A Very Special Tree

Not many trees are planted in June, but a special maple was planted on the 28th. All ready there were three Susie Forest trees in Bradley Lake Park – one for each of my grandsons. Sam’s and Tim’s were planted several years ago and in 2013 we decided that Stephen Michael’s tree should be planted with his brothers’.

Now we decided that Becky should have a tree there also. So another RedPointe Maple was planted for her memorial. Family and friends came and gathered around the tree and wrote their tree-grams. It was a typical early summer dayimage in Puyallup with sun, clouds, rain and repeat. A memorable but sad day.

We also dedicated the first set of turtle steppingstones imageand encouraged the children who were busy in other parts of the playground to come over and play on them. They were a success. I hope they will be a fitting memorial for my beloved Becky.

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May I Talk About Trees?

It’s May. Not when I look out the window. But it’s time to tell the world about some great tree plantings last spring.

How often do you know someone who turns 100? I thought my friend’s mother certainly deserved a tree. Betty and I went to the park to see the tree right after it was planted and hoped to bring her mother there to dedicate it. Sadly she died before we could make that happen and now it will be a memorial tree for her family.image

There was another memorial tree in May. The tree was won at the Library Foundation auction by a friend. He wanted to honor one of his friends who was a birder so he decided on a crabapple to be planted among many crabapple trees in the arboretum. The birds will love it.image

How does one tree grow into a grove? The winner of the 2013 Cliff/Cannon Neighborhood Tree of the year chose to put the Susie Forest tree she won on her own parkway. She had so much room on her corner lot that the arborist found more trees to plant and voila! – a grove. Years from now that will be a beautiful shady street. image

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An April Surprise

Something else happened in April that wasn’t a tree planting. I received a phone call asking me to attend a ceremony at City Hall on April 25th to witness the naming of
Spokane as a Tree City USA. “Of course, I’ll be there.” A few days later am email gave me the agenda for the ceremony and there was my name. The mayor would be presenting me with one of the 250 special coins minted as thank you’s for good service to Spokane.
In his presentation he quoted from the blog that I wrote on March 21 talking about that bittersweet tree planting.image
I feel very honored that the city government is paying attention to the growing
Susie Forest. Susie would be so proud. I hope that the installation of Becky’s Turtles will also be noticed in the years to come.
I love living in this city.
These pictures make the coin look like a plate but it’s really just a bit bigger than the old silver dollar. I keep it on the sideboard with Susie’s Cooper Jones Award. imageimage

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April in the Susie Forest

Here comes another blog about 2014. I wrote about the tree planting on March 21st, the anniversary of Susie’s death, but there were lots more plantings throughout the year. I’m going to write a little about the plantings in each month. I want the world to know about the wonderful events and the wonderful people I met.

Usually the next tree is for Susie’s birthday, but this year the Woman’s Club planted a yellowwood the week before. It was a street tree and it was fun to watch as the cars came down busy Walnut Street and glanced at us hanging the tree-grams.image

Susie’s birthday tree, a Japanese Pagoda, was just me and the Urban Forestry crew. They’ve always been there for me.image

There I was with the planting team again at the Arboretum on Arbor Day planting a Korean Mountain Ash. The offer of tree Kibbles brought some Girl Scouts away from the other activities. imageThen I went with them along the stream and got my hands dirty helping them plant a small grove. imageNow I count groups of trees as groves when the individual trees don’t have a person or event connected with them.

And there was a grove of trees planted in a bare traffic island by the Emerson/Garfield neighborhood. image

So in April 2014 Spokane tree #256 and Spokane grove #5 were planted.

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A New and Better Year

It’s New Year’s Day and I’ve made some resolutions. One is that I will write a blog today. And over the next few days I will write about many of the great experiences that I meant to write about last year. 2014 was very hard and there were many things that I wasn’t able to do. Writing was one of them. But I can’t honor Susie and Becky if I become paralyzed. I started many blogs when wonderful things happened but I was unable to finish them. There was a wall or a fence that I couldn’t get over. imageNow, I promise myself, I can do this. This will not be 2014; I WILL get my ducks – er – turtles in a row imageand make 2015 a great year, filled with trees and turtles and wonderful days.

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March 21st

imageToday is a bittersweet day. It is bitter because it is the anniversary of Susie’s death and I feel so empty without her. This year is even harder because her sister Becky died after a very short illness just three weeks ago.

The only thing that fills that emptiness today is the first tree planting of the year. That is the sweetness because it means the beginning of this very meaningful part of my life. This the part that has saved me since Susie’s death. Now I will find something that will bring me comfort from Becky’s death.

Today’s tree is a Pinnacle Oak – a lovely little tree. Two friends from my library days came and shared the experience – and the cookies. We don’t have a chance to get together very often and it was wonderful to be with them. I loved seeing the Urban Forestry crew and knowing I’ll be seeing a lot of them this spring.image

There will be a bigger dedication tomorrow morning. I chose the location of this tree because I wanted a Susie tree near my young friend Holly’s house. She planned and made the heart-shaped planting happen last fall. Those trees are a long way from her house and I wanted her and her family to have a Susie three where they could watch it grow. Tomorrow will be a more festive day.

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New Decor

I have a wonderful new picture hanging in my apartment. I love it! The Van Voorhis family showed up at a tree meeting and presented me with a collage of photos taken at the heart-shape tree planting. I was surprised and excited. When I got home I moved two favorite pictures to make room for it. Now when I walk into the den I see it and remember that great day when we dedicated Holly’s trees.image
Like all the plantings there is a story and wonderful people connected with it. And with this one there is a special way to remember it.

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Let’s Go!

It’s time to come out of the cocoon I’ve wrapped myself in since tree planting season ended. Last month was Tu’B Shevat, the birthday of trees. I also feel that it’s the start of a new year for the Susie Forest.image

I went back and looked at the resolutions I made last year and actually worked on on one of them. I swallowed my fears, picked up the pen and wrote on the wonderful tree quilt that a friend gave me. I’ve decided to record the trees that are planted just for Susie and so the Japanese Maple in Spokane’s Japanese Garden is the first entry. I didn’t smudge the ink or misspell anything – go for number 2, Nancy!

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The French Tree Planted

Now I know what the Susie Forest tree at the French chateau looks like in the ground. Two fellow travelers (boy, that doesn’t sound good but it was), Valerie and Sandy, went to see the little cherry tree before they left for Paris. It was planted after I left for the Brussels airport in the dark early that morning. The tree-grams were written the night before and thank you to those who went out to hang them. image

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A Tree House Blog

It’s time to write a blog. And here I sit in the perfect place to write it. I’m in a tree house!image

It’s mother-daughter weekend for Becky and me and we came here to Treehouse Point for a fun night in a teeny-tiny tree house.image I come over to Seattle to the Bicycle Alliance auction on a Saturday night in November and then we play on Sunday and Monday. One year we went to Victoria to visit a Susie tree and another we explored Bellingham.

After enjoying Treehouse Masters on TV, I looked up their website and found they had a bed-and-breakfast. I quick called Becky, “We’re forgetting our other plans and going to stay in a tree house!” So here we are about to have some hot chocolate before bed.

Of course I came with an agenda. I’d hoped to meet a family member and present my idea, but they were off filming a show. So I talked to a staff member and hope he will pass on my tree enthusiasm. I suggested that at every tree house completion their company plant a future tree house tree somewhere in the vicinity. Naturally I would count them as Susie Forest trees.

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