Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trees Have Personalities

A tree is a tree, is a tree.  Yes, but let’s also consider that trees have personalities like so many other living creatures.  And thus they may all be trees, but they are also different from one another.

Take the white pine, the tree that graced the northern regions of Wisconsin before the loggers arrived.  The white pine, with long soft needles, five of them in a cluster, grows tall and makes a majestic statement on a landscape. I have about five acres of them at Roshara, all self-seeded.

The red pine or Norway pine as it is sometimes called, with two long needles in a cluster, is less graceful, but will grow many inches a year on the worst possible soil. I've planted thousands of them on my farm.  They are not as graceful as the white pine but they, too make a statement.

 The jack pine is scraggly with branches that grow this way and that.  It is the toughest of the conifers that grow on my farm-- a survivor of frigid winters and dry hot summers. I have considerable respect for this native tree.

The white oaks that grow in my oak woodlot are tall and strong and powerful to look at it. Their soft gray bark contrasts with the deep furrowed bark of the black oaks.  Even in winter, when their leaves are down, white oaks are a sight to behold offering a dominant presence in my woodlot.

Not to forget the burr oak, sometimes spelled bur oak, in some ways the toughest of the oaks for they will grow two-hundred years and more.  They command respect if nothing more than for their long lives. 

I have a few trees that are a nuisance and have interfering personalities.  They want to take over Roshara and have an attitude that suggests they are more important than their cousins.  Black locust and box elder quickly come to mind.

What fun it is, at least for me, to think about all the different kinds of trees that grow at Roshara and how they manage to live together and mostly get along with each other. 

If we humans could do as well.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Get a acquainted with a tree.  You’ll be surprised what you might learn.

I am working on the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Wisconsin, which will be published as a book by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.  The CCC operated throughout the country from 1933 to 1942, and had a strong presence in Wisconsin.  CCC boys planted trees, helped with soil conservation, improved state and national parks, fought forest fires and much more.

I am looking for photos, letters, diaries, and stories told by and about Wisconsin CCC members—the work they did, what they did in their free time, how they related to the communities in which they worked, and whatever else someone might have.  Many Wisconsin families were involved with the CCC and their story has not been told.

If anyone has such information, please get in touch with me at:

Thursday, January 29, 2015 7:00 p.m. Stoughton Opera House.  A Farm Winter. 

Wednesday, February 4, 6:30 p.m..  Mt. Horeb Library (The Quiet Season and The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

Saturday, February 14, 2:30 p.m.  Garden Expo Madison.  Garden Wisdom

Tuesday, February 24, 7:00 p.m. River Falls Library, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street

Wild Rose, WI 54984

1 comment:

Don R said...


The diseases ravage the majestic trees-the chestnut, the elm, the ash, never the poplar or box elder. It just isn't right.