Yesterday I planted out our first trees.
There was no pomp and ceremony. Not loudly anyway.
I carted up several loads of sandy soil and dumped them on the growing swale at the top of the slope. I filled up several more and left them by the swale. I gathered the soaked cardboard, the composted pig manure, the 3 dead sea birds gathered from the shoreline this morning and the dead puffer fish and lay them out ready next to the loquats and avocadoes.
Three of those lucky trees got a ceremonial burial. Two with Short-tailed Shearwaters, each already a couple of days deceased and one with a Silver gull. Definitely much deader than the shearwaters and smelling the worse for it.
I did it with as much reverence and conscious thought as I could muster. I was hot, tired and couldn’t even be bothered to try to entice the family up to take part. I piled on the sand from the buckets I had standing by and watered them each. On another swale I planted acacia. It will eventually join with the fruit tree swale to become one long swale stretching the top of the block. I just need a passage through at the moment while I work up there.
As I gathered up some pea hay and a jar of assorted seeds I’ve had waiting for years for such an opportunity, the Littlest Little Fella came outside and offered to help. I was so grateful.
“Yes please. You’ve come just at the fun part.”
We walked up the back and scattered pea straw gently like confetti over the newly planted trees. Then I gave him a handful of seeds to scatter in amongst the pea straw so that hopefully they will grow to bind the soil and keep the trees happy. Making a good show of things before the kikuyu inevitably snakes its way in. The resilient grass will also bind the swale soil and the trees are tall enough and sturdy enough that once they take a hold it will be easy enough to keep the grass managed. It’s a very uninspiring photo that one on the bottom there, but as the trees grow it will look a bit more impressive.
The main thing is, in the meantime, they are at least in the soil and growing.