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Posts Tagged ‘fields and woods’

One of my favorite fall scents is the clean, somewhat citrus scent of the Osage Orange.   I’m also quite fond of their appearance and whenever I have any available, I place them around my home in large bowls and cluster them in groups with pumpkins and gourds.

I’m forced to import the large, eerie green globes from Nebraska, on fall trips to the Midwest to visit my family.  On one memorable occasion, my sister and I climbed on top of the roof of a minivan and tried jumping high enough to pick the fruits from a mature tree.  It was not an entirely successful maneuver, as the tree was  huge and we were taking turns juggling her infant son at the same time.

The following are some of the things I’ve learned in my 20 year quest to bring Osage Oranges to Connecticut.

1. It is much easier to pick the fruits up off the ground than it is to pick them off of the tree. 🙂

2. Even if you spend enough to mail them by Priority Mail, Osage Oranges will grow moldy when shut up in a box and shipped from the Midwest to the East Coast.

3. Osage Oranges are very dense and heavy.  An important fact to remember when stuffing as many as possible into your carry on luggage!

4. When you order Osage Orange trees from a nursery, the only ones you can buy are the size of a #2 pencil.

5. Osage Orange trees also have thorns!!!

6. Be really, really careful when zipping past an Osage Orange tree while riding on a lawn tractor!!!  (reread point #5)

7.  When waiting for your Osage Oranges to be really ripe, prior to harvesting the seeds, beware of fruit flies.

8.  Tossing ripe Osage Oranges onto the ground in likely looking locations and waiting for nature to take it’s course, does not result in an Osage forest…

Originally Osage Orange trees were found in the Red River valley in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas, also the home of the Osage tribe (and the source of one of the many common names for this tree).  Coincidentally this is also the area where my family lived for several generations.

Before the invention of barbed wire, many thousands of miles of hedges were created  in the plains states, by planting young Osage trees closely together.  After barbed wire made hedge fences outmoded, the wood from the Osage trees was used for fence posts.  The wood will last for decades in the ground without rotting or suffering from insect damage. Bow makers have long prized the wood for crafting superior weapons.  Osage trees also make effective windbreaks.  And last, but not least, my personal favorite is that the sawdust from these trees can be used to dye fabrics!

Part of a row of Osage trees.

I currently have a rather long row of Osage trees planted parallel to one of my property lines.    Some of the trees have been  in the ground for about fifteen years, and the rest are a bit younger (due to several re-plantings to replace trees that died during the winters or wound up being deer snacks).  I’ve read that the only trees you can purchase, are the thorned variety.  I’ve also read that Osage trees come in male and female and that both have thorns, while only the females bear fruit.  Apparently it is impossible to tell the sex of the trees until they reach the fruiting age of ten.

THORNS!

So far all I’ve got are thorns.  In fact I have enough thorns to ring Sleeping Beauty’s castle with an impenetrable hedge of thorns!

The inside of an Osage Orange, look closely to see the seeds.

This year, I’ve decided to try growing some Osage trees from seed to add to my thorn garden.  I’ve harvested the seeds and planted them in pots, now we’ll just have to wait and see.  I’ve also got a back up stash of seeds, just in case worse comes to worse.

Osage seeds.

I know you’ll be happy to hear that Osage Oranges aren’t my only tree obsession.  I also have a long running love affair with quince trees, but that is a story for another time…

A bowl of ripe quince.

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Snowy Day

Snow Day or snowy day?  On Tuesday we received a late night visit from Jack Frost.  He stayed to play until Wednesday morning and by the time he left we had another eighteen inches of fresh snow. 

Our personal winter wonderland with a clean white blanket of icy flakes from 2-1/2 to 4 feet deep!

These are the sights that met my eyes, when I peered through my windows upon waking.

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Ringing out the old year and ringing in the new with images of the  holiday season.

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A last peek at the splendor of Autumn before the Christmas season arrives tomorrow with the first day of December.

This is the back of our tack barn.

Trees along the brook.

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