Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tree Slaughter

"And among these, I hold trees dear. Long in the growing, swift shall they be in the felling, and unless they pay toll with fruit upon the bough little mourned in their passing." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

We cut down three perfectly sound trees on our little property in the last few days. It made me sad, although it is necessary to make room for the fruit trees we have ordered, and which will no doubt be arriving soon by mail. This is in addition to the large black cherry tree felled late last year, along with an old white lilac and a large snowball bush. Who would have suspected that 2/3 of an acre could hold so many trees and still have room for other full grown trees, a house, detached garage, and a very sizable garden?

Cutting the white pine, a blue spruce and a fir of some sort made me feel a little guilty. It reminded me of the quote above, from Tolkien. Yavanna, a queen of the Valar, has created the plants and trees of Arda, Tolkien's mythical world. She foresees, when her husband creates the dwarves, that her creations will be killed to fuel the industry of metalsmiths. To balance the scales she asks that the Ents be created, tree shepherds, half men and half trees, who will speak on behalf of the trees, and protect the forests from wanton destruction.

Yes, I was conscious of killing a living thing yesterday and today. Something gentle and silent that had done me no harm. Still, we can't eat evergreen trees, and our priority this year is to get fruit trees and berries (elder, black raspberry, and blueberry) in place. Oh, yes, and asparagus beds too, just as soon as we can get to them. We're working on getting closer and closer to feeding ourselves from our little residential lot. With only 2/3 of an acre, sadly, there isn't much room for non-edibles.

My penance will be to tend with care the cherry and pear trees we plant in their places.

I'll be back with cheerier news pretty soon. It is, after all, springtime.


Meadowlark said...

You are nicer than I am.
I constantly am plotting to get rid of even more junipers.

Kate said...

But, Meadowlark! Don't you know you need juniper to make gin? I've had a wild boar stew seasoned with juniper berries as well. Mmmm!

Meadowlark said...

LOL.. and that is my absolute favorite liquor!

But we have them all over the place and they SUCK. I do have a brining recipe for a pork roast using my own berries. I want to give it a try. But even if I cut down three, I'll still have something like 9 left on just this tiny 1/3 an acre. UGH.

Ace said...

They had a good life, let them go in peace.

Many Blessings :)

Cowgirl in the City said...

It's not like your strip cutting... you're planting other trees in their place. Don't feel guilty. Although, I do understand the sentiment.

Sally Michelle said...

At first I thought this post would be regarding making maple syrup. We are currently doing that and I sometimes feel bad about tapping the trees.

Anonymous said...

I understand.

In the first house I owned, we had to take down a huge white pine that threatened the safety of the house. The guy we hired to help (the tree was over 100 years old and far too big to take down with the equipment we had) was Mohawk and prayed and thanked the tree before he set to work, which made us feel much better. I've done that when we've had to take trees down since.

Anonymous said...

Oh I know how you feel, but it is a give and take. Perhaps the wood will make good use for someone. The trees you are going to plant will have a useful purpose, to feed your family not just shade them...I think it was a good choice. Just my thoughts from a tree lover and yes a hugger...

Hugs to you and your family.
Happy Spring


Kate said...

Meadowlark, gin's my favorite liquor too. I can't wait for g&t season to start. With that many junipers on so small a parcel, I think you're justified in taking them down. If I'm not mistaken though, juniper is one of the woods used to make the barrels in which traditional balsamic vinegar is successively casked. Maybe something to look into?

Thanks to all for the reassurances and kind words. I know cutting the evergreens will lead us to more self-sufficiency. And in the long run, that will be better for the planet than the continued existence of those three trees.

Joe C. said...

Ents need to harvest, too. You order this little world, and you are kind. You are the ents here ... "tend with care the cherry and pear trees" you grow. Yours is not wanton destruction.

Kate said...

Joe, thank you. I was really touched by your comment. Truly. Thank you.