Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Note from 1-14-2017  Oh my goodness, the innocence of the voice here I just found  in this post that never made the transition to newer iterations of the blog. As it turns out, we have loved and still love these wonderful woods, but there is not a single grandchild whose imagination has been captured by them. This isn’t a criticism of them, just a fact. They will be happier by far if we “monetize” the land and bequeath it to them that way. 

~a contribution to Ecotone’s wiki on Protection of Place~

Buck and I own roughly one hundred acres of pine woods in Florida’s panhandle. It’s primarily an old growth longleaf pine forest with some scrub oak, yaupon, wild blueberry and a series of springs that make up into a meandering stream.

The unusual aspect of this place is how close we are to the City of Pensacola. Our land is prime development acreage. Realtors call. We don’t call back. Instead, we call Meeks Farms and order more longleaf pine to plant. About 13,000 went in the ground last spring; another 7,000 will be planted in 2004.

Simply put, we made a decision: keep the land intact. Forego the monetary enticements which might allow us  to do what? Buy condos in Santa Fe, Reno and Hilton Head? Nope. We are planting slow growing, commercially non-viable longleaf pine trees and other native plants, nurturing the pitcher plant prairie, and digging out a fish pond.

We have grandchildren whose idea of wilderness is a mall without a floor plan guide. Who throw up their hands in frustration with visions of terminal boredom when the batteries quit on their game boys.

Grandchildren who take a walk on our soft dirt roads tentatively, the great outdoors being a little too open to be comfortable in their experience and say to one another, “Look! A pine ocne, in nature.”

When we die, this and will go into a family trust, protected for generations. During the rest of our lives, our plan is to enhance it with plantings of more native plants and to work with the grand-kids so at least one among them develops a fire in the belly for this unique and beautiful place in the world and seeks to preserve when one of their cousins becomes a sharp lawyer and tried to bust the trust.

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