Saturday, January 22, 2011


When I said to MST we should put up a snow fence. He just laughed and said, "where"? It was not the best of statements and the answer was even worse.

Snow fence, as we all know, are put up to change the direction of the snow. Most of them are used in the country to keep a lot of the snow out of, let's say, a barnyard, or lawn, for example.

When homesteading was happening people signed up to plant trees to act as a snow belt around their farms. It also helped keep the soil on this flat land from blowing, to , let's say, California. Well, that is absurd, but you get my point.

Now it is interesting to drive around the prairie areas and see long rows of trees, planted eons ago. Look, if you will at little clusters of evergreens. Once upon a time, there was a house there.

In Kansas, Osage Orange trees were used almost like a fence line to keep cattle in. If you haven't seen an Osage Orange tree, they are the ones with the green seed pods called hedge apples and lots of barbs. It is said that before barb wire fences, the tree was planted close together and pruned back to make a thicket tall enough so a horse couldn't jump it, and strong enough that a bull couldn't go through it.

Hedge apples, considered the fruit of the tree are used to keep the bugs out of a house. In Kansas, it wasn't unusual to go visit someone and see hedge apples in each corner of the room. Here in Fargo, they are sold in markets in the fall and considered inedible.

That brings me to another question, if squirrels can eat them, why can't we? The seeds are okay to eat but one must dig the seed out of the surrounding membranes and eat only the seed. And yes, they are not cattle fodder. WHY? Because I cow doesn't chew like we do and the entire fruit, about the size of a soft ball, chokes them.

There will be no rickety snow fence at the Johnson house, to be taken down in the spring, rolled up and put behind the garage. There will be no Osage Orange tree thicket, either, our cow might croak.



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