Reinhardt Family History

Memories of Eggs and Chickens

Stories from Neil Reinhardt

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of Eggs & Chickens


"Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree."

These words by Joyce Kilmer bring to mind many trees I have known personally. The first was one of the large maple trees on the lawn of our farm on the Martin Road where I grew up. There was a rope swing hanging from the branches where I and my brothers and sisters spent many hours playing. One time when my sister was swinging with my brother on her lap, he slipped and fell off and received a broken nose, which is evident today after 65 years, but was not noticed at the time. There was always an oriole nest hanging high on the end of a branch like a basket. The many maple trees on the lawn made shade for everyone to rest after dinner or after making hay on a hot day.

There is one hickory tree I will never forget. In order to have more land to raise crops, some trees had to be cut down. I was about 15 years old at the time. We dug around the trees, put a cable on them and pulled them over with the tractor. This particular tree was very large. My dad had me dig around it one Saturday when there was no school. I had worked hard most of the morning digging and cutting roots. I went to the field after dinner with the tractor and cable and climbed to the top of the tree to attach the cable. While I was up there dad came to help. He asked me what I had been doing all morning. He picked up the axe, made one swing and cut a root. Just then a little breeze came up and the tree started over. When the breeze let up the tree straightened back up and I thought I could make it down. I got to the next lower branch when the wind started to blow harder. The tree went over with me in the top. A roller coaster or any other ride does not compare to being in the top of a tree as it falls to the ground. It starts very slowly and the nearer it gets to the ground the faster it goes. All I could do was hang on. When it hit the ground I went flying through the branches. I was lucky. All I had was a lot of bruises and lost some skin. I think dad got a few more grey hairs as he watched me and the tree come down together.

Another hickory tree I remember always had a good crop of nuts. There is nothing better than a hickory nut cake or candy. The tree was way back in the field and is still standing today, though a storm has broken off one side of it. Since moving to the city I have often gone back to gather nuts, until I could no longer walk the distance from the road.

In the woods on our farm on Reinhardt Road there is a large hollow basswood tree. It wasn't the tree I remember so well, but that I'd noticed a swarm of honey bees had made their home in the hollow. In the winter I had someone helping me cut some trees for firewood. We decided to cut that tree and get the honey, as it was a cold day and the bees would be unable to fly. After cutting it down and splitting the trunk open to get at the honey, I felt something crawling up my legs. The bees couldn't fly but they sure could crawl, so on that bitter cold day I had to strip off my clothes to get rid of the bees. We did get a large breadpan full of honey for our trouble.

A favorite tree on the farm where I was raised was a big burr oak which stood by the lane. We would have to pass it going and coming from the fields. After 80 years that I have known it, I wonder what it would have to tell of history while it was there.

There are 2 honey-locust trees on the terrace where I now live in the city. They are the only trees I can say that I do not like, but that is only for a few weeks in the fall when the leaves come down and must be raked. It they were not there, where would the dogs stop when they came by, or where would the robins build their nests?

A tree that I and the birds enjoyed, a beautiful blue spruce, someone had planted in the back yard when the house was built, and was protection for the birds in the winter and a nesting place for the robins, morning doves and grackles in the summer. We could sit in the window and watch the birds come to the feeder nearby. It was a beautiful sight when the snow made everything white and the bright red cardinals came out of the spruce to fly to the feeder. When it was planted it was an 18 inch seedling and the man that owned the house did not realize how big it would become. The utility wires from the transformer on our back lot line ran through the upper branches of the spruce now, and became a potential hazard. I had to keep trimming the one side as it would be touching the neighbors garage. We mulled it over for a long time and finally had it cut down. I have planted another slow-growing spruce so the birds will have another tree to live in. It is away from the lot line and utility lines, and if it lives to be a hundred years old, it will not cause problems.