We are saying goodbye to some faithful old friends here on the County Line.
On Wednesday and Thursday, four trees were cut down and hauled away. They had stood through ice storms, hail and high winds. They had weathered bitter, zero-degree winters and hot, 100-degree summer days. But they couldn't win the fight against pine wilt and old age.
We have lived here for almost 25 years. Our house was built in the 1940s, but this farmstead was originally settled in the 1880s. We presume the trees were planted soon after the farmstead was established.
So for 125-plus years, the pines have given shade and offered protection from the Kansas winds for the County Line. It's sad to see them go.
They fought the good fight.
(The pine trees to the left of this photo never greened up this spring.)
The early settlers to Kansas didn't find many trees as they traveled across the prairie. As settlers filtered into the area, they tried to make it like the homes they'd left in Ohio, Iowa, Missouri and other forested areas to the east. The pioneers brought trees on covered wagons and gently planted, watered and cared for them. The government rewarded settlers willing to plant and care for trees with free land known as "timber claims."
We think the trees here on the County Line were planted on the original Johnson homestead claim, not a timber claim.
(This mammoth tree probably towered 60 feet into the air. But I began to worry that it might crash into the house.)
When I returned from my walk, I could smell the hint of pine in the air as the tree crew ground up the stumps. But I knew the aroma would soon be gone, just like the sturdy pines.
Goodbye old friends ...