Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Valentine Tree: A Love Story
We asked how that could be, because the pond kept going down (way too fast for evaporation) even after the water level had receded far from the roots. They all assured us the tree was the cause, and it had to go.
I was dismayed that such a beautiful tree would be destroyed after having survived, despite winds that twisted its limbs, to eventually thrive in this spot.
Then Fred offered a compromise. For "x" amount, he could remove the tree and repair the dam. For "x+" amount, he could build a new dam around the place where the tree was and join in to the long side of the existing dam. The new section of dam would be far too solid for the tree's roots to ever penetrate it and cause a problem. At the same time he would be extending the pond farther back as he dug up dirt for the dam, plus he would dredge silt out of the original pond and make it deeper. So we would end up with a larger, deeper pond AND save the tree.
Herb preferred the cheaper alternative, but he knew I loved that old tree, so he told Fred to go ahead with Plan B. "Happy Valentine's Day!" he told me. And that is how the Valentine Tree got its name. So we made plans to seed the area, put a picnic table under the boughs of the tree, and have picnics beside the pond, watching the grandkids paddle in it.
That was Mistake Number 6 on the list of Mistakes We've Made! We never saw Fred again. The old part of the pond was never dredged nor packed down.
There was a LOT of water compared to what we used to have, and the beautiful Valentine Tree continued to thrive greenly on the bank of the pond.
The other two both said this pond will NEVER hold water. The chert has too much rock and not enough clay, and we can tell by picking up a wet handful that you will never have a pond here. (If Fred knew as much as he said he did about ponds, he knew that. That would explain why he won't take my calls any more.)
One of the experts said the old hand-dug well at the front of the Lower Pasture is a better hope for water than this pond. Maybe some day . . .
Meanwhile, the Valentine Tree's spot may not be the crown jewel of our farm. But to me, it's still a symbol of Love. Of Herb's love for me, of our love for God's Creation--even a tree, and of our love for this farm He has loaned us in this corner of His Creation.