Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The cherry has finally choked

We have a gorgeous chokecherry tree growing in our backyard. Every spring, it's covered in pale pink blossoms, which fall snow-like to the ground as the leaves come in. By mid-July, the berries are fully ripe and we play host to an entire convention of birds: robins, starlings, jays, crows, chipping sparrows and cedar waxwings. The squirrels jump in from time to time as well. It's a free buffet for the local wildlife, and I never get enough of it.

This year, after a few heavy storms, we noticed one of the branches had started to lean quite low to the ground. I'd also spotted a large, gaping hole in the trunk. I called the condo corp for their input, concerned that the branch may fall at any given moment (and hoping that none of us would be under it at the time). I so wasn't ready for the response.

Apparently, our beloved chokecherry has "tree canker" and needs to be completely cut down. I'll admit, I was close to tears at the thought of the barren space and ugly stump that would be left behind. I'm tempted to cut off as many as the berries as I can for the flocks this winter, or maybe find someone who can make some chokecherry wine (one of Poppa's fine backyard vintages). Maybe even try to root a sapling.

What I'm really dreading is breaking the news to the Doodle, who is so enthralled with the berries and all the birds who come to eat. "Oooo, look at all the berries, Mummy! They're so beee-oooo-tiful!" She cries when I make the mistake of switching the dining room chairs around; she'll be devastated to come home and find her tree gone. (Mind you, the Mama Bear in me is kinduv glad it's going, given that every part of it - except for the flesh of the berry itself - is extremely poisonous to humans. That kind of worry, I don't need.)

Sigh. On behalf of our resident birds, critters and one heartbroken toddler: we'll miss you, tree.

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