A Hidden Patch Of Wild Strawberries

We’ve been staying above overnight freezes, which is just fine by me because I still have outside work to get done before the cold arrives. I did have be at office a little earlier than normal, and only because I had a small gift to give someone before she had to be to work. When I visited with her yesterday, she questioned me several times about the time we were to meet, and both times I said, “I’ll be there.” I must have that “look” of someone who doesn’t rise early.

After she left, I headed back to my darkened and sacred corner to get my contemplative prayer session completed, and for some reason, I found it a bit harder to get settled down, and likely because my regimen had been altered with my morning guest. Not to worry because I did managed to find my way and walked out all the more spiritually and mentally uplifted.

With not having anything going on in real estate, I busied myself with hopefully getting the last mowing done for the season. When it’s this late in the season and still having to mow, it’s not particularly enjoyable, but at least I was able to get it all finished to where I could safely say it was my last, and safely place my mower in storage until next Spring.

With enough free time, I began pulling and digging out volunteer trees which decided they were going to start growing in places they don’t belong. The two species that seem to be the most invasive in North Iowa, are the European Buckthorns and Mulberries, and without a doubt, the Mulberries are the worst to get pulled and/or dug out. Have you every really looked at their root system? Quite remarkable. When knowing how many volunteer Mulberry trees we have growing around our City, I wish people would come to know that Mulberry wood is far better than apple when it comes to smoking meats or grilling. I read some time ago about it being better than Hickory or Apple, so when I was out grilling bratwursts at a small get together, I used some dried Mulberry, and believe me, the taste was given high marks by those who ate them. With that said, perhaps if all the grillers and smokers we have in North Iowa, will discover their benefits and start cutting. What a great way to get those invasive trees under control.

When I was young and we had poultry running around, there was the biggest Mulberry tree near their building, and every time that tree would have those staining berries on them, the chickens would be going hog-wild over them, but of course the birds would also eat them, and whenever they’d fly over our home, they’d drop their load which would leave stains on the sidewalls and roof. After the poultry was gone for good, that tree’s usefulness was no longer needed and went under the axe. In spite of those trees being able to grow quickly, their wood is hard and heavy. Of course the root system they have would explain their rapid growth.

After I finished with the removal of volunteers, I headed indoors and began washing my windows before winter arrives. Of course they were dirty, and in spite of washing them twice a year, they looked like they’d not been cleaned in years. If there’s one thing I find annoying to the bone, is having to look out a dirty window. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get them all finished, but I did make a good dent in what needs to be done. Since I have thermal windows, each and every Fall, I remove their clip-in screens which I place in storage until Spring arrives. It’s amazing how much more light filters into my home with those screens removed. I really don’t know if it’s done by many others, and if there isn’t, then they must not realize the difference in the amount of light that filters in. I was probably spoiled from an early age because we had regular storms and screens that were switched out as the seasons changed. I’m sure many in our younger generation haven’t a clue regarding screens and storm windows which were built to be inserted on the outside of single-paned double-hung windows. For the most part, those are all part of past our history.

On the positive side of washing my windows, I now know how to get rid of that lingering stain from black walnuts, and that’s having one’s hands in ammonia water for an extended period. Every day that would pass, I was wondering when those stains on my fingers would wear off until today’s pre-washing of my windows. Yes, I wash them twice. Once with ammonia water to get the worst off, and then back over them with Windex. No, I’m not that fussy, but just trying to make it go a little faster, which it certainly does.

I’d say my day was quite enjoyable, and especially considering the amount of quiet time I was able to spend outdoors. The above photo is of a hidden patch of wild strawberries which are growing under an evergreen tree. I never realized until today how vibrant red their leaves turn in the Fall.

While out in my garden, I went ahead and counted the number of oak trees I have to transplant, and to my surprise, there are 43 of them which I’m gonna get permanently transplanted before the ground freezes. With having so many, I’ll have to figure out where I’m going to locate them. I’m thinking about planting two of them in the green area behind my office. Since their growth has been stunted, I’m sure they’ll be growing quickly next year. I’ve always appreciated the strength and beauty of oak trees, and even more happy to say I’m promoting the planting of native trees in North Iowa. After getting a good look at them, I’d say I have more Red Oak than Burr Oak in that patch.

It looks like warmer weather is ahead, so be sure to get out and enjoy as much of it as you can before it leaves us for good.

Tonight’s One-liner is: Hermits have no peer pressure.

Joe Chodur

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