We were talking conservation easement
restrictions, all the rules for a cash
injection to hold the ranch together

into the future, terms and acronyms
for multisyllabic concepts applied
to ground grazed for a century

and a half, nice young girl and I,
when the deal broke over cordwood,
dead-standing Blue Oaks for our woodstove—

peckerwood in perpetuity. My good
intentions shot full of holes,
I am relieved with each one I see.


6 responses to “CACHE TREE

  1. Peter Notehelfer

    I’ve stood many hours behind a tractor and a buzz saw cutting cordwood out of dead blue oaks, cords for me and for the rancher on whose Southern Oregon sheep ranch on which we cut. Can still remember the smell of that wood burning in our old Ben Franklin stove . . . Memories . . . You bring them back for me! Thanks . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • The hands on warmth of satisfaction.


    • I remember that sheep rancher. He had a sense of place much like John. He knew the birds, the flowers, every creek, gully and knob. The natural history, the oral history… Thanks for the memory Peter.
      Peter, you may remember the roll top desk beside the wood box and trash burner stove in Mom’s kitchen. When I last moved it, the back came apart and as I blew the dust out of the back of that desk the smells of that little ranch house came wafting out.

      Sheep Ranch Smells
      Wood smoke and lamb roast
      Mingle in a rolltop desk
      With fresh baked wheat bread

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The syllables.sounding a bit ominous.


    • All history, Richard, over a decade old. Utilizing the dead oaks to heat the house is still part of our culture, too important to give up for an easement in perpetuity, including the past four years of drought with more than enough dead oaks for a helluva lot of fires, and for the woodpeckers too. At the time, ‘cache tree’ was new term for me, now pleasantly symbolic.


  3. “conservation easement restrictions” made me wonder.
    I remember the first time I saw a ‘cache tree’. Had me in total wonderment how they got in there so tight that I couldn’t get one out.


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