I wasn’t quite ready to move on to The Long Winter yet. How ironic that we will be going through that book in the heat of summer! While reading By the Shores of Silver Lake this week I came across this paragraph:
“I wanted to see trees, ” Carrie explained. “I don’t blame her,” said Ma, “I would like to see some trees again myself. They would rest my weary eyes from all this prairie with not a tree. Not even a bush to be seen in any direction.” “This country’s going to be covered with trees,” Pa said, “Don’t forget that Uncle Sam’s tending to that. There’s a tree claim on every section, and settlers have got to plant ten acres on every tree claim. In four or five years you’ll see trees every way you look.” “I’ll be looking in all directions at once then,” Ma smiled, “There’s nothing more restful than shady groves in the summertime, and they’ll break the wind too.” ~ By the Shores of Silver Lake p.270
Out here on the prairie, to see a tree is few and far between. Further east you start to see trees surrounding a farm and then when you get to Wisconsin you can barely find a piece of ground to rest your eyes on because there are so many trees! The last time we were in Wisconsin I met a little family and I was telling their girls about how we live out on the prairie, they just couldn’t imagine a place without any trees!
Trees are essential no matter where you live. Out here we need them for shade and wind protection. But since trees dont’ naturally grow on the prairie(unless it around a creek) they are difficult to grow and the ones from the big stores are very expensive! Here’s a couple alternatives we’ve found to get some cheaper trees planted.
- You can get 10 trees from the Arbor Day Foundation for signing up for their membership. It only costs $10. The trees you get will be dependent on your hardiness zone. Here in the Black Hills we can get flowing trees, Redbuds, Colorado Blue Spruce, White Pines, Norway Spruces, Eastern Redcedars, White Firs, or Douglas Firs. They will send you the trees when it’s a good time to plant in your area.
- You can plant a tree shelterbelt with the help of the county. Find out more information about this one at your local courthouse. In some counties, they will help you rip up the ground, get you trees at a discounted price, and help you plant. They only do this twice a year, in the spring and in the fall so make sure you contact someone ahead of time if you are interested. You can find more info on shelterbelts HERE.
- You can buy permits to dig up trees in the National Forest. Just head to your local forest service station and tell them you want to buy tree permits. Locally you can purchase 10 permits per year and they are $5 each. You can dig up almost any tree as long as you are careful to get all the roots and fill in the hole that you make. Also the tree must be under 6 feet. This is a great deal for some taller trees. When you get the permits you will get more info on where you can dig, what you can dig, ect.
- If you want to purchase trees from a big box store, find out about the stores refund policy first. Menards will let you bring back any tree that dies of natural causes within a year from your purchase date. This is a good guarantee when you are spending that much money on a tree.
Know of any other cheap places to get trees?
Make sure you check out the entire Living Like Little House series!