Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Planting for the future

The property at The Lake has been in my husband's family for 67 years, and before that had a developed history of about 60 years, if you don't count the construction of the dam and saw mill at the outlet of The Lake in the 1850s.  Initially, the land around The Lake was logged off, and then the bare slopes at the north end were sometimes farmed.  Once The Lake shore was divided into lots and began to have camps* built in the 1880s, our property became a launching place for those camp owners who could only access their property by water.... which was most of them.  Further development came at the hands of a local hotelier who purchased the property and created a 9-hole golf course and built one-room log cabins ca. 1930 to cater to The Lake's growing popularity.

Cabin 3 ca. 1947

After World War II, Bob's great-uncle built up the property into a fully-functioning marina and store with gas pumps and the family property came to be known as the "Main Dock."  The golf course went by the wayside, and then the store, although the cabins are still around.  In the intervening years, the trees have reclaimed nearly all the cleared land and there's a fairly mature forest on the property now.  However, a neglected woodland is not necessarily a useful woodland, and not even necessarily a healthy woodland.  So, rather than wait for a forest fire to clear the underbrush in the natural cycle of things, we try to keep up with managing the wooded land of which we are stewards.  (And by "we" I mean the menfolk.  My mother-in-law and I do not wield chainsaws.)  This also allows Bob to fell mature trees for use in the building of our log house before the trees get mangled in ice storms or blown over during blizzards.

Since the trees are tall and most are nearly 80 years old, we are looking to the future of the wooded portions of the property now and planning....  for oak!    With the help of a friend's father, Bob and my father have been tending and growing little oak saplings for several years.  Since the time has come to transplant them, we've been scouring the lake property for the most desirable places to have oak trees.  It's trickier than you might think, since we not only have to think of where there are already cleared places where we'll want oak trees in 20 years - places with enough sunlight now and where the saplings won't be in danger of being trampled - but also where there are mature trees now that might be nearing the end of their lives.  Because, if we want to keep some areas wooded, we need to replace those trees that we will fell either for the use of their wood or so that they aren't a danger to lives and property when they get too old.   So, we wander and stare into the woods, and ponder what an area will look like in 15-20-30 years and how we want to shape it.

In some places, it means Bob has some brush clearing to do and/or mature trees to fell before we can plant our wee oaks.  But Sunday and yesterday, we got 11 of the suckers into the ground.  And by "we" I actually mean all of us this time.



Me with a pickax.  Stop laughing.   

The Boy, The Girl and my mother water the transplants.

Bob, The Girl and my father dig another hole. 
 Some of the 1930s cabins (with renovations) can be seen in the background.

The Hubs tucks the sapling in and reads it a bedtime story.

If they all survive, the oaks will add a nice bit of hardwood to the property.  And we'll be able to stand under them and say we knew them "when."

I love the way The Husband loves this property and is planning (and planting) for its future.


* Canadian Translation:   camp = cottage


Anonymous said...

What a history...and what a future You all make me smile, a deep down smile!

lighting table lamps said...

What a blast! Besides having a great grasp of perspective, what a great…grasp of perspective…such artists have to pour so much heart into something so ephemeral.