Bedding Down for the Winter


Bedding Down for the Winter

Snowflakes are falling for the first time this winter. The Findlay wood stove pumps out warmth into the morning air. I can see blue jays just outside the kitchen window, now tribal in their pursuit of food.

Christian and I have managed to put the arboretum to bed, including my experimental Stogge Pear trees that just started to bear this year. Bedding down for the winter in my Zone 3/4 garden means that all of the weeds get cleared away from the trunks of the trees. A fine wire mesh is folded around the base of the tree as a mouse guard. To protect against deer, a roll of pig wire is attached to two poles. Then there is always the burning question of firewood. We are nearly there.

The sugar plum fairy landed something very sweet in my lap two days ago: a fertile burr of Chestnut, or castanea dentata. Yes, that is the American Chestnut, and it is a resistant strain of this important tree. The burr filled my two hands cupped together; it looked like an English hedgehog sitting there. Instead of the usual 1-3 nuts, it contained six which were all planted yesterday. I placed the empty burr on top of the soil as a mulch. The nuts are being watered through it to gain an antibiotic advantage, ensuring healthy seedlings this coming spring.

Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees had its American premiere this past November in New York, sponsored by the Ireland Funds in support of the Irish Native Woodland Trust. I can confidently say that it was a smash success: we had excess people outside the doors and inside, and the reception following the screening was packed with prominent figures from not only New York, but all over the world.

I was told by an attendee after the event that “the audience was captivated, and responded intensely to the language you speak. It is what we all long to understand, I believe.” This comment I will treasure – it will be put in my brain bank to give me drive and keep me going.

I want to thank everybody who helped make the film such a success this year. We broke so many records in audience numbers. My dream is becoming a reality and reality will soon become the future for all of us. The grassroots movement of the world can save our native forests and create a playground for our children’s children. And, along the way, we can all lend a hand in stopping the catastrophe of climate change for once and for all.

So, for 2018, roll up your sleeves and sharpen your shovels. The acorns are waiting to build you a forest.

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