The Country Druid Strikes Again

April 20th, 2010

The Country Doctor promised me that he would not plant anymore trees this year.

I don’t know why he made this promise.  I don’t care if he plants more trees.  I think he is just using a promise to me to try and control his inner druid.

So this is the Country Doctor not planting anymore trees.

And this is the Country Doctor not planting anyMORE trees.

And yes… still not planting ANYMORE  trees.

His inner druid is not easily defeated.

I asked the country doctor if there is some kind of drug… or maybe a therapy… or maybe some cutting edge research being done that could help him with his uh… tree planting problem.

But he ignored me.

And walked away…

And didn’t plant even more trees.


Last year he planted over a hundred trees on our eight acre lot. Almost all of them were seedlings – teensy trees just one or two feet tall.  He gets them from the Kansas Forestry Department.  Yes, Kansas has a Forestry department.  Yes, that is kind of funny.  No, Kansas doesn’t have any forests.  We have plains, lots and lots of plains, and wheat and flint hills with tall grasses and a few scraggly trees struggling to survive down by the dried up creek beds.

When I was a kid, growing up in Western Kansas, the occasional relative would visit from strange and exotic locales like Colorado or Arkansas and the first thing they would say after disembarking from their cars was always, “Where are all the trees?”

As a child, I was mystified by the frequency of this remark.

I was aghast at their blindness!  

Could they not see the crooked oak at the side of the house.

The battered maple in the neighbors front yard.

The trio of evergreens way down the block.

The wind beaten cherry tree shining with defiance in the center of our backyard.

“What do you mean where are the trees!?!” I would exclaim.

“There’s a tree!”

“A there’s a tree!”

“And way down the street by the school there’s ANOTHER tree!” I would furiously point these trees out, directing my obviously stupid relatives to look at the dazzling array of six or even SEVEN trees within the twenty miles of unobstructed view you could plainly see from our front stoop.

Then we went to the Ozarks for a family vacation.

And I came to understand what ‘trees’ meant.

I don’t know if the absence of trees from my husband’s own wind swept western Kansas childhood is what fuels his desire to plant as many trees as he possibly can or if his tree compulsion is just a chance to escape the house and the tyranny of his wife’s demands.  But I don’t mind the compulsive tree planting.  I like trees too.  As long as I am not the one planting them!


Last year he planted twenty five red buds, twenty five lacebark elms, twenty five burr oaks, and twenty five saw tooth oaks.  He also planted a few larger trees.

Some Prairie Fire crab apples down by the pond…

A gorgeous molten lava crab apple in the front yard…

And a small orchard of two pears, two apples, a cherry and a peach tree.

This year he has planted twenty five Schumer oaks, twenty five sycamores and four exotic evergreens he ordered from ForestFarm.

Three of the four exotic evergreens are ‘weeping’ trees.

A weeping Alaska cedar.

A weeping Serbian spruce.

And a weeping Siberian Fir.

“Why are you planting all these weeping trees?”  I asked the country druid (I mean country doctor!)

“Because they are beautiful trees!”  he said,  ”they are just gorgeous!”

Then he showed me some photos of these ‘beautiful’ weeping trees.


As often happens to people who spend too much time admiring a specific item over prolonged periods, the more unusual specimens eventually become the most admired.  I fear the day that my front yard is littered with bizarre Dr. Seuss trees that make my husband’s druid heart go pitter pat.

I may have to stage a tree intervention before that happens!


  • I love trees, but then, I grew up in Oregon where I was surrounded by mountains and Douglas firs. If I had a large plot of land, I’d plant a whole forest too. And perhaps an orchard as well.

  • Brian V.:

    I am treeing to understand your concern but tree as I might, I think you are stripping the wrong bark here or er, barking up the wrong tree er something treely bad. In the beginning God tree-ate-d first the light and then trees but the Bible got rewritten by idol-makers and tree-haters. The famous verse that says, Jesus wept, was orginally (and I encourage you to check the scripts) TREES wept, hence the development of so many species of weeping trees. Your resistance to the saintly tree doctor’s efforts display a treely bad attitude and fill me with treepitude regarding this blog… what’s next, an attack on water???? A movement against sunlight? Get thee behind a shovel!

  • GA in GA:

    Trees – we have plenty here.

    Of course, seeing that a shovel used by your CD, not some giant post hole digger attached to a machine, makes me wonder if he is not only a Druid, but an Amish Druid. ;-)

    The ACD here just planted corn. And peppers and tomatoes. Which means I will be in a hot, steamy kitchen in the hottest and most humid months putting up peppers, and tomatoes, and corn. I don’t want to think about it.

  • shel:

    Living in an urban jungle apartment like I do, I am so very jealous of all those trees. Even the odd, slightly scary, Dr. Seuss ones.

