Sunday, 3 March 2013

Heart of Oak, Heart of Flint

I'm getting a lot of complaints about my plan to chop down the Big Oak.

The Big Oak was planted in my grandad's time. I've known it all my life. I remember the time my great-uncle Sesil drove his Wolseley straight into it, convinced it was an evil giant from Yardley Gobion. So it's not like I don't have any kind of fondness for the tree. Over a century, it's provided shade, shelter for animals and a kind of picturesque backdrop for the chickens. Generations of birds and squirrels have been born among its boughs.

But in all the years it's been there, not once has it produced any mistletoe. What good is an oak if it doesn't do what it's meant to? So it's coming out.

I'll be honest, I've not done much to help it. I suppose I could have pushed mistletoe berries into the cracks in its bark, to encourage it. But I guess that, on the whole, I thought it might be better if the tree managed to attract the appropriate berry-carrying birds to do the job itself.

So it's a lazy, good-for-nothing tree. Next time you see it, it will be the "traditional log cabin, built from local materials " in the Beaker brochure. And I'm replacing it with some apple trees. At least they are good at producing mistletoe.


  1. And he answering said unto him , "Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear fruit well, and if not then after that cut it down."

  2. I've been stuffing mistletoe berries into my apple tree for years. Hasn't worked.


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