“How can you accidentally plant 325 more trees?”
This was the question that was posed to me the other day. I guess the correct answer is that I did not accidentally plant but I did accidentally get 325 more seedlings this year.
I was so elated to be done with the planting that I posted on 3/21 about the completion. The special bags we carry the seedlings to protect the roots while we did the holes had all been stowed away for the year. The straight shovels that we use to dig the holes had been cleaned and propped in their alcove. I was done. Another year in the books.
The accidental trees came to us by way of Clean Water Services. This company does an exceptional job planting riparian zones around the area. They order truckloads of seedlings each year and conscript an army of planters to get the seedlings into the ground in the environmentally sensitive areas. This is a monumental overtaking.
This year with the decidedly stubborn, lingering winter, the seedlings could not be pulled from the nursery bed at the planned time. The week to 10 day delay put pressure on the planters to get everything planted before nature caused the seedlings to come out of dormancy.
The planters worked as hard as they could, but there was still nearly 7500 trees that they did not have the manpower to get into the earth. The local, private timberland owners were notified that help was needed and many families signed up to take some of the trees off their hands and out of their coolers. We, no actually it was me, signed up to take 100 trees and get them planted.
I felt good about our farm helping out with this community effort. I thought to myself that 100 extra trees would be no great problem, a day of planting at the most. I even planned to have my right-hand-helper worker that day, making easy work of the trees.
It was when the Small Woodland meeting was held at the North Plains Fire Station that things took an unexpected turn. Clean Water Services thanked the woodland owners for scheduling to pick up some of the multitude of trees that they were overstocked with, and begged us to order more. So I ordered more. I thought to myself, 200 trees is not that big of a deal, I have a helper. It would just take 2 days instead of 1.
The next morning, I got an email thanking me for accepting 200 fir trees and that they did have some cedar trees available. Well, Western Red Cedar are a little hard to come by, and the elk had nibbled and uprooted many that I had already planted. So I zipped a note back that I could take a few cedar also. My order was up to 225 trees, it was going to be a long 2 days of planting.
I went to the temporary cooler that housed the seedlings. Oregon Roses had a cooler empty at this slow time of the year for them and was an good spot to load and unload trees. When I drove over to pick up the seedlings, a couple of people from Clean Water Services was ready to load my order into the pickup. Casually one of them said as he was hoisting the trees into the rig, “we still had some trees that were not spoken for, so we padded all the orders”. He then thanked me for helping get these all planted.