Putting the Sycamore in Sycamore Hill

Staking out the location for our allee of trees

This past weekend was amazing, wasn't it? The gloom on Saturday morning turned to sunshine and warmth and by Sunday night it felt like summer. We'll ignore the forecast of possible snow mixed in with rain for this Saturday.

That tom-foolery by Mother Nature convinced me that this past weekend was the time to plant trees. Again asserting the honorable role the sycamore tree should have in the Hoosier state, and wanting our place to live up to its name, I began the hunt for sycamore trees last fall by contacting the state tree nursery. I would have to buy 100 trees. They were out of sycamores. My dad had a catalog of native trees in which I could order 25. The cost was double for 1/4 of the trees-but given how I would insist on planting all 100, the 25 seemed like a better deal. I also ordered 10 (they sent 11) Douglas Fir. These would be the official family Christmas Trees for 2021-2032. And finally I ordered 5 apple trees last fall that I spaded into a temporary location until spring when I could establish the "orchard".

Two weekends ago my son and I, in anticipation of the tree order arriving any day, measured out the locations for the sycamore trees and the orchard. To provide an air of "romanticism and mystic" to the farm, and in keeping with the tradition of farm estates of the 1800s, we lined our roadway property line from the creek to the drive, and then lined each side of the drive all the way up the hill. We finally established a 25' spacing after evaluating 20' and 30'. The orchard was easier to plan at 15' with alternating rows.

The orchard arrived in a box last fall

Then this past weekend I planted. I had some assistance from my daughter for about 3 trees; after that she was finished. I reminded her she wanted the apple trees but that didn't matter. Then I carried buckets of water to nearly the corners of the property. Then I sprayed "deer away" which smells like rancid meat, on the trees hoping to thwart the herd of 30+ deer who are regular visitors to Sycamore Hill. I figure 10-15 years out we'll begin to get a feel for how these little whips will mature. I'll be almost 60. Good grief.


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