    I love the photo of the pink flowers with the blurred barn in the background! The one with your sneaker next to the sapling makes me giggle as well! Nice camera work outta you!.

  • pam:

    The ‘beauty’ in that weeping tree must be it’s Charlie Brownish quality. All I can figure.

  • I have Dr. Seuss weeds (they grow multiple puff balls on one stalk), but no Dr. Seuss trees.

    Would you please send the CD to our house? He can plant as many trees as he wants. I’m in need of about a dozen spruce for a wind break, and as many deciduous as his heart desires. I need a break from all the “fake” trees. (i.e. the bazillion ponderosa pine that look the same no matter the season.)

    Also – your deer must be too fat on corn. I have to make sure my saplings are surrounded by fencing or they’d be gone the day after planting.

  • LucyGolden:

    Ah…the weeping tree. My husband loves them, too. We have a couple. A weeping Alaskan cedar like yours & some other weeping tree I call our Snuffleupagus tree. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s an evergreen also. If the CD wants to see trees, next time you’re in Western Washington, give us a jingle…we’ll show you trees!

  • I LOVE the trees on your prairie! What a wonderful gift he has. Lucky you!

  • Oh My My My… I can relate to this post!! We live on the plains of SE Colorado on the family farm………..and we have over 5000 trees…yes….you read it correctly…..and my husband just finished planting 60 more trees……..and his back hurts…..he has had three back operations…..and is now placing the black plastic around the trees and the drip system……we will be planted in some day.

  • My husband and his family are tree farmers here in Oregon. They grow douglas firs and other pine type trees in the high desert where their farm is. I love trees and I applaud you and your family for bring them to your corner of the world. Your kids will see them grow over the decades and that is an awesome experience. I have learned much from my husband about trees since marrying into this family.

  • Jill:

    It could be worse. My husband used to cut down all my favorite trees and bushes. The rose bush my nana planted…gone! The huge forsythia in the side yard…gone! Anything that flowered…gone! Oh, my husband…gone! I divorced him :o)

  • I’m starting to think that tree planting on the prairie IS an illness. I would dare to say that I have planted over 300 trees since moving to eastern MT 8 years ago. Perhaps 5, maybe 8, are still surviving. The spring tree-planting-on-the-prairie fever is insanity at its finest! Good work, Country Doctor!

  • I love trees until the fall when you have to rake them. I guess though having that much acreage you don’t rake leaves LOL.

  • Mindy:

    I think I would really miss trees if I lived in Kansas. While there is a lot of farmland here in Ohio, there are also spots with a lot of trees. I can’t imagine not being able to hike a trail in a mini-forest.

  • I have no idea if you have ever heard of or red terry pratchett but he is a writer whose books usually take place on Discworld. One of his series with Tiffany Aching (who is to become a witch) is set on the plains where she raises sheep like her ancestors. Eventually in her witchy training she has to go to the mountains and finds it claustrophobic because of all the trees. Oddly your post reminded me of this ^_^

  • We went nuts planting trees when we first bought our place. I’ve always wanted to have one of those houses that made people wonder as they walked by “I wonder what it looks like in that yard behind all the trees?” We’re getting there…

  • Carry:

    Oh, if I had the space I would plant lots of trees! I come from the NW though where trees are in abundance. I think Country Druid also needs a contorted filbert tree ( They are fantastic!

  • Carol:

    I laughed outloud when I saw the shot of the weeping tree – I’d insist on fruit trees myself.

    And I’m from So Cal and now live in No. NV (very very different from Vegas its beautiful here.) And when we lived in New England I got clautrophobic from all the trees. They got in the way of the view!~

  • Sandy in MI:

    Oh dear, the weeping evergreens are a bit unfortunate looking.

    A friend of mine has a strange weeping evergreen in her yard. It looks like a normalish but very skinny evergreen until it gets to the top. The top couple feet have falenl over and point toward the ground. It looks like it was the victim of a tragic evergreen accident (and of course I asked “oh no, what happened to your tree?”), but she assures me that’s what it’s supposed to do.

  • Gayl:

    I totally understand..I love trees, too. We have a small orchard, a few weeping trees, and some pretty unusual ones, too. Have fun CD!

  • The Siberian Fir looks like a character from H.R. Pufnstuf!

  • Martha in Kansas:

    I wonder if you could find some kind of sculpture that resembles a chainsaw to put in your front yard. It would compliment the forest. Maybe just a rusted chainsaw on a pedestal?

    That weeping thing is perfect for halloween.

  • we have cut down over 50 hundred year old pine trees on our .3 acres in the last three years due to the pine beetle infestation in the rocky mountains. We have planted about half that number. The good news is that the aspen are growing like weeds due to all the light.

