I’m not much of a gardener, but I do love our trees, perennials, and the few flowers I manage to keep from killing each year.
Especially our four-story-tall pin oaks. They’re twins, right next to each other, and they’ve been a source of delight for the whole family forever. One of the enormous branches bore the tire swing all three kids adored throughout their childhoods. Many a fairy house was constructed at the base of the trunks. Their constantly-falling acorns provided endless games of “acorn factory.” Never played acorn factory? The rules are simple. Find a brick or large rock. Gather a sand bucket full of acorns. Smash the acorns open on the play gym. Remove meats. Repeat. Hours of fun!
This year, though, we had quite a scare with one of the oaks.
It’s hard to see in the photo, but until this week every single leaf on the oak nearest the house was dry, shriveled, and brown (in the last few days, some healthy new growth has appeared). Actually I didn’t think too much about it until a friend mentioned that her neighbor had gotten an estimate of $7000 for removing a dead tree of similar size. Panic!
And so, last week, The Boy and I made a visit to our county extension agent. Sponsored by Kansas State University, this agency is a treasure trove of resources for all things growing. It couldn’t have been a more lovely experience. Two oldsters, obviously thrilled to have visitors, looked over the sample branch we brought in. Immediately they pronounced the best news possible. Midge galls. Apparently last fall was a record-setting one for midge flies, which lay their eggs throughout unsuspecting trees. There’s no treatment, and none needed. The tree will recover, they said, with no action on our part. And sure enough, we’re seeing improvement already. Hurray extension agents!
Summer, part two: Farmer’s market season is in full swing. Middle and I go every Saturday morning to greet The Boy at the bread tent (and enjoy the haul of free leftovers at the end of the day). Today I tried a fresh-made strawberry and banana crepe from another vendor.
Happy summer, everyone!