Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Old Maple Tree

14 years ago when we saw this old farm for the first time we were greeted as we pulled in the gravel drive by an old maple tree. One of the few trees that actually shaded the house or yard it had stood there for close to a century.  A sentinel on the top of this hill marking the passage of time. Ever present through a century watching the families come and go.

So the first thing we did was plant grandma's Hosta beneath it's branches where it nestled as if it had been there always.

Our family watched the world go by through those branches. The coming and going of the seasons. Winter's storms raged and the snowfall was measured by how far up the trunk the snow came.

It provided shelter for the various animals through the years and entertainment for the kids as they watched the squirrels, birds and even raccoons raise their young in the holes and branches of the old maple.

It provided a shady spot for the kids to congregate and watched over family cookouts and sleeping grandkids in playpens. There were always picnic tables and lawn chairs beneath it's cooling shade.

And then it was no more. The prairie can be a harsh place for trees. Tornadoes and ice storms take their toll. 

Grandmas Hosta began to shrivel and die from the lack of shade. So we dug it up and moved it to a safe and shady location until we can find it a new shady home.

All summer we have chopped and burned on the huge stump left behind. Now we have a two foot deep hole and there are still roots to burn.We are hoping by spring most of the roots will be burned out and we will then start over. A new tree to shade our lives. Not a soft wooded maple but something to stand up to ice and winds. 

I would love suggestions for shade trees. What do you have in your yard that has done well? We are in zone 5A so it has to be cold hardy.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. It is sad to see such a great tree gone. Ah, if only they could talk.

    We have pecan trees surrounding our yard that Mom and Dad planted when they first married. They make wonderful shade in summer but you deal with the sap and the wonderful nuts. During our severe weather, we have had few hangers but the base stays strong.

  2. Can't remember what sort of trees we had in the yard in Nebraska.
    And I've been too long gone from Michigan. I remember pin oaks with their acorns in the yard, but that's all.

    Good luck finding a replacement. I imagine a good nursery can give you suggestions.

  3. I favor the cottonwood, but there are probably a lot of choices out there. So sad to see an old friend go.

  4. Don the old wise one wanabeOctober 12, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    I like tulip poplars and all types of oaks. The poplars grow fast but are a weaker tree and subject to storm damage. I am in zone 5A NW MO. You can't beat a good oak tree, it just takes a long time for them to grow. The MO Dept of Conservation offers small trees for sale to land owners. I think you have to buy a bundle of 25.

  5. If you got that many years out of any tree you are lucky. I would try my luck with another maple, oaks are strong, but take forever to grow. Any fast growing tree is going to be somewhat weak and short lived.


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