Shortly after we moved into our new home in 1968, I planted a Catalpa tree. This was a tree that was originally indigenous to the Smokey Mountains and somehow found its way to New England. My dad had four at one time on his property. The tree is more commonly known as an Indian Cigar tree. This is a fast growing tree with a large heart shaped leaf. Most people do not like them because they are considered a dirty tree. They are a marvelous shade tree. In the late spring after the leaves have developed they bloom with pretty white flowers. As a young boy, we would pluck the flowers and pull out the little insides and suck them. They had a very pleasant honey taste. When the flowers drop the whole area becomes snow white for a very short time. Then they shrivel and turn a ugly yellow - orange. The fruit (if you will) of these flowers are long green thin cigar shaped things. The insides are a stringy kind of soft fiber. When I was nine, I got good and sick trying to smoke one. In the fall the leaves turn black and drop. You can't rake them because they crumple. If they land on a roof they will stain the roof black. Then the cigars die and turn a deep brown and split in two. They do not drop. The winter wind will carry them off the tree. So far in preparation of my grand children's Easter Egg Hunt, I have filled 10 large trash barrels with these cigars. I bet my three closest neighbors have another 2 or 3 barrels worth in their yards. I finished the raking today. Even on a hot summer day I can sit under my tree and be cool. It's worth it to me.
I have two bird feeders that provide great enjoyment to my ailing wife. I have probably used over 200 pounds of seed this winter. Today I used my wet / dry vac to vacuum under the feeders to suck up the shells. I filled a 10 gallon vac, emptied it and it is probably half full again. I finally quit when the wind chill started to bite through my jacket.
Now, all I have left to do is distribute the eggs around the yard and hope the few cigars still clinging to the tree either stay there or land next door. Also, I told Marie the birds are on their own until Monday, then I will fill the feeders.