While planting Korean nut pines I began to think about the long term perspective our project requires. These trees might be productive in ten years. By then we’ll know if we should invest in more trees or mechanical shelling hardware. We also planted paw-paw, hardy almonds, peaches, apricots, persimmons, and more plums. Since things are getting hotter every year the almonds, peaches and apricots are an experiment we think will pay off.
Here is how I’ve thought about the pine nut miniature forest succession. The nut pines are easily sunburned when they are young so I’ve limbed up two Doug Firs in a pasture to give some sun access just inside the drip line. Hopefully this will serve like an eave on a passive solar house letting sun in on winter days and shading when the sun is higher in the sky during summer. I can always add shade cloth if I didn’t get it right.
After planting the little guy I topped with compost then cardboard to suppress the grass.
In ten years three of these guys will be big enough to take over the spot. I left a clear spot at the back of the firs to let me drop them without damaging their young neighbors. We will always need lumber so the big firs will have nursed a new generation and will exist in a structure probably protecting animals.
Yet… Three years ago we planted a peach.
And last fall I planted daffodils when L wasn’t looking.
…And today the sun came up, just like we expected it to.
Statistically speaking I have maybe 22 years left so I should have enough time left to see some of these experiments mature.
Long term thinking is as long as your perspective lets you imagine. Some things we do today will be around for a hundred or thousand years, long after our names are forgotten. Some will disappear tomorrow. I’m ok with both outcomes, I like trying.