Last weekend, we planted our very first tree!
One down, only about twenty million to go…. In our little nursery back home in Auckland 40 plants can look like a lot, but when we took them to the land and started to lay them out they only covered the smallest little corner! It’s a bit daunting when we think about the massive area that we’re eventually going to need to cover. Oh well, every journey begins with the first step… or something. (That sounds reassuring, we’ll go with that.)
For ceremonial reasons, the first tree we planted was a Kauri. We chose a 3-4 year old tree and only planted one as an experiment to see how well the kauri will do in this particular spot where we have plans to plant a lot more. It’s in the area we call the “manuka nursery” where there are lots of natural manuka re-generating already, and the area is fenced off so that stock shouldn’t be able to get in there. The existing manuka should provide a good shelter for the young hardwood trees, at least that’s the plan. Along with the kauri we also planted one puriri, and then about 40 coprosma (robusta and repens) to create some variety in amongst the manuka.
I really enjoy the process of planting a tree – finding the optimal spot, breaking the ground, turning over the soil, there’s something about getting your hands into the dirt that is very fulfilling. And they looked good – the bright glossy green of the coprosma sat really well in amongst the manuka and grasses, they definitely added some variety to the landscape. There’s also a permanence to it – knowing that when you put this tree into the ground it’s going to stay there – and in the case of a kauri at least, that’s where it could stay for many hundreds (if not thousands) of years after we’re gone.
My sister and her boyfriend came up with us this time (we’re getting quite good at recruiting free labour, or at least labour that will work for beer/cups of tea/a meal), and between the four of us it didn’t take very long to get all the trees we had into the ground. After we’d finished with the planting, we ventured back to the cabin for the second job of the day – installing our new solar panel on the roof. When you’re starting from scratch building accommodation on a bare piece of land, you really don’t take anything for granted. Simply having electricity will make such a huge difference to our comfort when we’re staying there, and solar panels are amazing! We think we’ll get everything we need for the cabin out of that one panel. No dishwasher or flat screen TV yet though unfortunately, maybe next year…