Monday, April 13, 2009

Aldernative Rock

Two of the trees in the horse paddock are large, sturdy alders. They grow like weeds around here, easily gaining 6-10 feet per year. The ones in the paddock are probably 30+ years old, but they might not last much longer. Tonka and Raven think they make excellent scratching posts and tasty snacks -- both love to chew on the trunks and the roots. My scientific mind is curious to discover how long they can withstand this equine abuse, but my emotional mind hopes they will adapt and survive.

Alders are neither pretty nor ugly in my opinion. They tend to have many branching limbs, which is something I like in a tree, but they have scruffy little leaves. And right now they are dropping their damnable catkins everywhere. Today I spent a couple of hours raking two full wheelbarrows of them out of the paddock, trying my best to take as little of the rock substrate as possible. The males (right) are thin enough to slip through a manure fork if they are not sitting perpendicular to the tines, and the females (left) are almost impossible to get unless they are still attached to their forked stems. Normally when I pick a forkful of hay off the crusher dust I bounce it around a few times to shake out the stones, but such treatment of alder catkins just leaves you with an empty fork. It is a good lesson in "good enough" for a perfectionist like me.


Funder said...

Fortunately (or unfortunately, for your substrate!) they'll probably survive. Apparently they're used for coppicing, so they're pretty scrappy trees.

allhorsestuff said...

HAHA! Never before have I thought of a tree that way ~ DP...male/female!
I DO love my "easyride" stirrups! I have been thinking about them for years and with my hbbits of hours in the saddle my feet get very hot and sore from my tiny irons.
They have a little leeway, as you saw, but that did not change the riding performance in anyway. They did have 1 inch ones...but I thought it may hold the stirrups in strange positions if they were tighter...these seem great to me!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I didn't realize that alders have male and female flowers on the same tree. Very clever. Do the horses try to eat the flowers, too.
Those two words, good enough, are often hard to swallow.