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  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Trees

Love, appreciation for trees
go full circle

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
Recently, I realized that in my 72 years of existence I have traveled a full circle on the subject of trees. The area south of Perryton where I was raised had no trees. I was not alone as before my time settlers had to burn buffalo chips because there was little firewood. Eastern Kansas is famous for its limestone rock fence posts because there were no trees for posts. Dugouts were the normal prairie housing as there were no trees to saw into lumber for frame homes.

I would imagine every early settler wished for and vowed to plant trees as soon as he could afford the money and time. My parents waited until the rains started after the Dust Bowl and planted a shelter belt north of our home plus other shade trees in our yard. Government employees planted thousands of trees in shelter belts throughout the Great Plains region during the Great Depression. As a result, the plains area now has a lot of trees.

When we bought the ranch here at Alanreed, only two small cottonwood trees were growing in the yard. No brush and few mesquite were in sight in any direction. We planted 100 sizable elm trees dug at a nursery at Shattuck, Okla. They were bare-rooted in the wintertime and set out into a shelter belt and in the yards around the houses.

I hauled water with a truck-mounted water tank. The water was pumped from an earthen dam by a pump driven by a Model A Ford transmission turned backward and powered by a Ferguson tractor. I don't think we lost a single tree planted.

Down through the years following, Mother added more trees including red cedar and fruit trees. The birds brought in hackberry seed and mesquite slowly began to appear as small bushes. Historians say the mesquite beans were brought by the trail herds coming up from South Texas in the past. They deposited the beans along with adequate fertilizer and Mother Nature took care of the rest. I don't quite believe this as I think the cattle would have emptied out many times along their 300-mile journey from the nearest mesquite at the time. I believe the beans were scattered by deer, coyotes and migrating birds. Whatever, we have a lot of mesquite growing here now.

I have always loved and appreciated trees of any species. I like their appearance and the shade along with protection from the wind and other weather elements. The only time I dislike trees is after an ice or wind storm when it's time to prune and pick up broken limbs and twigs.

Today, our once-bare ranch headquarters is almost totally hidden by trees. We have great shade helping keep the summer temperatures down and the cold north winds at bay. I have come full circle from planting trees annually to spending a lot of time trimming and spraying mesquite brush growing out on the range. It is a hot, hard and expensive job.

My father loved trees but often quoted his "eleventh" commandment: "There shall be no limbs growing low enough to knock off thy hat."

Delbert Trew

"It's All Trew" Column
- June 13, 2006
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

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