"...In the dance of sun and water and sky. In the faces of the people who need us most and of the people we most need. In the smell of breakfast cooking on a charcoal fire. Who knows where we will find Him or whether we will recognize Him if we do? Who knows anything even approaching the truth of who He really was? But my prayer is that we will all of us find Him somewhere, somehow, and that He will give us something of his life to fill our emptiness, something of his light to drive back our dark"
-The Great Dance -Frederick Buechner

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Let me tell you, that word has never made more sense to me or consumed more of my thoughts than this winter.  We live in Alberta. in a house in the middle of a field. with no trees. and boy howdy is it ever windy at times.

The real funny part is that I grew up literally a stones throw away from where our house is and I NEVER remember thinking it was particularly windy.  This is where the whole idea of the shelter belt comes into play.  My parents have a great fortress of trees around their house so even in the craziest winds, their yard is pretty calm

When you are homesteading like the settlers did or in our case what we are doing right now YOU NEED SOME TREES.  The hard part is that not all trees grow well and they are expensive and when you pay for something and it dies it is a real kill joy.

Before we built the house we planted 400 caraganas around the Northwest perimeter of our land.  they started as small sticks and have actually grown alright but because I was crazy pregnant last summer I didn't really weed them and the weeds took over.  Thankfully they're still thriving but this summer if you want to know what I'll be doing everyday, the answer is weeding caraganas

In the very first summer we planted, what started out as a twig turned to this...

Last summer they were looking even bigger and better but so were the weeds, however I am very optimistic about this summer.  If you ever want to feel good about yourself as a tree planter when you really have no clue what you're doing i suggest planting caraganas... those suckers are survivors!

Besides Caraganas we also had the opportunity to plant a whole load of Blue Spruce which we know are not crazy fast in the growing department but give us 15 years and we will have one sheltered house.  In the past week or so to our dismay our Blue Spruce's have been looking a bit brown:( 

I might have had a bit of a major freak out when the trees started to brown but we called our local Blue Grass and they told us to see them pics.  They told us most of the trees would probably be fine.  Of course we weren't expecting them all to survive anyway so the ones that are totally brown are probably toast but we're hoping the ones in the above pics are ok.  Apparently the Chinooks we get (and we've had some CRAZY ones this winter) are really confusing for trees because they think they should come out of their frozen hibernation state and start growing but then it freezes again and they get confused whether its growing time or sleeping time.  We're told the best thing to do is to pack them with snow so that they'll stay frozen until the real springtime hits and then the thawing/refreezing won't cause them to brown so much

But we're amateurs and didn't know all that so hopefully by next summer we will be experts in the tree planting department

This summer we're looking to plant a row of lilacs which grow really well here as well as perhaps some willows or poplars.  We'll see what the ol' budget allows for but I have been frequenting this website to figure out our best line of defence for the winds next winter

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