How it all began…
Originally we intended to plant a tree for each member of our immediate family, as a gesture to the environmental benefits and to return a bit of cleared land to tree growth.
The location for this planting was chosen by a friend of Brenda’s, Mr. Jack Raymond of Ontario, who spent a large part of his life working with trees, and we had him plant the first tree.
We planted for the close family in the fall of 2002 and after considering we decided, rather foolishly perhaps, to plant a tree for each family member from our grandparents forward. We used the “Cook Book” for that side, it had been done for the Cook reunion of 2000, and the Hancock-MacDonald sides were done by ourselves.
We view these trees as a little gift to the environment made on behalf of each one of our relatives. There may well be errors or omissions but if anyone lets us know we will try to correct them. We have not extended planting beyond the year 2002 except for the immediate family known to us.
The large sandstone which marks the northwest corner of the lot has a special significance to us so we include its history as told by the Hon. J. Stewart Ross of Flat River. When he was still in his teenage years, and working with a fisherman, the east side of the breakwater at Belle River was extended some 160 feet or more with wooden pilings and timbers. This stone and many others were removed from the high bank east side of the wharf by hand boats, rafted to the site and placed inside the wharf as ballast. These stones were removed when that section of the wharf was torn out around 2000. Estimating from the weight on the machine, this stone weighs approximately 3000 pounds—another good example of doing much with little equipment but great ingenuity!
The trees are presently a wide variance of size, because of different planting sessions, and the need for some replacements each year. Although the trees are now, for the most part, established and doing reasonably well. Of course there may be some mortality and replacements required on an on-going basis. We want to always plant trees that are native to PEI.
Thank you for reading this far and for your interest in our forest which is and is to be,
Howard & Fran
The trees are doing well, a few have had to be replaced which accounts for the differing sizes. We will be posting an overall photo of the lot every few years to follow the growth of the trees. In 2010, the whole field in the surrounding area was planted with spruce seedlings which are barely visible through the grass cover, but some are starting to appear. Visitors are, of course, more than welcome, we just ask that you stay on the road or mowed area at both ends of the family trees. This year we placed small name markers for generations 1, 2 and 3 by their respective trees. If anyone in generation 4 or 5 wishes to have a name marker placed by their tree, they are available at Rijo Signs in Montague and they will make it the same as the ones that are already there. Also, a few people have expressed an interest in having their cremated remains either buried or scattered by their tree, which is fine.
Thanks for your interest in this project.
The hiking trail through the wooded section at the North end of the blueberry fields was added in the summer of 2014 and marked by ribbons. This trail has been left in its natural state and a walk guided by Mark Arsenault, who pointed out points of interest, took place in August 2014. We hope to make it an annual event but visitors are welcome at any time. Following the ribbons will lead you back out to the starting point. Everyone is welcome to hike this trail for some interaction with nature.
About the trees… In 2012, with the cooperation of the Nature Conservancy and the Forestry Department, approximately 13,000 trees were planted in the cleared areas. Of the trees planted 1,000 were hardwood with the rest being a combination of Spruce and Fir. Now, two years on, we are happy to report that those seedlings are doing fine and coming along nicely!
The woods also include various species of native trees including; Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, White Birch, Beech, White Pine, Eastern Hemlock and Red Spruce. Many of these native trees are more than a century old and exceed 18 metres in height! The ‘pit and mound’ topography of the forest floor supports a diverse understory of plants such as; Lady Slipper, Asters, Daisies, Indian Paint Brush, Trillium (Dogwood), and many others. Drop by and see how many you can identify! Resident wildlife includes; Songbirds, Bald Eagles, Red-Tailed Hawks, Squirrels, Chipmunks, Racoons, Red Foxes and Coyote. Truly something for everyone!
Howard & Fran
Update 2015 (March)
An Island Nature Trust representative will do a guided walk on the hiking trail that passes through the wooded section of the property on Douses Road. This natural, mature wooded area is home to many species of trees and plants. The tour will take place on June 28, 2015 at 1:00 PM. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera!
Howard & Fran
Update 2015 (October)
Howard passed away quietly October 10th, 2015 surrounded by family. At his request, a portion of Howard’s ashes have been buried next to his tree (J3). The Tree Lot will continue to be maintained and added as the family continues to grow! Visitors are always welcome to drop by and encouraged to enjoy the wildlife and nature trails. Thank you.
The Hancock Family
Some angels’ hands are lily white
And some a halo wear
A shining crown, a joyful sight
A beauty wondrous rare.
Some angels’ hands are calloused
From the toil of many years
Demanding nothing giving all
And hiding many tears.
A family reared a lifetime passed
With selfless service to the last
It’s certain only God and you
Can see the ledger – balance due.
But Still it’s not for mortal men
To question all the things that’s been
Or to demand until we’re dust
Unfailing justice for the just.
And yet it’s sure as heaven’s there
The Halo waits the crown so fair
And wear it well, it’s fairly won
These calloused hands deserve, “well done”.
in room 628 at QEH
“Trees” By Joyce Kilmer 1913
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.