Mr. B and I plant a tree

Van Gogh, Peasant Man and Woman Planting Potatoes

 Mr. B and I have been wanting to plant a tree for a LONG time. Well, it’s more accurate to say that I’ve wanted to plant a tree.   Mr. B has not been pushing as hard since he realized he would be doing a majority of the planting.

Since I’ve implemented other Russian traditions around the home, and have only killed three plants AT MOST,namely this yucca, which went from before to after in a matter of months,

I decided it was time to step up our game.

You can probably surmise that Mr. B was not 100% enthused with spending five to six hours on a Sunday digging a hole for something that might fall over on our house in five years. Not to mention that he is generally a naysayer, a hater of art, an anti-aesthete, so to speak.  Mr. B is a house pessimist.

Where I look at a home problem and think, oh, we can fix this and make it look better and awesome, he looks at something and estimates the amount of hours it will take, the amount of money, and, for him, the fact that nothing will substantially change, because:


For example, he has ridiculed my purchase of the following pillow, despite the fact that it was four dollars-FOUR DOLLARS- by saying that it looks like Kim Jong Un’s wife. He refuses to sit next to her, and he’ll put her upside down if he’s sitting on the couch next to the chair.

Then, there is Count Orloff, who Mr. B refuses to acknowledge. Which is a shame, because look how awesome and creepy he looks perched up there:


Mr. B is a hater.

So my chances were slim with the tree. But, luckily, Fortuna’s wheel spun in my favor, the weather was good, we had some free time, and we went to the greenhouse.

First, the anxiety of picking out a tree.

Neither of us know anything about trees, because we spend 12 hours a day behind a computer screen and the other two arguing about something stupid.

But we don’t want to look like we don’t know about trees, because everyone at the greenhouse is a gardening super-expert and is talking about things like boll weevils and heirloom tomatoes. Straight up You Bet Your Garden crowd. We just waltz in all like, “Uh, excuse us, can you give us a tree?  One of those tall green thingies. But not too tall, so it doesn’t fall onto the house.”

Fortunately, Primex is pretty awesome (and VERY highly recommended if you live in the Philly area) and they have an arborist on site who helps morons pick out trees that are most suitable to their houses based on a tree catalog. Also the arborist sits in a treehouse on the property. I am not making any of this up and it is super-awesome.

Finally, we pick out a tree. Now we have to get it into the car. We have an SUV, but it’s kind of a small SUV, so it was a struggle getting the tree in. It’s $30 shipping extra if you can’t fit the tree in your car, so there was a lot of Jew worrying going on.

Luckily, the guys at Primex are really good and we got home with the tree.  That was the easy part.

The hard part was the manual labor.  Pennsylvania soil is like 50 bajillion percent rocks. Or at least, our backyard is.

Digging is HARD.

So we started digging.  And digging. And digging.  The first half an hour it wasn’t so bad.  It was nice out. Birds were singing.  I was yelling at Mr. B that he was hogging my digging spot and wouldn’t give me room for enough leverage.

Mr. B was talking shit about how small my shovel was. But, the thing about digging a hole is that it makes you HURT. It also makes you think morbid Russian thoughts. Like, you know, death.  But also about the gulags.  Because people did manual labor just like ours in the gulags.

Granted, they were in sub-zero temperatures, not pullover t-shirts from Old Navy, and they were in the middle of Siberia, not suburban Philly, but still. Still.

Finally, we were done, and we got the tree in the ground.

It was actually a pretty huge accomplishment. From the seed of the idea in my brain, to overcoming opposition, to being stressed out and neurotic at Primex, to manual labor, to completion.  As the great Theodor Herzl once said, “If you will it, it is no dream,” and screw Herzl because if I ever have to plant another tree in my life  (like if this one dies, which it looks like it will since I am terrible with trees,) I will maim.





9 thoughts on “Mr. B and I plant a tree

  1. I had to laugh at your “Mrs. Kim Jong Un” pillow. I can see it, though.

    Will you be picking berries from your tree, as the informative link suggests?

  2. lol. I make Bob dig most of the holes (I only dig the holes for the little trees), but it’s never taken him 5 hours. Then there’s the UN-digging of the trees. I made him dig out 4 spirea bushes last week. And 4-5 walnut saplings…he hasn’t started on the maple saplings yet…We did our UN-gardening last weekend. That’s where- in our case- you look at the 3000 types of highly invasive (but gorgeous) vines (and saplings. We have little walnut trees everywhere- DAMN those squirrels!!! squirrels squirrels everywhere and not a drop to drink…) that have been allowed to thrive all summer and rip them out as completely as possible with the knowledge that they will still be just as huge a year from now. I’m pretty sure the lady that lived here before us lived by the philosophy that if everything was invasive, nothing could kill each other…which I have also adopted (alongside a ruthless containment policy of ripping things out without mercy or regret)If you want a trumpet vine, I’d be happy to help you plant it. You’ll love it- Damn thing’s impossible to kill…

    1. Sounds like you guys are pretty awesome with gardening and such. What are your thoughts on growing grass that’s not ugly?

      And trumpet vines, you say?

      1. Our policy is to let anything and everything grow over the summer, then cut down whatever we don’t want to keep in October to use as skakh on the sukkah. Never tried trumpet vines…

  3. The tree is nice but since I know how much you paid for it , let me tell you this : for this kind of money arborist should have climbed out of his treehouse and plant it for you ( and Primex’s owner should have been helping him ).

  4. Serviceberry! Made me immediately think of Marie Viljoen and the amazing things she does with them. But tree care first – water it once a week for the first year and it will be happy. Even in winter, when there’s no snow on the ground and temp’s above freezing, give it a good drink now and then and it will be happy. Okay, now the recipes.

    Amelanchier pie:

    Amelanchier jam:

    and Amelanchier booze/cocktails:
    “At my house several quarts of the berries are now soaking in gin which is slowly turning pink, while another lot is contemplating the Calvados bath that surrounds them. I think bourbon may be a good match, too, for a thoroughly American blend. In a few months, if I can hold out that long, I shall decant them and taste the whisper of marzipan in the liquor, which is released by the tiny seeds inside each berry.”

    1. Oh wow, thank you!

      I was told 2-3 times a week, but with all the rain we’ve been having it’s been closer to 1/time week. It’s already lost most of its leaves though, so I’m just assuming it’s going to die.

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