When I’m not busy complaining about things online, or using AI to peddle disinformation, I mean fiction, one of my main activities I do during the warmer months when the ground is not frozen is plant a shit ton of trees.

I have a hedgerow that I am developing that is in year 2 of its intensive management by me. Here are photos and text from year 1.

This year I bought in more than a thousand dollars of plants and vines, and honestly it’s hard to tell yet if any of them/how many of them took. But I don’t think about it all in individual terms anymore, let alone in ROI. Because the plant material I use to develop this hedgerow comes from all over place, many different sources. Both the stuff that I buy from all over Canada, and from things that grow nearby on their own (young volunteer trees that appear under Old Fields ecological succession), or things that I bought once upon a time, and which are now bearing fruit or sees or viable shoots which can be cut and re-planted in their own rights.

I am especially trying these days to duplicate the Salix viminalis, basket willow, that I have, because it’s a champion grower all around, has an excellent hedgerow use if you combine it with some coppicing and pollarding which I am experimenting with. Is a killer both for biomass production and attracting biodiversity, plus it produces tons of usable material possible byproducts, like baskets, and cuttings that you can keep propagating ad infinitum. Here are the first two experimental willow baskets that I made:

The one on the right was the first try, using only aged whips cut at the end of last season, and the one on the left was second try, where the black branches are the old ones (soaked for a few days, then mellowed first – they become pliable like stiff leather). You can see in the one on the left the green & orange-brown shoots too (and that they are often very cracked) used from new non-dried cuttings this year. They don’t work as well as aged & revivified (not the right word, exactly) ones, but it is what I had one hand to practice with as a second prototype. Plus they seem to be losing their boldness of color that they had when first cut as they dry out more. I don’t know if the whole thing will just turn black over time, but I guess we will see.

The point is, I guess, I’m doing something similar with my AI lore books as I am with my hedgerow: I am just planting a shit ton of trees constantly, from whatever I can come up with as planting-material. Sometimes I just jam it into the ground, sometimes roughly dug out and slapped in. Often times I find things like fruits and branches and just toss em up on their so they add to the dead hedge effect, and at least feed the critters in the meantime, as the little critters bring the bigger who bring the seeds and grow out and continue the cycle more as they eat and poop and hang out and fly around or crawl under around in there.

Apart from I guess being a parent, I kind of think this small patch of ground where I will have experimented on over years before I go will be ultimately maybe my only actually important legacy in the grand scheme of things. My writing is fine, I guess, my art okay. But the trees I planted, and the ones that took, and all the other life that came to live there alongside it all, I can’t really think of much else that will probably count for more that I’ve done or will have done before my own body is turned into compost one day.

If it all works, if they come to life, or don’t, the truth and the proof will have been in the doing. That I planted and continue to plant a shit ton of trees…