top of page

Barking up the right trees at the farmette

It's a sunny day at the farmette - a nice break from the nearly-relentless rain we've been having for a week. While we're saturated, at least we're not flooded - like the poor people who live along the Ottawa or St. John rivers. Or in Gatineau. Yikes. On Wednesday - the one day that we had some sun - I ran out and planted some of the trees that we bought last weekend at the conservation authority. The poplars are mostly ensconced on west side of the house in what I hope will become a nice shady copse. They're far enough away from the cottage, each other and our existing pine to avoid having their roots break through the foundation or get entangled with those of the neighbouring trees. Being a scrupulous planter with a bare minimum of native knowledge, I looked up the appropriate placement on the handy, dandy interweb, and it told me that poplars grow pretty much like weeds - shooting up five or six feet a year and topping out at about 13 to 15 metres.

That's why the wee sticks in the ground that look so lonely right now at seven metres apart will be reaching out their leafy arms and touching each other in 10 years or so. For now, they're so tiny I had to tie little strings on them to prevent an accidental mowing. We'll be sitting in comfy Muskoka chairs and having smart cold drinks under the shade on a hot sunny day in August, 2027. At least that's the intent.

The sumacs are cleverly placed in the pockets of wasted space that Rob can't quite get to with the ride-around John Deere mower. Okay, not so cleverly - we just sort of wandered around the property with the fuzzy-barked sticks until we had a couple of A-HA moments and started digging.

The winning positions were the southeast corner of the garage and just behind our privacy fence near the gigantic mulch hill we got when we took down the big spruce last year.

We don't know exactly which variety we got - but I'm hoping for the ones that get to about three to four metres tall and make a fiery red canopy in the fall. We may also actually harvest the fruit - one of Rob's favourite memories of his parents' house in Bancroft was his mom making apple-sumac jelly - so we might give it a whirl.

Finally, the larches are still sitting in damp topsoil waiting to be planted along fencerow in the back pasture.

These are fascinating trees in a number of ways. They are deciduous conifers that lose their needles in the fall - but not before turning a brilliant golden colour that you can spot from miles away. The larch's other name is tamarack, which the experts think is a corruption of the Algonquin word akemantak, which means 'a kind of supple wood, used for making snowshoes' - which may be handy here in Grey County where there's no shortage of the white stuff.

Now, the sun's well up and the cold temperatures have risen enough to make me contemplate taking shovel in hand and getting out to the back forty to make homes for the final 10 tamaracks that will grace the farmette acreage. Until next week...

bottom of page