Friday, May 14, 2010

Saying Goodbye

(This was the tree outside my kitchen window.)

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 first day started out foggy, almost like Mother Nature was crying to say goodbye to some of her faithful minions. It cleared off for a little while but was again overcast and dreary by the time the crew arrived to begin dismantling the trees.

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.

(The rings of time)

Kansas farmsteads today still benefit from the protection provided by majestic old trees.

(This mammoth tree probably towered 60 feet into the air. But I began to worry that it might crash into the house.)

When Jill was just a baby, Randy planted a blue spruce tree in our yard. Thankfully, that tree is thriving. It stood witness to its neighbors' demise yesterday.

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 ...

1 comment:

  1. Kim, I sympathize with this post more than any I have read in a long time. The tornado took out all the old trees here. Our brick streets were canopied with beautiful trees. The shock of no trees still gets to me. I couldn't walk or run here during daylight hours for months. It was too depressing for words. I'm getting used to it, but I still miss them. So sad for your loss of those gentle giants!