This will just be another photo post. We wanted to show everyone the beauty we were able to capture in the past few weeks. This year has been just great for leaf color.
Here are some pictures we took while walking around on the new land. We realized that we didn’t actually have good pictures of a lot of the places we like, so with that in mind, we set out to get some!
One place we love to go in the early days of Autumn is Tupelo Gum Pond. Tupelo Gum Pond is a large, water-holding sinkhole which acts as a permanent water source for a stand of unique and genetically isolated Water Tupelo (nyssa aquatica) trees. Studies have shown that the pond is thousands of years old and that the tupelos have been there almost as long. No one really knows how the trees got there as they are about 100 miles from their natural habitat, which is the Mississippi River lowlands. This stand of tupelos has been there long enough to become a genetically distinct population.
We went there expecting a nice drive down to a pristine area of tall trees with their swollen trunks protruding from brackish water. What we found was something else entirely. The first problem was the road. Someone had taken a front-loader or bulldozer of some kind and carved huge holes out of the road, placing the displaced dirt after each hole, making sort of a motocross ramp every 50 feet or so. Not only that but there were logs and root-wads purposely pushed into the road. Below are pictures of obstructions in the road. Luckily, we were able to go around these to get to the pond. When we got there we saw the second problem: It seemed that all of the bark on almost all of the trees had been stripped off somehow. I don’t know what may have happened, but if anyone happens to read this and has some idea what it may have been, please do tell. I’m very concerned that these trees will die from this girdling effect and this natural treasure will be lost for the 50 years it will take for trees of this size to grow again. The stripped bark on the large trees looks almost the same as the bark on the small beaver-eaten one pictured below.
Now that the growing season is in full swing and the blackberries at the borders of fields have already lost their flowers, you may notice that some of those thorn bushes have some flowers left, and they don’t look like regular blackberry flowers either. This is because they’re not. What you’re seeing is either a multiflora rose (yuck) or, if the flowers are pink or tinted pink a bit, a Pasture Rose (Rosa Carolina).
This plant has gorgeous pink blooms, and a long flowering period. If you find one in your pasture consider transplanting it to a garden or flowerbed instead of mowing it down. These make excellent decorative plants, and since they are a native plant, they are very hardy in our climate. Not only do they offer beautiful flowers, but those flowers form edible rose hips which are high in vitamin C.
This plant is sometimes confused with Rosa Arkansana, which has curved thorns where the Pasture Rose’s thorns are straight.
While we were out walking around our new place, we saw a familiar sight: Trillium pusillum var. Ozarkanum or the Ozark Wake Robin. Last year we found a patch of these rare flowers on a neighbor’s land while doing some seedling planting. When we reported it to the Missouri Department of Conservation, they told us that they tracked the locations of these and others of what they call “species of concern.” How neat! During our walk, we also found some Mayapples and the place I used to get Yellow Morels when I was a kid. Regrettably, we did not get pictures of those.
Last week we agreed to buy 80 acres of mostly forested land. Since the deal fell through with the other guy, we’ve not really been looking very actively. However, a deal came up that we couldn’t turn down, and we took it. I haven’t gotten any pictures of the land yet, but I will be doing so first chance I get (which is in two weeks.)
It’s exciting to finally have someplace where we can not only do what we love, but also what we want.
About 2 weeks ago, we finished the planting of all 300 or so of this year’s seedling orders. We planted them in an area of my parents’ land that needed some biodiversity. In about 100 years, someone will come along a large patch of Black Walnut and Butternut trees in the hollow and make a fortune from them.
One of our favorites this year was the Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea). Not only are mature Serviceberry trees beautiful in the spring and a great source for delicious berries in the summer, but they are also incredibly easy to plant as they have very small root systems.
One thing they always have available that we’ve never purchased before is Witch Hazel. I think next year we’ll try some of that, too.
We have received half of our order of MDC seedlings. These trees were supposed to go to part of the land we were scheduled to buy, but since that deal fell through, we will be planting them on the first piece of land we started on. We have big plans for our Serviceberry patch!
Unfortunately, after all the time we spent preparing to purchase the land we’ve been on about for the past few months, the seller decided to sell to someone else. What happened was that another buyer came along and offered to buy 600 acres of land next to the 80 we had originally intended to buy, but only if he could also buy what the seller had promised to sell to us. Apparently, money beats giving your word. So, after a bit more time saving for a larger down payment, we’ll be back out there looking for other patches of forest to rescue.
On the positive side of things, it looks like the new buyer has no interest in logging or clearing, so the forest we fought so hard to spare will remain pristine and beautiful.