Joe's sister, Bethany, used to have a small red oak tree in her backyard. The main trunk died and they were looking to get rid of the small seedling that had sprouted from the root system about the time we were moving to Bismarck from the Fargo area. They dug up the seedling, put it in a pot and Joe's dad hauled it to Bismarck in the moving truck with a bunch of our other odds and ends.
After arriving in Bismarck, the leaves on the tree promptly shriveled up and died. The seemingly dead tree sat in our driveway for several weeks, getting occasional water from Farmer Joe. Just as we'd given up hope and were sure that the tree was really dead, new leaves sprouted. We were so overcome with surprise and joy that we decided to plant the tree before the leaves could fall off again.
So one Sunday, Joe and I selected a spot in the yard and he began digging.
This reminds me...have I ever mentioned that the weekend we bought the above pictured shovel Joe dug and six foot by one foot hole in our backyard in Maryland? He dug the hole, while he was SUPPOSED to be raking millions of leaves from the yard with his lovely, grumbling, pregnant wife. After digging the hole he filled it with leaves and then covered the leaves back up with dirt. He said he felt he just needed to use that shiny new shovel for something.
Yes. He's a strange, strange man. It's part of why I like him. He's unpredictable, but most people would never guess it. For the record, though, I'd like him to be a bit more predictable when millions of leaves are on the line in the backyard and I myself have got a rake in my hands.
Every good hole digger, even one with lots of experience, and tree planter needs a crew.
Joey provided safety patrol,
Theia and Xandra supervised
and Aliyah watered.
She did, in fact, water everything but the tree,
Despite all the help the tree got planted. We were so pleased with the results that I forgot to take a picture of the finished result. This is a real shame since the following day someone happening by our struggling tree stripped the tree of every tiny green leaf. It was pretty demoralizing.
The good news is that a few weeks later the leaves came back again. To our surprise they have also stayed intact and are now changing color and falling off the tree for a third time, in a very natural, not dead, not plucked off sort of way. The bad news is we looked a little strange after the first day, as though we planted two twigs in our yard with nary a leaf to be found on or around the tree. I can only imagine what the neighbors who walk by our house everyday must have thought.
I suppose it's just one of the many reasons the neighbors have to be concerned about the East Coasters next door. That image isn't helped by the fact that our potty training son frequently runs out of the house with just his underwear on and sometimes no underwear on at all, sits on his bike and rides around the sidewalk chasing other children before we even realize he's left the house. I suppose that's one good thing about a long North Dakota winter. It puts the kabosh on stripping: leaves and toddlers alike. Let's just hope it doesn't put the kabosh on our tiny, little tree.