  • Kay in KCMO:

    Thank you for this, Rechelle! You’ve solved a mystery! There’s a tree across the street from my building that erupts into small pink flowers every spring and now I know what it is – Prairie Fire crab apple! It’s gorgeous and I have an unnecessarily large number of pictures of it, most of them bad.

    If you’d like the Country Druid to curtail the tree planting you might want to bring up the possibility of only planting pre-contact trees. It might keep the Serbian, Alaskan, Dr. Seuss trees to a minimum.

  • Sabazinus:

    Trees are fantastic. I worked in the horticulture field for some 9 or 10 years before becoming a special education teacher. If you’re looking for tree information check out the books by Michael Dirr. His books really brought be into the fold of enjoying trees.

  • Vee:

    Ask the CD if he is interested in helping me plant some trees in my yard. They are the first group of trees to be planted so wish me luck. I love those flowering trees!

  • Kimberly:

    Go Country Druid!!

    I am very jealous since I am a tree-hugger to the extreme. Trees are just gorgeous to me and I think they have a great energy and power to them. I’m not sure where it comes from as ND is much like KS (only colder). But I’m sorry Rechelle, I do have to side with your hubby on this one. :)

  • Sheila:

    Growing up in Goodland, my father used to tell people it took us years to get rid of all the trees so we could have these nice arid plains.

    My job in the summer was dragging the hose around ten acres watering all the trees, and dodging snakes.

    Carry on CDW.

  • When the CD finishes planting trees (although I doubt that’s gonna happen anytime soon) pls send him here! I had a few when I moved in here, and not they’ve all bitten the dust.

    Goodness, Rechelle, ya’ll are gonna have more trees than the whole state of Kansas. :)

  • Flowering, good.
    Weeping, bad.
    Actually, they’re all good as long as they don’t start blocking out that beautiful natural light in your house. I always wonder about the clusters of trees around a homestead in the middle of open fields. Yes, they do provide privacy and shade. But my vote is for views and sunlight.

    Of course, ask me in a couple of years after I’ve lived on the treeless lot!

  • Clay:

    Isn’t there a reason for so few trees in Kansas? Like not enough rain? I suppose the Forestry Dept. would no lead the good doctor astray, but maybe someone should check on the need for installing a watering system?

  • That’s what I was gonna ask, Clay. Yeah….CD can’t be the first person to try to create a forest on a plain. Clearly your flowering crabs are doing well but will all those hundreds of trees really grow to provide shade and change the landscape of Kansas?

  • just a farm girl:

    oh nooooo MY husband has a thing about planting trees! Itty bitty teeny tiny trees. That’s how he rolls. I suggest spending the $$ on one or two LARGE trees instead and he looks at me blandly…”why would we do that?” I think he needs a tree intervention also–or a tree ten step program and I will continue to point that out.

  • Alison:

    That weeping tree is, uh, something else. The flowering trees are beautiful.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    That KS Forestry Service is a cunning mistress. Sends out that little letter and order form each Spring and Fall. I planted a hedgerow of 75 lilacs and others a couple years ago, before our house was even constructed, to someday give us a little privacy from the road. The lilacs are still small, but are blooming this year – yeah! I also planted a windbreak of 75 trees, but it’s not pristine – that’s a alot of weeding!
    So this month I’m planting an orchard and a couple ornamentals, and threw the Forestry Service letter in the recycling bin. I could plant and garden and read all day, but this pesky family of mine thinks they need clean clothes, meals, guitar lessons, 4-H stuff, and a finished house.
    Just don’t get the CD started on poultry. Just as practical and addicting (says the woman with 35 broiler chicks, 8 laying hens, 4 laying chicks, and 3 turkey chicks.)

  • susan:

    I just love Sycamores! They have a distinctive aroma that immediately transports me to the hill country in Texas where they abound. They grow quickly and have a unique bark and I love the large leaves. Some people abhor them…though not sure why.

  • Steph :):

    My landlord has come over to my house and gone crazy planting trees. I think he’s embracing his inner earth mother. I, too, have felt the tug and pull to run down to the Home Despot or maybe even call the forestry people (hi from the Ozarks!) to get some trees, and just go wild surreptitiously planting trees in the area. You don’t think I could get arrested for that, do you? I mean, I wouldn’t be planting in people’s yards, but that mountain behind me is looking a little bald.

    My uncle is a voracious tree planter, too. He is an honest to goodness earth-loving, burly, bearded and flannel-wearing tree hugger. I’ve never seen a guy plant as many trees in a lifetime as him. I know he’s planted upwards of 1,000, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it was closer to 5,000. TREE POWAH!

  • Since I read this post, I went to Fresno (our closest big city) and suddenly I was seeing these weeping cedars EVERYWHERE! I never noticed them before, but now they stand out. Um…thanks, I guess, for heightening my awareness of these trees.

  • Tree Ents rule!!!