Sunday, September 27, 2015
Sunday Reading - It Only Took 20 Years or More
Some of you long term readers may remember that the Small-Hold has actually been in my family since long before I was born. It used to be just a small part of a much larger operation that included farms all over the county. As it stood back then it was really just peanuts and mostly just used for my mother's old nags.
It did have the nicest old barn of all the places and percentage-wise the most usable land. Overall it was small of course but there were very few trees on the place so just about the entire 25 acres was productive. At least until they let those damned nags out in one of the pastures anyway.
The only problem area was an erosion ditch down the middle of the pasture from a washed out pond. The only thing this property didn't have though was trees.
Now I realize this is more than likely the only place situated South of Mexico, Missouri that can make that claim because trees are literally everywhere and most people are pulling their hair out working on getting rid of them so they can do something with their land around here.
I have always kinda had my eye on this little spec of land though and as it turned out Mrs. PP and I were finally able to buy it outright but way before that I did start making some improvements. One of them was planting trees and the other was making sure that the few trees that were here stayed and continue to grow.
Way back at the far end of the pasture there was a little knot of trees growing. There were two huge old oaks in the pasture itself and maybe five or six Boxelder trees up around the barn and house with some Honey Locust and Mulberry scattered here and there. Wildlife back then consisted of more rabbits than you could count, about three or four large covey of Bobwhites, a Fox den and Deer passing through to the Corn fields. I am not counting the coons, possum or coyotes either.
Over the years as I planted and nursed some trees I also saw an occasional Turkey, a couple of prairie chickens and a lot of hawks and eagles.
One thing I never saw despite finally getting harvests of Walnuts, Acorns and Hickory Nuts were Squirrels however. Not once in the 50 some odd years I been coming to this piece of land did I ever see a squirrel. Ever.
Now you have to remember we are surrounded by open land of at least a quarter mile in every direction. Corn or Soybean fields on three sides and a huge cow pasture on the fourth. Beyond the small woodlot I been growing which is about 200 yards from the house there is the pasture that goes at least another 200 yards before hitting any sizable amount of trees. Mostly Oaks and Sycamore along a creek bed.
Along with all the domesticated plant and wildlife I try and incorporate wild species into my designs as much as possible. I have let Mulberries grow everywhere I can, Wild Plum as well, and improved the wildlife cover too. Then about 2 years ago I saw a Squirrel down in the back of the pasture. This Spring I saw the first signs of permanent Squirrel feeding when Hickory Nut remains began appearing in front of my bee hives.
Squirrels I have found LOVE to clean up the dead bees from the front of the hives as well.
Then just a couple days ago while mowing I actually saw a Squirrel in our yard messing around with some fallen Walnuts. Later that day as I was sitting on the porch I saw the little bugger making his way down the fence line towards the back of the pasture too.
Most people consider tree rats a complete nuisance. Mrs. PP included as she lived across from a park in town for years and they were constantly raiding her plants. Yet I have been trying to get a population of them going here for most of my adult life because well, in a survival situation the local wildlife can come in handy and I am not that fond of Rabbit anyway.
So far it is only one squirrel and I haven't seen him since the other day but who knows.
At least it shows my endeavors are working at least a little bit. Maybe in another 10 years I might actually have enough trees to last the entire Winter here. And Squirrels too!!!!
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!!!