Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Will They?

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IMG_3567eOne of our current spring dramas is whether our pine trees will recover from the stress they have endured from our dry fall that was followed by the most extreme winter we’ve had in 35 years. I’ve not consulted with an arborist yet, but our trees are definitely browning from the bottom up and the inside out. This doesn’t match the descriptions I find of how winter injury or pine wilt symptoms appear. Whatever it is that is causing the problem, it’s not affecting every single pine, but it is widespread throughout our property and not confined to one spot. We are hoping for the best, but I’m inclined to believe the prognosis is not good. The die-back on many of them is over half the tree.

That isn’t our only drama this spring. We are also anxious to learn whether the maple tree we transplanted to the labyrinth last fall survived the obvious shock it endured from its being uprooted and relocated. If we witness signs of life from that tree in the days ahead, my spirit will soar and we will have much cause for celebration.

There is also concern for the number of plants Cyndie worked so hard to get established in the rest of the labyrinth. This winter was hard on everything, so even if the plants survived the onslaught of snow and long periods of extreme cold, they will now face risks from animals that are trying to eat anything and everything available to recover from their own season-long deprivation. I don’t intend to erect a 10-foot-high fence around the garden to keep deer away, but I fear that is about what it would take to dissuade them from bellying up to our conveniently situated buffet down there.

IMG_3584eWe could ask Delilah to patrol the area for us, as she would be thrilled at an invitation to chase deer, but she would likely wreak her own havoc on plants, as she demonstrates amazing reckless disregard for all living things in her excitement to chase and dig.

One last drama we came face to face with yesterday is the question of whether we will be able to continue allowing Delilah to be both an indoor and an outdoor pet. This is the first spring that she has lived with us, so we haven’t previously needed to deal with managing both spring mud and a dog before.

When we step in the door, we can simply remove our muddy boots. I wish it were that simple for her. Yesterday, a day when the temperature was below freezing, but the sunshine was still melting exposed ground, she got legs and belly covered with mud and manure-cicles. When we came inside, Delilah was rubbed down with a towel in a cursory attempt to dry her off. Later, when we had time, she would get bathed to remove the residual grime.

So much for waiting. Soon we were seeing dark spots all over the floor. The mud and manure frozen to her underside, and which toweling did not remove, was now melting at a rapid pace. Everywhere she walked in our house was becoming a bio-hazard site. Poor dog was unceremoniously evicted and sent to her kennel outside do be dealt with later.

If I thought it stood a chance of working, I’d look into mud boots for her. I wonder if she’d let me wrap her torso with stretch-wrap to keep her belly fur dry.









Written by johnwhays

March 23, 2014 at 9:31 am

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