Life on the plantation

trees.JPG one_year_old.JPGI was just outside making sure all my little trees had enough water in the heat of the day, and I had a nice little surprise. Last year I took some of the seeds that had fallen from the Kentucky Coffee trees on presidents circle and found out how to grow them. Out of the 4 or 5 that came up I only ended up with 1 by the spring of this year. So late this spring I planted 24 more for me (and 12 for my dad, not sure how those are doing). About 20 came up, and as they were planted together in two big terracotta pots, I had to separate them to give them enough room to grow. I’ve really enjoyed taking care of the ones that came up, but I really need to get my garage foundation poured (at the very least) so I can get my gardening stuff out around back. But the little Coffee trees aren’t the only things I’ve got growing in my little bonsai project garden, and that’s where the surprise came in.

One day a couple weeks ago I went out with Sam one afternoon at work and we rescued a couple Russian Olive trees from a field that everyone seems to be using for a dumping ground. Sam had read that olive trees were pretty hardy for transplanting and you could almost cut off a branch and stick it in a bucket and it would grow. We weren’t sure if that appiled to Russian Olives, but we figured we could give it a shot, as they’re pretty much a weed that grows around here.
It was quite the adventure with spiders crawling on arms, and ant infestations and the munching of rats in the garbage. The temperature was about 100 degrees and I’d been thinking that we took them in the heat and they didn’t survive, but today as I went out and inspected the little trees, I noticed a handful of buds coming out of the bark.
The larger bud is coming off at just the right angle for the first branch, but it’s a bit lower than I’d wanted, one of the smaller ones is a bit towards the front of the trunk (as it leans now) but at about the right height for what I’d envisioned. I guess I’ll kind of have to wait and see, but I suppose that’s the exciting part of gardening. (and who ever thought I’d believe gardening is exciting?)

Lucky coon-skin cap eve

nest.JPG So yesterday I went out back to see if the charcoal my brother left behind was still good. I leaned over and lifted the bag open and reached deep inside to grab a chunk of charcoal and had one of those moments where time really slows down. At first I thought, something about that isn’t right. Then I started turning over that gray shape in my mind trying to match it to something familiar. My hands reached a briquette and I thought, “That’s odd, I thought it was chunk and not formed…” My mind finally snapped the gray shape into alignment with what I knew it was just as I saw the imprinted logo in the charcoal. Then for a snap second I started considering what my options were. I dropped the charcoal and jumped about three feet diagonally backwards, being very careful that I didn’t make contact with the bag in my flight. I landed shook my hand vigorously looking at both sides and was a little stunned that I hadn’t been stung. The wasp nest is still there, and I can’t quite decide what to do about it. The wasps (or yellowjackets, or whatever they are) just move slowly over the surface of the nest and don’t seem to fly out much, unless I get near it with the grabber. Then they show me they can fly.