Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: conservation

Local Wildlife Ate All The Wild Plums

Texas Wild Plums

The wild plums here are on the farm were almost ready. So the other day I grabbed a bucket, walked over to the plum patch, and the trees were empty. They had gone from hundreds of wild plums to one in just a couple of days. Chances are the local wildlife feasted on the plums.

How do I know it was the local wildlife? There were no plums on the ground. When the plums ripen they fall off the tree. Since there were no plums on the ground, this means something ate them.

There is a wild plum crop here on the farm that has been left to grow for the past decade. Some of the trees are close to eight feet tall and are nice sized.

Wild plum production can be hit and miss. Some years the trees do very well, while other years they produce almost nothing. The plum production may have something to do with the time spent below freezing, but I am not sure. The winter of 2017 – 2018 was very harsh here in Southeast Texas, and the plum corp in 2018 was wonderful.

Losing Love For The Land

Dumping trash in rural areas

There was once a time when our ancestors roamed and followed the migrating herds. Our very survival depended on what the land produced. Migrating herds ate the grass, and we ate the animals. Plants grew roots and berries, and we are the roots and berries.

Somewhere around 10,000 years go something changed. Hunter gatherers were slowly replaced by farmers. No longer did our ancestors depend on migrating herds, as we raised our on herds. No longer did we have to forage for roots and berries because we raised our own.

Then came cities, money… and eventually the industrial revolution. Somewhere along that timeline we no longer looked at the land as something to be loved and cared for. It was a resource to be exploited and harvested.

Planting Loblolly and Longleaf seeds

When settlers moved into the southern portion of the United States they were greeted by vast forest of Longleaf and Loblolly pine trees. These were majestic trees reaching heights of over 100 feet tall.

Human greed knows no ends. Vast tracts of virgin timber were cut down with no regard to conservation or the effects upon wildlife. By the time the 1930s arrived the Southeast Texas wild Turkey and Whitetail Deer were pretty much extinct. Because their populations had been decimated, turkey and deer had to be reintroduced to regions of Southeast Texas.

The Red-cockaded woodpecker which nest exclusively in Longleaf pine trees was almost made extinct by deforestation. The woodpecker covers less than 1% of its original territory.

What lessons did we learn from deforestation and habitat destruction? Not much. Timber companies still cut down old growth oak trees to make way for pine plantations. Thousands of acres are clear cut and replanted in fast growing hybrid pine trees. Old growth forest are gone forever, or are they?

One of my projects here on the farm is to restore a few acres for old growth oak and pine trees.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-4NBmJRb7M

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Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018