Larry: (to passerby) Good morning.
We learned our lesson that the detriment was much worse than it was what we tried to cure. So we didn’t—now here we still have some pines that managed to get enough light that they survived.
Aaron: They’re hanging in there yet, but, you know—
Larry: It won’t be long.
Aaron: It won’t be long. I mean, you look at a tulip tree like this one, I mean, its beginning to over-top those.
Larry: Yeah, and when that covers, it won’t be long. That one came out pretty good. A lot of the tulips lost their tops when that, not hurricane, what do you call it?
Larry: Tornado, when a tornado came through down here it took the tops out of the tulip poplar—they’re so soft. But that one came through in pretty good shape.
Aaron: Yeah, that one did. Well, and that guy who just came walking out here with his dog, you know, he’s one of these folks who, he doesn’t realize.
Larry: What it took?
Aaron: Who made these woods for him.
Larry: Just so they can enjoy it, that’s the important thing.
Larry: Should we walk down this way?
Aaron: Yeah, let’s walk down this way a little bit.
Larry: This one okay with you, Dave?
Aaron: You need some more spray?
David: No, I’m good.
Aaron: No, okay.
Taking Kids Into The Forest To Play
Well, and Larry, just so you know, one of the things that I’m working on with Parkside Elementary, with second graders for this fall—well this entire school year—is to spend time actually in this particular part of the woods, hopefully as much as like three hours. They’ll do some hiking. They’ll do some kind of sitting and observing, and then, what I’m especially excited about, is providing them some time to play out here in the woods.
And I’m so excited about this. The teachers are excited about this. I’ve talked to the Wellingtons about using this portion. You can see right here, I think it’s probably some of the Wellington kids who’ve done this.
Larry: Yeah, yeah, good.
Aaron: Right, very good. And so many kids, unlike you, don’t have that experience of just, you know, playing out in the woods.
Larry: That’s right.
Aaron: It’s going to be so interesting to observe these kids. They’re not going to know what to do.
Larry: Oh, this is fantastic. That’s great.
Aaron: That’s what we are working on for this year, and hopefully that’s something we can grow. Get them out in the woods and let them figure it out.
Larry: That’s great. You know, we used to call this area down here, especially on the other side, Mendy’s woods. A fellow by the name of Mendenhall used to teach shop in the old junior high school. And in the spring—no in the fall—we had to collect so many leaves and identify them. And he would bring us down in his truck or car and turn us loose. And we were supposed to be at a certain spot at a certain time, and then he would take us back to the school, and we all would collect our leaves and paste them in a scrapbook.
Aaron: Identify them.
Larry: So we always called it Mendy’s woods.
End of Taking Kids Into The Woods To Play
Larry: I’ve got my orientation a little better than when you and I were out the other day. I really got turned around quick.
Aaron: Well, I’m not surprised. It has changed.
Larry: You can see the cottonwoods peaking out up through there.
Aaron: You’re right, you’re right.
Larry: That low ground always had huge cottonwoods growing in it.
Aaron: Okay. Yeah, right, it is decidedly lower out that way from where we are isn’t it?
Larry: Mhmm, yeah. And when we planted, we followed that low spot. It runs on a curve, starts at the river, comes out, kind of comes back. Actually, the final end of it is out in the front field out there, by the old house—
Aaron: Oh yeah.
Larry: That’s sort of where it ended.
Aaron: Adam Scharf who owns the homestead there, he has dug a pond there now. I don’t know whether you’ve ever noticed that.
Larry: I think I had seen that there was a pond there. A few years back I drove down through there. (pause) Well, it should hold water. They used to have a spring house out there, where they kept their butter and everything.
Aaron: Oh, did they?
Larry: Yeah, it was on the road that came down—about halfway down between the bridge and the house—they had a little building built there. I think they’d taken some field tiles out, and the water ran through that, and that’s where they kept their milk and stuff to cool it.
Aaron: Was that still there when you bought the property?
Larry: No, the foundation was there, but not the building anymore.
Aaron: Not the building anymore. (pause) Look at this tulip tree here, Larry. Look at that.
Larry: Oh gosh, wow.
Aaron: Isn’t that something?
Larry: Yeah, I guess so. What would you guess that—how tall would you guess that is?
Aaron: Oh goodness. At least sixty, it’s got to pushing seventy, maybe more. I mean you can’t even really see the top of it. That is, what a log buyer looks at.
Larry: I suppose eventually those cottonwood trees will die and then these will take over.
Aaron: That’s right. Right, I think your right.
Larry: Somewhere in here I planted a burr oak tree for my dad—I think I might have shared with you that time.
Larry: And I thought I would come back here and I would find that burr oak and see how’s it doing—boy that was wishful thinking.
Aaron: (Laughs) Hopefully it’s still in there.
Larry: Yeah. Oh my. Hey, I noticed—and I supposed the park department did this—planted, is it uh, crabapple, along the canal bank.
Aaron: There are some crabapple, yeah, that were, and I think some serviceberry maybe. Those were planted—actually those were planted like fourteen years ago—shortly before I started. The hospital began to donate trees to the city, and those were some of the first trees that were planted with that donation.That was just before I started.
Larry: Well they’re pretty. It looks nice. I’m kinda surprised because they always are trying to keep trees off the levy because the roots would cause leaks.
Aaron: Yeah, right, so we didn’t plant any more since then.
Larry: Grandfather those in.
Aaron: That’s right, that’s right.
Larry: Now, if I was going to turn my body so that I was looking at the corner of the house, would I be about right here?
Aaron: The house that you built?
Aaron: Um, it would actually be back more this way.
Larry: More this way, okay. Alright.
Aaron: The Hoke house would be kind of out this way more.
Larry: Okay. Up that way, okay.
Aaron: Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I mean the pines are hanging in here, but it’s not going to be for much longer I don’t think.
Larry: Well, I can remember very clearly at one stage where there was hardly any ground growth at all. It was all needles from the pine trees.
Aaron: Yeah, right, okay.
Larry: And you’d look through here and it was like a shelf, the pine trees had leaves above so high, and you could see through the whole thing. And now, they’ve opened up.
Aaron: It’s really opened up, hasn’t it?
Larry: Boy, the woodpeckers have found the dead pines.
Aaron: That’s right. Right, and I mean, you can see where they are petering out. I mean, this one, (knocks on tree) that one’s done right there, as is the next one. But that’s just as it was designed.
Larry: There’s a wild cherry.
Aaron: Yeah, right. That’s right. You didn’t plant that.
Larry: I might have planted a few wild cherries, but they got in by mistake. I never planted a thousand wild cherries or anything like that. Maybe twenty-five at the most or something. I think they came twenty-five in a bundle or something like that.
Aaron: Well, it’s totally possible that it just volunteered.