NaturePlanet Earth

Our Little Piece of Earth

Here's our tiny panther during one of his outside adventures, though honestly he doesn't get as many as he'd like. During certain months, the problem is that we have poison ivy everywhere and during any months... we have roaming country dogs. This one time, he was so scared he bolted 20ft up a tree. I've got a foto of that. He fails at climbing down... so I brought out a ladder, trimmed some branches, and spent over an hour rescuing him. In more recent months, I've seen a roaming cat... Squeaks is unlikely to win a fight. Eventually we'll figure out how to cover the front porch so that, at the very least, we could get some fresh air together.

This is Roger the hedge-apple tree, though in winter months he lacks the vibrance of spring and looks sleepy. I don't think you can see the fruit scattered on the ground around him; 2022 was a very fruitful year {dropped 20+ apples}. Zeffy and I learned a lot about hedge-apples, though there is still much to know. According to research, no one really eats the dropped fruits {toxic for humans}, they'll just tear them apart to spread the seeds. Indeed, if we've got 5 hedge-apple trees, we've got at least 20. I'm not convinced no one eats the fruit and a few weeks ago I saw a squirrel carrying on in his/her mouth while traveling through a very hedge-apple free zone. Many times I have seen remains of hedge-apples and I theorize that if whoever was only digging around for seeds, less of the fruit would be absent from the crime scene.

This tree has been named Cassilda and she's long lived next to Roger; in fact, these fotos are taken with my back roughly to the opposite tree. Cassilda is also a hedge-apple tree but unlike Roger, she didn't have a fruitful year... nor does she ever. This is because, instead of producing fruits, Cassilda makes flowers. Some tree species are like this; they'll create flowers or fruit or pods, but usually just the one. I haven't been able to discover if they're native or not; they're also called 'osage-orange' trees and the Midwest has a surprising number of plants and trees brought over from Asia. We've been slowly landscaping 'our little piece of Earth' for many years because of time/financial limitations. Part of the reason for giving certain trees names is to help create 'zones' for planting and further work. The various plants we'll get for Cassilda's area will need to be happy in shade because there's very limited sunlight here. 

We have a poison ivy problem that's taking serious magic to combat, for example, and there's also an erosion issue because of how this area is sloped. This is Franklin, another hedge-apple tree; he did not have the fruitful year Roger did, but this could be due to the fact that this area gets much less sunlight because of other trees. Or maybe the fruit creation has something to do with getting pruned properly. Franklin has never been fully pruned because he's got so many branches I can't reach.

Also, this area is very sloped and therefore we have serious ambitions planting but also creating 'runoff walls' to protect against further erosion. I have data collected, from our research over the years, and we have a list of plants to obtain. In some cases we want to do our part to return more native plants to this area and in other cases we simply wish to repel mosquitos {and other mean bugs} and feed local wildlife.

This is another image from the same area, Franklin is on the right edge. I've personally done a lot of work in this area the past several months, now that all the biting bugs are dead and the poison ivy is dormant. Once we can get Franklin's pruning taken care of {we've got our eye on a tree-trimmer attachment for our battery operated weedhacker} I'd like to set up this space as a little forest-sanctuary. If you've ever been around hedge-apple trees when they're dropping fruit, you already know that you'd better avoid getting hit. Falling hedge-apples can do serious damage, which means the little structure I'd like to put here eventually is going to require a very sturdy structure and roof.

Nearby, I've begun construction of another stone walk-path. This is the path to Franklin's zone, which I had to carve through waist-high brush {some of which I haven't been able to identify} and the various roots that creep across the ground. All my rocks come from nearby projects because there are many rocks out here in certain places. Once we get ahold of a glass kiln we have plans to make little houses to put in various places for local birds and critters. We do love our local wildlife friends, but so many of the little houses we've build can't endure our weird weather. This is annoying on various levels because I put a lot of work into this one thing I built... and now it's garbage we'll have to figure out what to do with.