Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Colonel G's Trees

Those of you in the meager readership of posts on this blog (numbered little more than the amount of letters in the phrase "meager readership") may remember the Colonel mentioning that in the first half century of his ride around ole' Sol he moved around the globe with more frantic frequency than a honey bee visiting a field of clover blooms.

If your memory is as faulty as the Colonel's, allow him to remind you that the Colonel established a new permanent residence every 18 months, on average, for fifty-one years, before finally coming to rest on 107 acres (plus or minus an acre) here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere ten years ago.

Perhaps the greatest joy the Colonel has discovered over the last decade, now that he has stopped flitting from flowered duty station to flowered duty station, is watching a tree grow.

With 107 acres (plus or minus an acre) around him, the Colonel has literally thousands of trees to watch push skyward.

His daily security patrols of his vast holdings are filled with long observation halts, particularly in leafy late spring, as the Colonel enjoys ample opportunity to observe arboreal vertical change.

The Colonel, when not gaping in open-mouthed wonder like a 'Bama football fan on his first visit to the Grove, also takes time on his patrols to catalog the diversity of his personal forest.

His property, known affectionately as Egeebeegee, (and not-so affectionately recognized as the headquarters and training camp of the Army of Northern Mississippi), is home to a wide variety of pines and hardwoods.  

The pines are the Colonel's money trees.  

The hardwoods are his love.

Oaks -- Red Oaks, White Oaks, Black Oaks, Post Oaks, Blackjacks, Shumards, Water Oaks, Willow Oaks, and uncategorizable (at least in the Colonel's limited taxonomic ability) hybrids -- abound aboard Egeebeegee.  Even as slow-rowing as an oak is, the Colonel has been rooted here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere long enough to observe significant growth; particularly in young trees either transplanted from hidden corners to places of prominence along the long winding drive up to the Big House, or left untouched in the middle of fields during semi-annual bushhogging. 

Along the watercourses ("creeks" to you 'Bama grads) that traverse the property, and around the several ponds, Black Willows, River Birches, and Sycamores predominate.

Huge Beeches, with smooth trunks greater in circumference than the reach of a Marine and his three grandsons, rule over several draws on the property's drainage.

Two monstrous Cypress trees, testimony to the former perennial flooding prior to the Corps of Engineers' god-playing flood control canalizing, stand centuries-long sentinel in one of the fields along the now deeply-eroded banks of the large creek that forms the northern boundary of the Colonel's land.   

That creek, named Lee Creek on the map, used to be a slow-moving, oft-flooding, shallow-banked meander until man's interference.  It is now a steep-walled abomination whose inability to naturally overflow its banks causes it to continually erode its channel deeper and wider, claiming swathes of fields it once nourished with floods.  The Colonel's disdain for the Corps of Engineers knows no bounds.

Pardon the Colonel's rants.  Now back to plants.

A trio of towering Green Ashes anchors the northwest corner of Egeebeegee, opposite the Cypresses at the northeast corner.  Incidental symmetry certainly, but delightful nonetheless.               

Throughout the property Honey Locusts, bristling with three-inch dagger-like thorns, have sprung up.  Former owners of the land waged war on them -- their thorns easily puncture tractor tires -- but, the Colonel is fascinated by them and lets them thrive.

A solitary Southern Catalpa, provider of excellent fish bait, lurks in an overgrown pine thicket.  The Colonel needs to clear the pines out to provide access -- maybe next winter.

A brace of Bois d'Arc trees frame one of the paths along which the Colonel daily dallies, littering the way late each summer with fruit the size of softballs.

Speaking of fruit, scores of Persimmons are extant aboard Egeebeegee.  One stands easily 60 feet tall and is covered each year with pucker-producing green fruit that turn dull red in winter and are relished by the Colonel's critters.   

Sassafras stands are scattered throughout, whose mitten-shaped leaves, when crushed, produce a fragrance that sends the Colonel back to his root beer-loving childhood.

Wild dogwoods and wild plums fleck the spring woods with snow-flurries of white blooms, and break the green monotony that itself as just so recently broken the gray monotony of winter. 

Eastern Red Cedars, some as large as oaks, give their name -- Cedar Top -- to a trail that runs south from the middle of the Colonel's territory upwards along a ridge that climaxes at one of its highest points.   The Colonel's saw mill -- Semper Filet -- has converted dozens of cedars to lumber (and red snot-causing sawdust) that has become shelves and such in the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's closets, trim for his study (the Colonel's Knotty Room), bird houses for the Eastern Bluebird, and other projects as commissioned by the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda.  

One of the Colonel's favorite trees is the Tulip Poplar.  Back in a hard to reach creek bottom, one particular specimen towers over the rest of its forest fellows, and produces seedlings the Colonel collects and transplants in highly visible locations that will benefit from their future fall yellowing.  

Ornamental Crepe Myrtles line the drive up to, and dot the gardens surrounding, the Big House at Egeebeegee.  The Colonel does not whack 'em back, as is the habit of the suburban heathen, but allows them to flourish upwards and outwards as the trees they were meant to be.

There are more trees to tippy tap about, but the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda has run out of patience with the Colonel's blogging chore avoidance.  

To the trees!     

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