When I first moved into my place, i fell in love with a burly old acacia tree I discovered hidden behind the ugliest scrap fence you’ve ever seen.
I grew up with a huge acacia in my yard and climbed it in stormy weather, swaying and lashing on high limbs.
At work recently, I mentioned in passing that my parents, who lived an hour and a half north of here, had huckleberry trees growing in their forested acreage, and how my mom would make mixed berry pies with them, and huckleberry sauce to go on ice cream. A colleague said she’d bring me little huckleberry starts from her land. As I contemplated that happy event, I wondered where, in my limited yard, might be a perfect spot for them.
I came up with the patch of ground next to the acacia, but first I had to clear an immense pile of debris from the previous owner. I hauled loads of branches to the yard waste area down the road, then pulled wood scraps and tiles out with gloved hands, and finally raked the remaining wood and tile bits over the old separating wall (one of my favorite things here) into a mound to deal with later.
Tackling the project the next day, I found I had to clip a lot of rusty wire fencing out which was tedious. I thought then, “I’m ready to plant the first huckleberry!” Wrong. As I put shovel to earth, I hit a grating surface. Concrete squares covered the area. Two-inch thick, foot square, and very heavy, I pried out twenty in all and stacked them. Several were gouging into the acacia tree’s base. One is so grown over by the tree that I can’t remove it, which makes me very sad.
But it made me extremely happy to free that patch of earth. Thready worms and frail centipedes went crawling away as I lifted each one.
I dug a hole and put in the first little huckleberry, leaving a bit of moss from Cheryl’s yard on top. As I admired my work, a small bird flitted down and approached the new berry plant, flicking dirt and pecking. No better affirmation. “Hello. You’ve joined our little ecosystem. Welcome. Let me see what yummy things you’ve brought with you.”
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