba wrote
on 5/25/2008 5:51:20 PM
or a starfish

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 5/25/2008 2:51:06 PM
They are testing you. It's like giving an octopus a clear jar with a cap that screws on.

Mike Firesmith
Special Interest
Outdoors and enviornment
writing Mike Firesmith
I write
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De-Vine Intervention, and Oak Death Prevention