Our family loves wildlife.  We love watching turkeys and sand cranes cross into the corn field.  We have LOTS of birdfeeders and popular topics at the dinner table include, "I saw bluebirds today!"  Granted, the teenagers are a little less enthusiastic about it than Jim and me, but we're hoping our excitement will rub off.  

We have this area, about 6 acres that used to be a corn field. It's not surrounded by a fence, but there's nothing but field there and really nothing to attract deer and other critters for us to watch.  Our solution?  Buy 5,000 trees from the DNR and make our very own critter area.  Our hope is that in a few years we will have a hay ride through the area and show everyone our beautiful, planned woods.  Since I'm a city girl, I had no idea how the process to plant trees worked.  I thought we'd use a post hole digger, or a shovel.  My husband assured me that we would rent a tree planter, but since I didn't know what a tree planter was, I was still skeptical.  So, here's my post about how we did it.  If you're interested in planting DNR trees too, and want to see the finished product in person, give me a call! 

#1 - Make the Plan.  See our logo in the middle?  Jim designed it - he's so clever!  Red-leafed crabapples make up the apples, pine trees for the leaves, Aspen for the trunk and branches, and Birch for the diamond.  We flagged and painted the whole plan in the field.

#2 - Order the trees and pick them (and the planter) up from the DNR.  By the way, the DNR people were super helpful!

#3 - Pick the variety of tree you want to plant (they are really just sticks with roots) and hop into the planter.  Here are some pics of the planter, and my view from inside.

#4 - Jim put ribbons on a pipe and laid the pipe on the tractor fork so that he could use them to judge the different row spacings for different trees.  You can't see it, but we also color-marked the planter tire (that I could see from inside the planter) so that I could adjust the spacing between the trees.  We had a lot of 5 foot spacings and I was hearing "white, red, yellow, orange," in my head for days!

#5 - Back and forth, row after row... for 3 days...

#6 - All done!  Now we watch them grow!  We've already seen evidence of deer!