Who Left This Tree Laying Here?

April 21st, 2021

Dear Readers,

On a rainy, rather dismal and slightly chilly day in early April, fifty little sprouts found a new home on my parents’ property. 

Colorado Blue Spruces and Norway Spruces pricked and prodded the fingertips of those who set them upright in the soil. 

Colorado Blue Spruce

Norway Spruce

How many times can you say you really saw the tippy top of a tree?

Northern White Cedars, absolutely delectable to wandering deer, were placed in dirt and behind bars for their own good.

Northern White Cedar

The shrubbery of American Hazelnut and Pink Lady Winterberry dug their roots amongst trees, in the hope of aiding a variety of wildlife.

A shrub. I don’t remember which..and neither does my mother. Hence only one photo. You can pretend this is a Hazelnut or a Winterberry~ whichever suits your fancy!

Of the fifty trees and shrubs my lovely mother bought from our county’s Conservation District, a few may have been inadvertently left strewn about the forest floor…we had many pairs of happy hands helping us plant that day. One pair of hands, in particular, was so ecstatically determined, that they resolved to carry random sprouts about in their arms…not gently, mind you. At least, not ‘gentle’ in the sense that they recognized they were holding something fragile. Perhaps more ‘gentle’ in the recognition that they held something important, and in a 6-year old enthusiasm, it was something fun and grand to be a part of. 

We did not take any photos of the process of planting~ we were having too much fun planting! Well, and attempting to finish before sunset.

But, if you were to have arrived on my parents’ property at just the right moment…

“Can I have a scoop of poop dirt?”

“Where was this tree supposed to go?”

“Wanna smell what skunk weed smells like?”

“Why am I holding this?”

“I don’t know if that is a tree or a shrub…”

“This one looks dead already.”

“Where are you going?”

“Please don’t poke your eye out..”

“I don’t know if it is a good idea if he holds the hammer…”

“I need a shovel…” “I’ve got one!” “That’s a stick…but ok.”


“Let’s put these wild onions in our dinner tonight!”

“Can I pick this flower?”

“How many trees do we have left??”

“This soil is way too shaley…let’s just shove its roots in and pretend that everything is fine. 

“Smell it.”

“I swear I normally look nicer than this.”

“Who left this tree laying here?”

Wanna smell what skunk weed smells like?

All in all, it was a good day! It ended with dirty hands and hungry bellies, which we filled with still-crunchy brussel sprouts, way more-than-al dente baked mac n’ cheese, and (the only really edible thing..) buffalo chicken dip. We didn’t eat until 9:30. So, despite the lack of ‘yum’ factor in the food, it was mostly gone by the end of the night. Except for the brussel sprouts. They remained.

We did not even have to water our newly planted trees or shrubs! It stormed that night. Annndddd the day after. Which did result in some flooded sprouts. But, that should be ok. Right?

Blue Spruce in need of rescuing!

A rescued, muddy, happy Blue Spruce

Welp, Happy Earth Day everyone!!

Shelby Aldrich

P.S. My mother not only has the patience to plant 50 trees and shrubs…and pick up the ones left dispersed amongst leaves by little hands… she also has the creativity to depict nature in its various states of incongruity~ its vulnerability and its strength, its adaptability and its obstinance…if you can’t live in the middle of the forest, but want to feel like you do...buy her artwork 😉 


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© 2020 Sustaining Tree

© 2020 Sustaining Tree