Good morning (or not so good, the world is kind of grey these days, isn't it?). If you feel even remotely inclined, you should click on that picture. It's of a Red Shouldered Hawk and it's gorgeous, I promise you.
I don't know if any of you remember my experiment growing trees, but it's been an up and down ride. All of my baby apple trees that I successfully over wintered are tragically dead. I had seperated them into two seperate batches, one exposed to 24/7 wind, sun, and rain, the other batch underneath a patio. The ones continually exposed to the elements ended up dying first, relatively quickly too, with the leaves wilting and dying and all. Upon digging them up, the roots looked badly damaged, but I couldn't tell if they fell victims to rot, fungus, or bugs. I'm not a botanist, but yeah, the roots were basically a mess. The second batch, the ones underneath the patio, a month later fell victim to aphids and rust. The leaves were all chewed up but I kept them around in hopes that they'd pull through, but after rust started to set in, I decided to call it on those ones and toss them out as well. As a result of all this, I've developed a newfound understanding as to why some people are such fans of pesticides and herbacides. Who wants to throw away half a year's worth of work and hopes if it can be avoided?
All isn't lost though. In late spring my neighbor's maple tree started dropping seeds in my yard. I planted three in each pot and pretty much every seed germinated giving me the chance to pick the best looking seedling in each pot to keep. They're all growing strong. Upon discovering that I'm giving maple trees a shot, my neighbor dug up a year old sapling from their garden when they were weeding and gave it to me. The little guy is growing strong, with six pairs of leaves and a nice, young, woody stem.
To make things better, while weeding in my own garden last month I found an oak sapling (remember how I planted all those acorns and the squirrels got them all?) and I told myself that if I was able to pull it out with roots intact, I'd keep it. I succeeded, so I'm keeping it. If that isn't enough, life gave me one more tree this year, when Dala and I were looking at bugs in the backyard I stumbled upon a conifer seedling just beginning to sprout, short enough to avoid the lawnmower but getting big enough that it would fall victim to it in another few weeks. So I pulled that one out and potted it too. I have no idea what it'll grow into, maybe a spruce or a cedar, but I'm hoping I'll find out. That said, something did dig up two of the maple saplings and helped themselves to eating the roots. I wonder if that was the squirrels too.
I read recently though, that growing trees in pots is great for starting trees out, but isn't the best way to grow long lasting trees. The best thing you can do to ensure that is plant the seeds in the ground where you want the trees to grow. It gives the tree the best ability to not only get used to the soil type of its home, but by not growing in a nursery and being exposed to the elements of where it's expected to grow, it's exposed to the weather patterns, whether we're talking dry spells, wet spells, cold snaps, what have you, and its growing process is shaped by that. Apparently you grow a tree in a controlled environment and then put it in a location where weather conditions vary too much, it's gonna have a hard time. Not only that, but a lot of trees, when they're transplanted, suffer shock and damage to their roots affecting their growth potential. So when a tree grown from seed might develop a tap root that goes fifty feet deep, a transplanted tree's taproot might not even reach half that, severely diminishing its access to water and resources. Suffice to say, I not fantasize about owning my own plot of land and growing trees on it straight from seed, just to see what happens.
I won't go into details, but it's not going too great (not that it ever has, really) and I'm still job hunting. If job hunting was hard before though, now it's a new kind of crazy, as I find myself competing with tens of millions of recently unemployed or underemployed Americans. I'm not gonna lie, I feel kind of conflicted about this. On the one hand, I really need a new job with better pay, more hours, a healthier work environment, etc. On the other hand, I have a job right now and I feel like my trying to get any other job is taking an opportunity away from someone else, someone who might be more desperate and more needy for that job than I am. I haven't gotten any interviews yet, in this weird Covid World, but I think any interview I go into I want to find a way to tell my interviewer "Look, if it comes down to me and someone else and everything is equal, if they're out of work I want you to offer them the position." I just have no idea how I'm supposed to bring that subject up without being all awkward about it, but I think it's an important thing to do. Funnily enough, as much as I need this job, some days I find myself praying, hoping I wake up to a phone call saying "You're out of work," if only cause I don't have the guts to quit.
I dunno. Life is surreal right now. It's good being with you guys again. I hope you're all hanging in there. I know I say it a lot, but only because it can never be said enough, I hope you all now how amazing and wonderful you are and if things are hard right now, keep on trucking and know that I'm pulling for you.
Thank you for the kind shares and comments on my first post under this account. Those circle dots and comments are meaningful.