I have mentioned that the longleaf pine I transplanted in the grass-stage was growing into the bottlebrush stage, but that earlier post might have included at least a little wishful thinking at the time. Now, though, it’s pretty clear that it really is moving towards the bottlebrush stage. The clump of needles is pushing upward, slowly but steadily, and the little trunk is finally visible. I had also mentioned that one side of the little tree was showing some dead needles, which I blamed on Zeke using it for a rest stop. I think that’s what caused it, but I think he just hurried along a process that was going to take place sooner or later. The longleaf will shed its needles as it grows upward. There is now a little mat of dead needles beneath the tree, a miniature version of the thick layer typical of longleaf pine stands. This development is very gratifying to me.
Here you can see the lengthening trunk along with the dying needles (Zeke’s work), and the beginning of a mat of dead needles.
A second development is encouraging in a way, but kind of disappointing as well. I have mentioned how foxes used to visit our driveway to eat food that Leah puts out for the outside cats. The foxes disappeared when some road work was taking place near where I think their den was, and not long after that one was shot by a neighbor who mistook it for a coyote. We didn’t see fox signs for a long time, but in the last couple of months we have been finding what looked like fox poop in the driveway. We were also finding cat food trays licked clean. Then a few nights ago as we returned home we saw a fox run out of the yard. That confirmed our suspicion that at least one fox has returned. It’s not the limping fox; I assume she didn’t make it, but it is almost certainly one of her kits.
I’m glad that at least one fox has survived. On the other hand, I wish it wasn’t eating cat food and pooping in the driveway. But I guess the one comes with the other.
A third recent development involves our thinking about moving. We have reached the conclusion that we need to sell, but we haven’t decided what comes after. I had been talking and doing some minimal research into the northeastern Georgia mountains or some places in the North Carolina mountains. I mentioned our potential plans to a neighbor who happens to be a real estate broker, and he suggested that we look at some property just down the road from us. I tried to walk it a few days ago, looking for a reasonable building site. I found at least one, but it was almost impossible to determine exactly where it was relative to the lot lines. I was using a GPS unit, but for some reason the location uncertainty was too large for it to be much use. But my initial look was encouraging.
This property has some real advantages for us. It would allow us to stay in familiar territory, which is important for Leah if not for me. We could at least start construction before selling our current house, and it would be very convenient to build a house within walking distance of home. We could probably do pretty much all the site preparation, well, septic system, driveway and such, maybe even footing and foundation prior to needing the proceeds from selling our current house. At that point we could probably live in our travel trailer on site long enough to see the new house completed.
I plan to walk the property some more, probably with long string as well as a GPS, to see just what building would involve. If it looks good, we’ll probably make an offer. The biggest problem is that the asking price is far more than we want to spend, given what we intend our move to accomplish. If we can’t reach an agreement, we’ll be back to looking again.