I just went out to plant the Jonathon apple tree that we bought last Friday. We got one that needed a good home. It has many little apples on its branches, but it’s a little bigger than it should be allowed to get, living in a pot. Some of the leaves are starting to curl and dry out. I got a bunch of manure, and some liquid root feeder. We also got a Bartlett pear tree, with visions of fall plenty, and dried gold.

I had completely forgotten that “call before you dig” thing, and Derek mentioned it while we were carting our tree home, with the help of Derek’s friend from work who owns a pick-up. So when we got home, I called. It turns out you’re supposed to call at least 2 days before you plan to dig. I called on Friday night, so the two days started on Monday. That meant we had to wait until Tuesday night, when the utilities people would have had sufficient time to come out and mark where the gas, power, and water lines are. I worried for our little apple tree. I put it in a cardboard box that was bigger than the pot, and I fed it some compost and water.

So this morning, I planned on getting my poor tree in the ground. I decided to put it in a little groove in the back yard that marks where the previous owners had their garden. It was about 10 feet from the garage, and hence, from the gas line. It was far enough from my present gardens that it wouldn’t shade them, at least not for 15 years or so. It left enough space on the other side to plant the pear tree at least ten feet away, in the same groove.

I dug. I made sure the hole was twice as big as the root ball. My back is going to break. I put some compost in the hole, watered it with root feeder, put in the tree, and alternated the original soil with more compost, until I’d used about 60 pounds. When I finally had my tree looking happy, straight, and well-fed, I paused to admire my handiwork. I took in the tiny branches protruding from the trunk, the many little apples ready to swell, the top of the tree, reaching high up towards the… phone line. I managed to plant the tree almost directly under the phone line, with about 4 feet to spare.

I’m completely deflated. I can’t dig another hole. I’m gonna go watch a movie and mope for a while.